Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a rather lengthy title. Why they had to add “The Olympians” remains a mystery to me. It makes it sound like a band or something. But in reality there’s no band to found in “Percy Jackson” as it deals with a teenager who finds out he’s a demigod after his human mother had some good times with Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea and storms. So now you know who to blame Katrina on.
This revelation will lead to Percy and fellow demigod Annabeth and protector Grover who is part goat like the James McAvoy in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Percy Jackson seems to be aimed at kids though adults will find it entertaining also, and in an enjoyable way introduces us to or refreshes our knowledge of the Greek mythology. A mythology in which a lot of Gods looked the same but where identifiable by their gift/power and/or their attributes: the trident of Poseidon, the lightning bolt of Zeus.
And it’s that lightning bolt that is missing and Zeus blames the unknowing Percy for stealing it, and declares war on his brother Poseidon if it isn’t returned within 14 days or so.
Sound ridiculous? Well it does and the premise is one of the bigger flaws of movie. Zeus was supposed to be the God of Gods in a way yet his bolt gets stolen? And they blame this demigod kid who doesn’t know even know his dad, let alone his divine descent? Isn’t Zeus all-knowing like any decent God is? According to the story Zeus, Poseidon and their other brother Hades, God of the underworld i.e. the Devil from the Greek Mythology are on a constant verge of war. You might wonder if they have nothing better to do.
Clocking in under two hours the movie doesn’t waste much time on developing all the characters. The pace is pretty high as the movie covers Percy’s discovery of his destiny, the training of demigods in a special camp and the last hour is dedicated to the actual quest of getting the stolen lightning bolt back and saving Percy’s mother from Hades in the underworld. Instead of developing their characters Percy, his protector and his love-interest are stock characters. Grover is even waiting for the day he gets his horns which is just another take on the angels without wings.
While the central characters are relative unknowns, the supporting cast consist of a couple of big names. Pierce Brosnan is a centaur, half man and half horse. Sean Bean is Zeus and Uma Thurman plays Medusa who has one the more entertaining sequences in the movie. British comedian Steve Coogan is hades and steals scenes from his co-workers.
Not a great movie, but with a pace this quick it’s hard to get bored. Too bad it’s too fast to really get involved with the characters. The Greek mythology used in the movie adds an extra layer of interest to the movie, but it doesn’t cover up that there could have been a more coherent movie underneath it.