Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
At the top of the Empire State Building, Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) meets with Zeus (Sean Bean), who comments that the storm clouds have no lightning and that his master bolt has been stolen. He blames Poseidon’s son for the theft. Despite Poseidon’s claims of his son’s innocence, Zeus gives Poseidon 14 days to return it, lest war break out.
During a field trip to an exhibition of Greek and Roman art, teenager Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), is lured away from the crowd by a Fury disguised as his substitute English teacher, who then attacks him, questioning him about the lightning bolt. The incredulous Percy, who has no knowledge of this, is rescued by his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan). After dispatching the Fury, Brunner gives Percy a magical pen. On Brunner’s instruction, Percy’s best friend, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), takes Percy to a training camp for demigods, Camp Half-Blood, along with Percy’s mother, Sally Jackson (Catherine Keener). During their trip to the camp, Percy attempts to learn about his biological father from Sally, but they are attacked by a Minotaur. Although Percy and Grover, who is revealed to be a satyr, make it to the camp, its defenses prohibit entrance to Sally, who is captured by the Minotaur, and disappears before Percy. Percy engages the Minotaur with the magical pen, which turns into a sword named Riptide, eventually killing the creature with one of its horns.
In touring Camp Half-Blood, Percy learns that Brunner is the mythological centaur Chiron, and the camp’s trainer, and that his father is the god Poseidon. He also meets Luke Castellan (Jake Abel), the son of Hermes, and Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario), the demigod daughter of Athena. While at the camp, Percy learns that water has the power to heal his injuries, and allows him to manifest his magical abilities.
Hades later appears and reveals that Sally Jackson is his prisoner, and proposes she be traded for the master bolt. Chiron instructs Percy not to bargain with the demon, but to go to Olympus to convince Zeus of his innocence. Percy sneaks away from the camp to travel to the Underworld, along with Grover and Annabeth, who secure for him from Luke a portable shield, flying shoes and a map to Persephone’s (Rosario Dawson) pearls, one of which will reveal the exit from the Underworld when retrieved.
At Aunty Em’s Garden Emporium, the trio are attacked by Medusa (Uma Thurman), but manage to decapitate her, and take the pearl from her bracelet. They also take her head, which they later successfully use against a hydra that attacks them during their acquisition of another pearl from the crown of a giant statue of Athena at the Parthenon replica in Nashville, Tennessee. They acquire the third and final pearl from a roulette wheel at a hotel casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in part with help from Poseidon, who aids them against Lotus Eaters. The map reveals an entrance to the Underworld in Hollywood, California, beneath the Hollywood Sign.
The trio enter the Underworld, where, after traveling across the River Styx, they encounter Persephone, who takes them to Hades. Percy attempts to explain to Hades that he is not the lightning thief. During an ensuing melee, Percy drops his shield, whose handle conceals the missing master bolt, which Hades takes. However, the trio manage to reacquire it before escaping the Underworld with the rescued Sally. They are transported to the top of the Empire State Building, which they learn is the location to the entrance to Olympus. They are confronted by Luke, who reveals himself to have been the real lightning thief. Expressing his desire for a new generation of rulers to take over Olympus, he explains that he had hoped that the trio would not have escaped the Underworld alive, and after stealing the bolt from Percy, the two engage in battle. After using his water powers to dispatch Luke, Percy arrives in Olympus, where he presents the retrieved bolt, and reveals the truth about Luke. Poseidon explains to Percy the reason why they could not know each other during Percy’s childhood, but expresses his love for his son. Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood, where he resumes his training. After the end credits, a scene shows Sally forcing Gabe out of their apartment, and as he goes to get a beer from the fridge, opens it only to be turned to stone because Medusa’s unprotected eyes are staring right back at him.
I’ve always been fascinated with mythology, but with the release of this and the upcoming (unnecessary) remake of Clash of the Titans, as well as my recent addiction to the God of War games ($10 for both at Gamestop…what a steal…until I found out they can be bought together…lol), it has been ratcheted up.
