Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Let me first say, my mother loved this. So it has that going for it.

Percy is the half mortal son of Poseidon. After Zeus’s lightning bolt is stolen, Zeus thinks Percy stole it and tells Poseidon he better get it back in 2 weeks, or else. Two weeks also happens to be the summer solstice. I wonder if the solstice was 3 weeks away the deadline would be 3 weeks? It’s never explained how Zeus, who Poseidon specifically points out is omnipotent, is able to have a lightning bolt stolen, nor how he fails to know who the thief is.

Anyway, Percy’s best bud ends up being a Satyr charged to be his protector. I forget the character’s name, let’s him Satyrboy is a limp urban black sterotype. Once they determine the Greek community is out to kill Percy, they flee to Hogwar- er summer camp. Wait, no that’s right. They flee to summer camp. Apparently it’s some sort of neutral ground, though Hades doesn’t have any problem throwing fireballs around when it suits him. At camp Percy runs into Anabelle, daughter of Athena and ranking badass at camp. Percy defeats her in combat his second time picking up a sword. Later that night they all decide to head off the talk Hades into releasing Percy’s mom because, surely Hades is a nice guy.  Most of the movie consist of tracking down 3 pearls that will allow them to escape the Underworld once they enter. Along the way they’ll fight Medusa (didn’t Perseus kill her 2,000 years ago?), a hydra and snack crackers.

Jeez, this feels like such a cheap and shallow Harry Potter knockoff it made me roll my eyes. Percy’s ends up spending a whole day at Jr Demigod camp and suddenly feels he’s ready to take on Hades. Seriously? And the friends he runs into. Satyrboy is annoying on several levels. And I can’t think of a single thing Anabelle did that was helpful. Percy is so overpowered his friends are deadweight. Harry has Ron and Herminione. While Ron can be considered useless except for very rare instances, it’s safe to say without Herminione, Harry would be dead year one. Also there’s a scene during the credits that just left me cold where Percy gets back at his jerk of a stepdad. There’s getting back, and then there’s wondering why we’re rooting for this creep.

Only one thing saves the movie from being total wash. Rosario Dawson as Persephone, Hades’ unwilling wife. Most of the plot of the movie involves tracking down pearls she made so that once men sneak into the underworld and uh… ‘visit’ her, they can leave unmolested by Hades. See, Persephone HATES Hades. At one hilarious point Hades commands her to do something and her response is priceless, “Or WHAT?! I’m already in Hell!” To me this sequence was the highlight of the movie.

A minor nod must also go to Kevin McKidd (Lucius Verenus, Rome) wasted as Poseidon. Hollywood, give this guy a break and see what he can do.

1 1/2 Stars out of 5

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