Youths tend to be adventurous and more often than not in their teenage years opposed to any direction or rules. Now, we all go though our maturing periods, learning from our disobedient decisions and reasons for desiring freedom, yet none of us had to deal with new, unexplained mystical powers. There may have been many times we wished we did have supernatural abilities to assist in challenging situations, probably still to this day, but we should have realized we weren’t demigods. You know, half-human, half-god. Don’t remember? You’re in store; Chris Columbus’ adaptation of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief should get you reacquainted with the Greek mythology in an action-packed way.
Percy Jackson is a normal teenager dealing with his drunken stepdad and classroom routine, only finding refuge at the bottom of his high school swimming pool, until a field trip to the local museum changes his entire life. Thankfully there is some back-story covered before we meet up with our hero and begin on his adventure. We realize that Zeus, the god of gods, has had his lightning bolt stolen and he believes that Poseidon’s demigod son, Percy, is the culprit behind the missing power. Zeus in turn sets an ultimatum for the return of his lightning and releasing a warrant for the capture of Percy Jackson.
After a few strange and close encounters with Zeus’ bounty hunters, Percy slowly realizes his fate as he his rushed to safety by his worldly protectors. His best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) turns out to be a satyr as well as demigod bodyguard and his instructor Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) is actually a centaur with a camp for training Greek-like warriors. The camp is a school for the godly gifted and Percy soon befriends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) a demigod of Athena that helps train the son of Poseidon.
Eventually Percy, Grover and Annabeth must traverse the underworld to rescue Percy’s mother and then attempt to prove his innocence upon Mount Olympia. Along the way they battle the Minotaur, a Hydra and Medusa herself played fantastically by Uma Thurman. The young demigods learn to harness their powers and just in time as they face their biggest adversaries in Zeus and the real lightning thief.
The plot is nothing new or think-tank at all. It plays out like a Greek mythology introduction for beginners, but not going to heavy on the names and instead relying on the supernatural action. Special effect scenes are abound and for the most part keep the film tied together in a reasonable structure. But it seems there are many changes from Rick Riordan’s original children series’ first installment, losing some of the developed characters. In more ways than not, it plays out like the poor man’s Harry Potter.
It’s not a horrible film and it really could provide a great family viewing. If anything it could get kids interested in Greek mythology and maybe even classic literature. I don’t think that’s what the filmmakers had in mind, but the youth really knows how to do the opposite of what you think.
Mirror Film Criticmark@smmirror.com