In a manner similar to Harry Potter, I have yet to read these books, but I will be changing that before the next film is released.
When I saw the initial trailer for this film this summer, I didn’t know what to think or make of it, but when a more detailed one came out this fall, it made more sense and piqued my interest. After watching this afternoon, I must say it wasn’t too shabby, but not without its faults.
First of all, the story is pretty cool. Think about it, almighty Zeus has his lightning bolt stolen and automatically accuses Poseidon. Not quite sure why. Seems to me, the #1 culprit would be Hades, but maybe that would make too much sense. Sean Bean doesn’t scream Zeus to me. Sure, he has that medieval look about him and all, but not Zeus. He could have pulled of Poseidon or one of the other gods, but for Zeus, I envision an old guy with a booming voice and all that jazz.Of course, he could be described a different way in the books, so I’ll leave that alone.
Percy seems to be your typical teenager, for the most part. Angst ridden and all. I really wish Hollywood would stop with these Zac Efron look-alikes, though. They’re almost as bad as every actress in Hollywood that thinks they have to be super skinny and blonde . The character of Percy as the picture goes on, though, goes up and down. At one point he is confused, the next he’s cocky, the nest he feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. All this is well and good, except that I didn’t get these emotions from this kid.
The actress that plays Annabeth is quite beautiful. Megan Fox better look out, she has some competition. Seriously, as far as actual acting goes, she doesn’t have much to work with here, but she is a presence that is much needed and welcome, and you just know that somewhere down the line she and Percy are going to hook up. The tension is there and the foundation was laid in that final scene.
Steve Coogan as Hades…what can I say, but no. Um, this guy is a comedic actor. He seems like he was trying to channel a bit of James Woods’ Hades as well as sprinkle a bit of hisself in there. That wasn’t the problem for me, but rather, the goatee. Yes, the goatee was my biggest problem with him. I don’t know, some men just shouldn’t wear facial hair and Coogan is one of them. Yeah, that’s a little thing, but it really took away from his performance for me.
There are many who say Uma Thurman is one of the most beautiful women in the world. I’m not one of them, but I do get the irony in having such a beautiful woman play Medusa. As am atter of fact, if I’m not mistaken, Medusa is a beautiful woman before Athena puts the curse on her, so it makes sense, if I have my mythology right. All that aside, Medusa in every film is never on-screen that long. This is no exception, she ends up getting her head chopped off maybe 5 minutes after we first see her, but her head is seen throughout the film.
Rosario Dawson and Brandon T. Jackson…look, I’m not going ot beat around the bush. Look at the rest of the cast, then look at these two. Can we say quota. Not to take anything away from them. Jackson brings some much needed comic relief and Dawson is hot as hell, but I can’t help but think they were brought in to add some color.
Pierce Brosnan seems like he is in pain throughout this film, sort of like he doesn’t want to be there, but came into work for the paycheck. Having said that, though, I think his character is one that, if this becomes a franchise will rival that of Hagrid in the Harry Potter films. He’ll be that loved.
For me, this film took itself too seriously. I mean, aside from Grover, everyone seems to be acting like they’re in some Academy Award nominated drama. That is far from the case. For goodness sakes people, have some fun with this thing. I’m really surprised about this, especially considering that Chris Columbus, who directed the forts couple of HArry Potter films, is the director. Rumor is that they are working on a second one to be released in 2012. Hopefully, they’ll lighten up by then.
This is a perfect film for this lull between the holidays and summer. It isn’t quite a blockbuster, but it isn’t all artsy-fartsy, either. It blends action and heart, while at the same time providing the audience with some good entertainment. The scenery is beautiful at the camp and the CGI monsters aren’t too shabby, but could be better. Having said that, I belive if this becomes a franchise, we’ll look back at the faults and chalk them up to this being the first film. Is it worth watching? Most definitely, but don’t expect to see perfection, just go in and expect a pretty good flick about gods and stuff in modern day.
4 out of 5 stars