Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Directed by Chris Columbus.
2010. Rated PG, 118 minutes.
Logan Lerman
Brandon T. Jackson
Alexandra Daddario
Pierce Brosnan
Sean Bean
Steve Coogan
Catherine Keener
Rosario Dawson
Joe Pantoliano
Uma Thurman

Someone has stolen Zeus’s lightning bolt. He’s so pissed, he warns Poseidon that if he doesn’t get it back soon, there will be hades to pay. See, Zeus believes that Poseidon’s son is the culprit. Poseidon’s son is none other than Percy Jackson (Lerman), a high school kid who thinks he’s just an ordinary joe whose life sucks. He’s got a slight case of ADHD and apparently severe dyslexia. However, we soon discover that the writers are fans of The Facts of Life because no one in this movie is handicapped, they’re “handi-capable.” If you’re under 30, you probably don’t get that joke, but whatever. Laugh now, google it later.

This is a classic case of the filmmakers trying to keep us from thinking about the lame-brained script by distracting us with lots of shiny objects. Yes, it’s action-packed almost literally from wall to wall. With beautifully rendered creatures and exciting battles scenes, it’s generally a fun watch.

It’s also incredibly stupid. Things that make no sense kepp happening. There seems to be no logical explanation for many of the things people do. This includes actually trying to kill each other during training excercises. Imagine young soldiers in training actually shooting one another with live rounds. That doesn’t make any sense, now does it?

There are other problems, as well. The attempts at comic relief are horrendous, our heroine evidently likes having a guy that can smack her around and the sidekick has a horrible case of “Magical Negro” disease. If you’re unfamiliar with that particular stereotype, the “Magical Negro” is a black character in American literature or cinema with special powers whose sole purpose is to protect and/or enrich the life of the white protagonist. Think The Legend of Bagger Vance or The Green Mile. While that aspect of those films is bothersome, it worked because they were generally well-written stories whether they used stereotypes or not. In a lesser movie such as this, it’s closer to being an unforgivable offense.

The bottom line on Percy Jackson is it’s often dazzling to “look at” but if you’re over 12, it’s probably a chore to “watch”. Oh, since I know you’re smarter than I, when you see it, or if you’ve already seen it, please explain to me how Pierce Brosnan’s character ever sat in a wheelchair.

The Opposite View: Mary Pols, Time

What the Internet Says: 5.8/10 on (8/11/10), 50% on, 47/100 on

MY SCORE: 4.5/10

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