Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Director Chris Columbus brings his expertise to the table as he tries to create another Young Adult franchise.

Released by 20th Century Fox

Release Date: February 12th, 2010

Starring: Logan Lerman, Kevin McKidd, Steve Coogan, and Rosario Dawson

Written by Craig Titley

Directed by Chris Columbus

Rated PG (action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language)

Chiron: Percy, take this to defend yourself. It's a powerful weapon. Guard it well. Only use it in times of severe distress.
Percy Jackson: This is a pen. This is a *pen.*

I was not looking forward to viewing Percy Jackson. The trailers made the movie seem like it was a Harry Potter rip-off and in some ways I guess it could be viewed that way. But what I saw in the movie was a grand adventure and a nice spin on Greek mythology.

Percy Jackson is just your ordinary teenage who finds out that he is the son of Poseidon. He doesn't really find this too weird because he can hold his breath underwater for an absurd amount of time. He discovers his heritage when he is at a museum and is attacked by his substitute teacher. Right off the bat we know that this is not going to be a "kiddie" movie. I mean, this movie is more for older teenagers and adults.

Anyway, Zeus wants to start a war of the gods because he believes that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt. After being attacked by his teacher he is taken to a camp where other demigods live. It turns out that almost everyone in his life are not who they appear to be. His mother, played by Catherine Keener, is who she says she is, but his best friend, played by the guy who played Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder, is really his protector and his half goat half man. The guide at the museum, played by Pierce Brosnan, is not really wheelchair bound but the trainer of the demigods and is half horse. (This I really didn't get. How was he able to hide his giant horse half in the small wheelchair?)

As you can tell there is a lot going on in this movie and it would take me a lot longer to spell everything out, so I will give you the abridged version. Everyone thinks that Percy is the lightning thief, even Hades, who has kidnapped Percy's mom in order to get the lightning bolt so he can finally rule Olympus. Percy has to save his mother and prevent the war by returning the bolt to Zeus. He needs to get into Hades and finds that the only way to do so is to pay the ferryman a bunch of gold and then get these pearls that are scattered throughout the country in order to get his mom out of hell.

This begins a long road trip which Percy and his protector, along with the daughter of Athena must go on. Along the way they must face off with Medusa (Uma Thurman), face a hyrda, and go to Vegas. You know that this is a more mature movie when the kids are going to Vegas. There they ingest these wacky flowers and trip for five days. You really don't see this happen much in a kids movie.

If you haven't figured it out by now this movie has a lot of similarities with Clash of the Titans. Both movies feature demigods being sent on a quest. They are both given otherworldly weapons. (In the case of this movie, Percy is given a pen that turns into a sword and a retractable shield). Also, they face many of the same enemies. I love the original Clash of the Titans. I think that the movie is one of the greatest fantasy movies out there. I hated the remake. I thought it took everything that was good about the original and turned it into a big pile of shit. That being said, I don't find it coincidental that this movie was released two months before the remake of Clash. This movie is far superior to that movie.

The movie was directed by Chris Columbus, who has brought us the first two Home Alone movies and the first two Harry Potter films. His previous movie, I Love You Beth Cooper, was a miserable failure, void of anything that could be considered entertainment. With this movie he makes up for his previous movie by giving us a movie that is full of life and spectacle. This is a truly entertaining movie.

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