Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is the adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was directed by Chris Columbus and stars Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman.
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.
The movie is fun, especially because of the supporting cast. But there are also a lot of infuriating things going on there: plot holes about 3 miles wide, Chris Columbus and the fact that the culprit was known 2 seconds after his first appearance. Still, it was definitely much better than Cirque du Freak.
There’s a lot of charm in this movie, most of it taken directly from the book (which I’ll review next). Some of it is a little clichéd, but it never really hurts. Well, not a lot in any case.
Speaking of the book: I think that there were some changes I can wholeheartedly support, especially the way Percy, Grover and Annabeth keep stumbling upon the mythical creatures makes a lot more sense in the film. And I loved Persephone. But there was a lot missing, too. Characters went awol, world-building was undermined and the whole overarching series plot is gone. But a little more of that in my review of the book.
The kids’ performances were fine, nothing completely amazing, but nothing that made me cringe either. (Though I have to admit that it totally irritated me how much Logan Lerman looks like Christian Slater. But that’s neither here nor there.) The supporting cast was absolutely great though. Especially Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener and Steve Coogan (even if I have to admit that Steve Coogan’s costumes made his job especially hard).
I also liked the way the dyslexia was represented, though it got a little old after the first few times it was used.
But there was a lot that went wrong, too. Like Annabeth’s continuous fighting with open, flowing hair. People, have you ever had long hair? It’s one of the most impractical things ever! Nobody in their right mind would be fighting with long, open hair. Seriously bugged me. And why would the hydra spit fire? And could Chris Columbus make it any more obvious who the bad guy is? And why would Cerberus be three dogs instead of a dog with three heads?
Summarising: It’s fun but it also seems obvious that nobody gave this adaptation half as much thought as the Harry Potter movies. Still, if you don’t think too hard about it and don’t love the books too much, you’ll definitely enjoy the movie.