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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a 2010 fantasy-adventure film based loosely on The Lightning Thief, the first novel in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Rick Riordan. Logan Lerman played the major role as Percy Jackson, Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood (a satyr), and Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase (daughter of Athena), with appearances of great Hollywood stars like Kevin McKidd as Poseidon, Sean Bean as Zeus, Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, and Uma Thurman as Medusa. It was directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was released to theaters on February 12, 2010 with much success.

Plot.  The movie begins with a scene on top of the Empire State Building where Olympian gods Zeus and Poseidon meet. Zeus reveals that his mater lightning bolt has been stolen and that Poseidon’s demigod son Percy Jackson is accused of the stealth. Poseidon reminds him that Percy is unaware of his true identity. However, Zeus insists that the lightning bolt be returned before the next summer solstice, and if not, war will be waged. 

Percy Jackson is a seventeen-year-old teenager who has the ability to stay underwater for a long time. While on a school trip to a local museum, Percy is chased by a Fury and is only saved by his bestfriend Grover and Latin teacher Mr. Brunner. Despite Percy’s confusion, Mr. Brunner has Grover take him and his mother Sally out to Camp Half-Blood. However, they are attacked by a minotaur who appears to kill Sally since she is unable to enter the camp. Percy fights and kills the minotaur, and then faints from shock.

Three days later, Percy wakes up in the camp and soon learns that he is the son of Poseidon. He also discovers the true identity of his bestfriend and Mr. Brunner. In the camp, he learns combat skills and meets and befriends Annabeth Chase and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes. During a team exercise, Hades appears and reveals that Sally is with him in the Underworld and he will return her safely if Percy hands over the lightning bolt. Despite orders not to go, Percy plans to go to the Underworld, joined by Grover and Annabeth. They visit Luke who gives them an old shield, a pair of winged sneakers, and a map where three of Persephone’s pearl are found which they can use to escape the Underworld.

Over the next days, the trio heads to great adventures as they look for the pearls and fight other mythical figures like Medusa, Hydra, and the Lotus-Eaters. After having possession of the pearls, they meet Hades and his wife Persephone in the Underworld. After a fight, Hades finds the bold hidden inside the shield, revealing that Luke is actually the lightning thief. However, Persephone knocks out Hades with the bolt to avoid spending eternity with him, and hands the bolt to Percy. Since there are only three pearls, Grover chooses to stay behind with Persephone.

Percy, Annabeth and Sally are teleported to the Empire State Building. Luke attacks them and tells that he wants to destroy Mount Olympus so that the demigods can become the new rulers of the gods. Percy fights hard with Luke, and after defeating him, he returns the bolt to Zeus. Percy is forgiven and is allowed to speak briefly with Poseidon.

In the end, Percy and Annabeth returns to the camp and is reunited with Grover.

Commentary. Before I had seen the movie, I was not attracted to it since fantasy films are not my type of movies. It strikes me as another Harry-Potter-like production which is not my liking. A student recommended it to me, and incidentally, I was able to watch it on Cable some time later.

Bravo! I find it really exciting and wonderful. It is not as original as Harry Potter but it is as refreshing and creative. The concept of integrating ancient mythology to contemporary world is brilliant, as learning a part of this classic literature becomes fun and thrilling. The familiar characters are twisted that they seem so real, especially Medusa and Hades who appears like a rock star. Being a viewer, it made me wish to be a demigod as well. LOL!

The movie takes on a fast pace, avoiding being dry, dull and uninteresting. It has a very clear plot that there are no loose ends in its story line. With regards to its special effects, I can only be amazed and gaped. For me, this is a good movie overall.

Reception. There are mixed reviews for the movie. In Metacritic, it received an average score of 47 out of 100, while 50% of reviews in Rotten Tomatoes were positive.

Actor Logan Lerman received nominations from 2010 MTV Movie Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and 37th Saturn Awards for his portrayal of Percy Jackson.

Rating: Four half stars for this movie.This is a movie with great storyline but it only succeeds in being entertaining. Hope it had more depth.

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