20th Century Fox, 2010. Rated PG
Synopsis: Under-achieving high school student Percy Jackson is having a bad week: first, he gets attacked by his English teacher (who is actually a harpy) on a school field trip to the Museum of Natural History, then his mom gets kidnapped and taken to the underworld, and he is sent to a place called Camp Half-Blood where he is informed that he is accused of stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt. On top of all of all that, he is told that he is the son of the sea god Poseidon. No wonder he has ADD. With his friend Grover Underwood and fellow camper Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, Percy must take a cross-country journey to the gates of the Underworld to save his mom and recover the missing lightning bolt before the summer solstice.
I read the book before I saw the movie, and after having seen the movie, must provide the disclaimer that the two are separate entities. Unlike the literal film translations of the Harry Potter films, The Lightning Thief has created its own Percy Jackson cannon that I personally felt left a lot to be desired. The film completely leaves out the prophecy from the books that is so central to the plot and has aged the characters so that their cross-country journey sans adult supervision doesn’t seem so illogical. I was also disappointed in the fact that they made Annabeth into Xena, Warrior Princess rather than the tactical member that she is in Riordan’s novel. However, the good news is that despite how the film deviates from the book, you won’t need to have read the book to understand the story. By itself, the film is an enjoyable fantasy adventure that makes for an ideal family movie. The main characters are likable, and Jackson playing Grover added a great humor element to the story, not to mention that Logan Lerman is pretty cute. The secondary characters are sort of flat, and I was confused by the inclusion of Persephone, since she seems to have little to no influence on the story – and in fact, many of the minor gods were likely introduced so that the directors could have the fun of throwing in as many Greek myths as possible into a 118 min. film. The second book in the series The Sea of Monsters is also being made into a film to be released within the next year, and I am hoping they can turn the film cannon around, but don’t know if the Olympians film adaptations can recover.
Other Movies like this one: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Harry Potter films, I am Number Four, The Last Airbender, The Chronicles of Narnia films, Tron, Pirates of the Caribbean films, How to Train Your Dragon