Release Date: Feb. 12
Director: Chris Columbus
Writers: Craig Titley (Screenplay), Rick Riordan (Novel)
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexanda Daddario, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan
Cinematographer: Stephen Goldblatt
Studio/Run Time: Fox 2000 Pictures, 110 mins.
Greeked-out adaptation is fun, if flawed, ride.
Say you found out your best friend is actually a half-man-half-goat; a satyr. The teacher you suspect has it out for you actually does (really, swooping down on you in full force with claws and pointy teeth). Another teacher, once confined to a wheelchair, is now prancing around on centaur legs. And oh, your dad is Poseidon — you might faint or scream or cry, right? It’s reasonable to think that such life-shattering realizations would throw a teenaged boy into a fit of psychosis. But Logan Lerman, who plays the titular character in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, conveys about as much emotional trauma as someone who has just lost their favorite pair of gym socks
The film follows Percy and his friends Grover (Brandon T. Jackson as the satyr) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario as another demi-god kid) as they race against the clock to save Percy’s mom from Hades, and stop the impending wrath-of-the-gods war that looms after Zeus (Sean Bean) accuses Percy of stealing his lightning from the sky. They go from New Jersey to Nashville to Las Vegas in search of three enchanted pearls that will allow them to leave the underworld once they’ve retrieved Percy’s mom.
The film would be lost in Daedalus’ labyrinth without the supporting cast of characters they encounter on their quest. Snake-headed spinster Medusa (Uma Therman) makes your skin crawl, and Persephone’s (Rosario Dawson) overt sexuality threatens to push the film over its PG rating. Chiron (Pierce Brosnan), the wise centaur and mentor to the young demi-gods offers comic relief (albeit unintentionally).
But The Lightning Thief’s virtues outweigh those flat performances. It’s a great mini-refresher on Greek mythology for those who’ve forgotten the deities’ family tree. Kids (and Harry Potter fans) will relate to the normal-guy-turned-mythical-badass. And there’s enough over-their-heads material to keep parents (and other non-Potter fans) interested and laughing throughout.