When it comes to teen film franchises that we grew up with, many come to mind. These teenage films can be of any sort, from realistic films like Boyhood that make you nostalgic for your entire childhood in just one film; to films like Harry Potter which you literally grow up with as a kid. The Chronicles of Narnia is another example of such franchises, which are movies that you saw as a kid, and completed almost into adulthood or even a bit further into adulthood. One of such franchises is the series of Percy Jackson films, which were responsible for introducing actors such as Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, and Brandon T. Jackson to the mainstream audiences.
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The Movie Review
In a world where contemporary society meets the Olympian Gods, Poseidon is completely baffled upon realizing that his demigod son Percy Jackson has literally stolen Zeus’ master lightning bolt. However, Percy doesn’t even know he’s a demigod, but he is now out of nowhere tasked with finding Zeus’ lightning bolt and the thief that stole it.
Now, with all the Olympian Gods in pure disarray; Percy must band together with his Satyr friend Grover and Athena’s demigod child Annabeth. As they must now travel across New York to hunt down the real lightning thief before the Summer Solstice, otherwise war will be waged amongst the Gods which will turn the worlds of both Gods and men into disaster.
The film was helmed by director Chris Columbus, who previously created the Home Alone films along with the first two Harry Potter films. While his Harry Potter films were pure perfection almost, and his Home Alone films went on to become proper Christmas classic flicks. Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief falls short in all sorts of these categories. For one it’s a film that has so many plot holes that if I started counting them; this review would turn into a plot hole counter. Second off for a film created in 2010, five years after the release of the books; it feels like the creators didn’t understand the source material at all. It feels half-assed on all accounts within the writing.
There is little to no pacing in this film, it feels as if the director just said ‘shoot this scene and that is it moving onto the next one.’ Instead of actually creating a story with a proper A to Z story, this linear story consistently keeps doing the same thing on repeat. The duo of Percy, Grover, and Annabeth find a weird-looking creature, they kill it and they move onto the next one. It was this constant need to showcase the fun and entertaining action scenes, which lead to a convoluted and empty plot with little to no substance.
The Greek mythological creatures here are absolutely iconic and they were designed very well. Medusa in particular was a pleasure to watch in this film, especially due to her contemporary design. Uma Thurman looked ravishing as the character, with her snake hair being shown as actual snakes. The use of CGI was tremendously well done, with some absolutely life-like designs to the Hydra, and other aspects of the film. The action scenes felt fresh too, they were choreographed really well with some awesome stunts and really fun dialogue in between.
The performances by the actors were also quite decent, in particular Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson. The cast was full of stars here too, such as Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Joe Pantoliano, Kevin McKidd, Sean Bean, Dylan Neal, and Pierce Brosnan. The acting and the performances were all surprisingly well for a film that was catered towards a 13+ target demographic.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief had the potential to be one of the most unique, fun, and entertaining films in a first of many in a new franchise. However, the poor direction and absolutely abysmal writing in the film dismantled any chances of that coming to fruition. Chris Columbus is a talented director, yet he didn’t create the sort of thing you would usually expect him to. Though, the action and CGI were great, just enough to make this film an enjoyable affair.