Loading
March 05, 2010
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
By CNA Staff

By CNA Staff

Older Children and Adults: Morally Acceptable: Good Craftsmanship

Based on the popular children’s book by Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief tags along behind the successful Harry Potter films, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Lord of the Rings, and even movies like Troy or 300, which attempt to modernize the ancient and capitalize on a pre-existing idea.

As far as stories go, the Lightning Thief scores high on the originality meter. The tale proposes that the Greek gods of Olympus never disappeared. Instead, they were forgotten. Nevertheless, they continued in their petty quarrels and in their love affairs with mortals which created children who are half mortal and half god: the demigods. These demigods often struggle with dyslexia and ADHD, the story goes, because their brains are hardwired for ancient Greek and their bodies are equipped with amazing reflexes which predispose them for battle.

Meet Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), a demigod though he doesn’t know it. Percy has been kicked out of every school he has ever attended. He can stay underwater for seven minutes, and he has no memory of his biological father. Then, on a class trip to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he is attacked by a real, live Fury out of Greek Mythology who thinks he’s stolen something significant.

The story takes off from there. Percy finds himself at a summer camp for demigods where they learn all sorts of life skills such as sword-fighting, ancient Greek, and archery. At the camp, he finds out that he is Poseidon’s son and that Zeus is blaming him for having stolen the master lightning bolt.

The dialogue throughout the movie isn't very plausible. Despite the argument that teenagers (even demigods) aren’t profoundly philosophical beings, much of the conversations between characters is forced, unnatural and lacked depth entirely. The poor dialogue, coupled with the absolute absence of character development, is a serious setback for the critical viewer. Moviegoers are not allowed into Percy Jackson’s emotions or thoughts anywhere in the film. Instead, they are introduced to an impeccably dressed teenage heartthrob with trendy haircut. It may be easy to get a crush on the actor, but it is very hard to get to know the character he plays.

Equally as problematic is the character of Grover, (played by Brandon T. Jackson) a satyr assigned to protect Percy from the monsters that prowl the world in search of demigods to destroy. While he may not be a stellar protector, Grover becomes Percy’s best friend. The actor who plays Grover is one of the only African-Americans in the film, and the majority of his lines and actions bespeak a Chris Rock-style of shallow (and unnecessary) humor. Whatever happened to the notion that two men can be friends, building each other up through their friendship and mutual experiences?

As is common with contemporary films, especially those with imaginative tendencies, the graphics are stunning. From flying shoes propelling a demigod across the New York skyline like Neo from the Matrix and a skiff drifting through the currents of the airless and ever-burning Hades, to the attack of unimaginable mythical beasts, the movie holds the viewer captive with a long stream of very realistic animation.

The PG-rated move is suitable for just about everyone. There is no profanity, no nudity, and little canoodling. (The main characters show their affection by disarming one another in a sword fight.) And despite the dubious nature of satyrs, Grover remains a family-friendly character with a tendency to spend too much time talking with Aphrodite’s daughters. However, the realistic and graphic computer renditions of the monsters, especially Medusa, are not suitable for younger children. It seems that the animators really enjoyed their role and used the realism that technology brings to overemphasize details such as the snakes that are Medusa’s hair, the monstrous heads of the Hydra, and the unimaginable details of Hades. Indeed, many of the scenes drag on too long and easily become unpleasant.

While more narration would have improved the story, and a little less emphasis on the computer animation would have been nice, The Lightning Thief is a refreshingly original storyline with a refreshingly clean presentation (unless you don’t want your kids knowing what the inside of a casino looks like). Don’t be embarrassed to see it, even if you don’t have kids in tow.

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
19

Liturgical Calendar

December 19, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: