Saturday, February 13, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - Mini-Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was a highly anticipated movie in our household. Two of my sons have read the entire five book series, and my youngest (9) has been reading the first. I've read The Lightning Thief myself, and I was so excited that it was being made into a movie. So, did it live up to all our expectations? It was a good movie, but it wasn't great.

My sons may have been like other fans of the book, some of the movie's harshest critics. They were like Potter fanatics, who griped about every change to the movie script that varied from the book. My memory of the book was fuzzier, and I give adaptations a little more leeway. You just can't have everything from a book in the movie. You just can't. Some things that work well in a book, do not translate as well to the screen.

One of the biggest changes is that in the book, Percy is only 12, and they've aged Percy to high school age, possibly 17. As my 17 year old griped, "A twelve-year-old can not drive a car!" I didn't mind the eye candy, and I can understand that they are trying to appeal to a wider audience, and not be placed in the family film ghetto.

I enjoyed the stars they found to play the Greek gods. Sean Bean from the Lord of the Rings films plays Zeus, and his brother Posiedon (and Percy's father) is Kevin McKidd (Rome, Grey's Anatomy). I thought McKidd was great. Steve Coogan (the English director in Tropic Thunder) was a funny Hades costumed as one character notes as a sort of Mick Jagger rocker God of the Underworld. Uma Thurman looked like she had a blast camping it up as Medusa, too. I got a kick out of Joey "Pants" Pantoliano from the Sopranos playing Percy's horrible step-father, but that great casting went over my kids' heads.

We all enjoyed the film, and if it does well at the box office, this is likely to become a franchise. There are five books written already, after all. Maybe like the Harry Potter film, the sequels will get better scripts and a more interesting director.

Logan Lerman, last seen in Gamer, plays Percy, and he did a very nice job. There are rumors that he may be the next Peter Parker in the Spiderman reboot.

Three stars and a good film for the whole family.

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