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Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Lightning Thief' a fun, fast tale of the Gods

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Logan Lerman stars as Percy Jackson in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief', based on the novel by Rick Riordan.

Film Critic

The year 2010 has been a big year for Greek mythology and cinema. Most people will turn to the epic "Clash of the Titans" first, but it was "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" that took to the top spot for me.

Sure it's going to draw comparisons to the Harry Potter series, it's directed by Chris Columbus for heavens sake, but this is a franchise that can stand on its own and has a passion that's been lacking lately in movies targeted to a younger audience.

As the flick begins, Zeus (Sean Bean) and Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) stand atop the Empire State Building, where Zeus informs his brother his master bolt has been stolen and Poseidon's son Percy (Logan Lerman) is the prime suspect.

Percy has until the midnight on the summer solstice to return the bolt before a war between the Gods ensues. In short, the world has 14 days before all hell breaks loose.

Percy is a demigod, half human and half god, but his deity is unknown to him. In his mind he's just another awkward teenager with all the same problems everyone else has.

But, his problems are quickly amplified while on a trip to a local Greek art exhibit when a substitute teacher transforms into a demon and attacks Percy looking for the lightning bolt. Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan), his Latin teacher, rescues him and quickly instructs Percy's best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) to take him to "the camp".

The camp turns out to be a training facility for demigods, which Grover and Mr. Brunner both turn out to be. Percy's mother Sally (Catherine Keener) isn't permitted inside the camp and is captured by a Minotaur and turned into shimmering dust.

Using his pen, which transforms into a sword, Percy battles the beast, slaying it with one of its own horns.

At the camp, the youngser learns that his father is Poseidon, which explains his attaction to water and learns that there's a chance to save his mother in exchange for the lightning bolt.

Now Percy, along with Grover and Annabeth (Alexadra Daddario), must go to the Underworld, retrieve the lightning bolt and return it to Zeus before the war of the gods begins.

I found this to be one of the more entertaining youth targeted films turned out in 2010. The subject matter is interesting, the charcters are intriguing and the film has many tales left in it.

All of the principal actors were perfect in their roles. I really enjoyed Lerman in Percy and Neveldine/Taylor's "Gamer".

The star of this movie is its story. I found myself quickly swept up into its tale much like, I hate to say it, the Harry Potter films. I liked the fact it was material most everyone knows, but presented in a different way.

Another impressive aspect of the film is its strong emsemble cast. In addition to Bean, McKidd, Brosnan and Keener, there's Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson and Steve Coogan, just to name a few.

The disc also has a nice supply of extra goodies.

There are five deleted scenes, a "Discover Your Powers Quiz" (which is really cool), the featurette "The Book Comes to Life" and the theatrical trailer.

I actually liked the movie so much, I purchased the second book in the series "The Sea of Monsters" for a quick read.

Final Cut: If you're looking to get your Greek on, check out "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" and leave "Clash of the Titans" on the shelf. It might be aimed at a younger audience, but the entertainment is far superior and one the entire family can watch.

4 out of 5 stars

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Craig Titley (Screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel)

MPAA Rating: PG for action violence and peril, some scary images, suggestive material and mild language.

Runtime: 120 min.

Available now from Fox Home Entertainment