Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief' may not be as good as the book but it's still pretty decent.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) - IMDbStory

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) believes he's a normal boy but while on a school trip he was accused of stealing Zeus' master lightning bolt. Percy then finds out that the Greek gods are real and he is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea (and other things but that's not important).  He is taken to a camp for demigod children called Camp Half-Blood. Percy's mother is then taken by Hades, god of the underworld. Percy then goes on an adventure to get her back with Annabeth(Alexandra Daddario) and his protector, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), while trying to find out who stole the lightning bolt before Zeus' imposed deadline.

The originality of the story I attribute to Rick Riordan who wrote the book this movie is based on. This book isn't the first book to have mythological gods play a large role in the story, American Gods by Neil Gaiman also has Greek gods in it, but what makes this story special is the focus on the kids rather than the gods themselves.

Acting 

I wouldn't call the cast A-list but there are a lot of recognisable faces. Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Melina Kanakaredes, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman and Sean Bean.

Due to the nature of the plot, we spend 75% of the movie with Percy, Annabeth and they really carry the movie. The 3 leads have chemistry and bounce off each other and there is a real sense of comradery as the story goes on.

Logan Lerman's performance is not his best. You do get some of Percy's distinct personality traits from the book in the movie but I'm here to review the movie, not the book. As the protagonist of the movie, Percy is likeable due to how much of an everyman he is at the beginning of the movie. The movie does tend to hammer home just how "extraordinary" he is, something that falls more on the writing than it does on Logan.

Alexandra Daddario plays Annabeth, arguably the smartest character in the whole movie. She's not the most likeable, to begin with, but you begin to warm to her as the movie goes on. She's the badass character that has a heart of gold (once you get to know them) and that archetype isn't bad but there's more to her character that you never get to see.

Brandon T. Jackson is the comedic relief of the movie and it works because he's a comedic actor. He has brilliant comedic timing and because of that, he has some of the best lines in the movie.

The side characters were perfectly adequate, their performances, on the whole, didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I was focused more on what the main characters were doing.

Writing/Direction 

Overall the writing in this movie is in the 'meh' category. It's slightly oxymoronic as the movie is trying to take itself seriously while not trying to take itself seriously which doesn't always work and did come across as little cringey in some scenes. As mentioned earlier the movie does tend to talk about how special Percy is and it works when used sparingly but when its referred to more than a few times it becomes grating. A story like this can be very hard to portray as it requires very good world and character building and for the most part, the movie does give us distinct characters who are written like real people and have real and tangible motivations. However, that can only be said for the main characters. The suppourting characters never really added anything to film and were written either as motivation for the protagonists or someone for them to bounce off of.

This movie also has pretty good direction. It was directed by Chris Columbus and even though there's no distinct directive style, the movie runs pretty smoothly. The tone isn't always consistent, however, bringing back what I said earlier about the film not wanting to take itself seriously. The tonal shifts aren't glaring issues and is only something I noticed recently. Although it takes a while for the movie to get going, the pacing is good. At no point did I feel as though the movie was slowing down or grinding to a halt.

CGI/Set Design 

The overall set design of the movie is nothing to be wowed by. For the most part, the movie looks pretty basic. What sets is apart is the use of CGI. A movie with a story like this needs to have good CGI to be believable and this movie manages that for the mist part. There are some scenes where the CGI looks noticeable and fake which took me out of if, but on the whole, the VFX help up makes the fight scenes and more dramatic scenes believable.

Score/Soundtrack 

The score was done by Christophe Beck and it lends itself brilliantly to the film. When the movie grounded more in fantasy than reality, the score needs to reflect that and this one does that to a tee. It's also not overpowering, you're aware of it but I never found that it was detracting from the movie which can happen.

There are also songs that were in the movie that weren't added to the soundtrack and those were used to set the tone of the scene or used a transitional pieces to carry over from scene to scene. Watching the movie and hearing both Tik Tok by Kesha and Poker Face by Lady Gaga made me smile, not because it was funny, it reminded me that this movie is almost 10 years old.

Overall Thoughts

I saw this movie before I read any of the Percy Jackson books and I think I'm all the better for it. Looking at it objectively, I like this movie. It's a fun adventure movie with Greek gods. This is the kind of movie 12-year-old (and 20-year-old) me loved. It was actually on my list of favourite movies for a few months after I saw it.

It's when you start to compare it to the source material that it breaks down. It's not as fun as the books and lacks the heart that the books have. The characters are also portrayed differently, that's not to say the actors did a bad job, however I can understand why fans were very upset when this movie came out

I enjoyed this movie a lot, it's one of those movies I watch when I don't know what I want to watch I wouldn't call it a 'must-see' but I do think you'll find some enjoyment in it if/when you do watch it.

Comments

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