So, I managed to make it out to the movies once again with the family this past weekend. Although there were many choices, it was decided before we even made it out the door what we going to see: “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: the Lightning Thief”. This is another teen book series making its way onto the big screen. Instead of magic and wizards as in the famous “Harry Potter” Series, this teen fantasy film focuses on the Greek gods.
This is not a unique storyline by any stretch of the imagination. We have seen this before in nearly every teen film featuring some fantastic elements. Here’s the plot summary: boy with talent discovers he has rather magical powers/abilities, boy discovers he is part of a much larger group/situation of other “specials”, then boy goes on great adventure and comes out on top.
Yawn. Can we not think of anything interesting to write these days? The script for this film is a little hard to swallow at parts, to boot. This makes the entire film a little less enjoyable. It seems more like an excuse to try to capitalize on that whole “Harry Potter” / “Twilight” crowd. Unfortunately, “Lightning Thief” fails to electrify us with its story. It does have some nice special effects though – I particularly liked the Hydra.
Now, this is the part where I tell you that I am a huge fan of mythology and have been since I was a kid. Back then, I was enamored of Greek Mythology thanks to another film by FX wizard Ray Harryhausen called “Clash of the Titans” (not to worry folks, there will be a review of the remake as soon as I see it!). So I found out all I could about Perseus and the Kraken and Medusa. I read a lot as a kid. So, I appreciate the effort of filmmakers trying to tap into the young adult interest in Greek mythology. However, could we PLEASE try to use some different monsters? I mean seriously. We have a hydra, Medusa, a minotaur, and a “fury”. We’ve seen these monsters quite a bit and I feel like they have become commonplace.
Oh, and let’s take a moment to acknowledge some goofs in the writing shall we? Pierce Brosnan makes an appearance as a centaur…who somehow masquerades as a teacher in a wheelchair??? Sean Bean plays a Zeus that doesn’t have a white flowing beard …and dresses like someone from the movie “Troy” (hey, that’s right – he was IN “Troy”!)??? The “fury” is really unusual, seeing how the Fury was actually the Roman name. Steve Coogan plays Hades that seems more Devil / Satan than Ruler of the Underworld / King of the Dead. (Heck, I even liked James Woods portrayal in the Disney film “Hercules” better.) Although, I did like the presentation of Persephone (played by Rosario Dawson) a great deal. That was mostly because you just never hear about her!
It is at this point in time that we need to stop and ask a simple question: where are the GREEK gods played by British Actors? Also, why does this movie feature the United States and not Greece itself? Okay, I get it: it’s because it’s a fantasy movie, right? Well, I hate to say it, but I just found too many things wrong with “Lightning Thief” to get past these little hiccups. The daughter of Athena is presented as a talented warrioress – and yet she does nothing really in the whole movie except shoot some guards with a hand crossbow. The son of Hermes is like a teenage weapons dealer, which has nothing to do with Hermes!
I wasn’t very impressed by “Lightning Thief” and I think some books should stay books. Maybe it was paced wrong? I’m not sure. Regardless, while it isn’t a complete waste of time, it isn’t the best choice for a movie outing.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) (nonestopmovies.wordpress.com)