High-schooler Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) finds out two alarming bits of information in the span of one day. Number one: he is a demigod; a descendant of Poseidon, god of the sea. Number two: He is accused of stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt and is forced to return it in a matter of thirteen days (or else he’ll…pay the consequences?). To throw another monkey wrench into the mix, Percy must also save his mother (Catherine Keener) who has been taken by Hades (Steve Coogan) to the Underworld. Although plot A sounds like a much more enjoyable and enthralling idea, it ends up being pushed aside for a large majority of the film, almost to the point where it could be labeled as an afterthought.
You see, most of “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” centers around the title character, along with his best friend/protector Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and tough-as-nails demigoddess of wisdom Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), going on a nation-wide road trip to find the three remaining pearls that can be used to return to the real world from underworld. This way, they can make a clean getaway after rescuing Percy’s mother. Along their perilous journey, they encounter all sorts of other Greek myths and legendary icons, including Medusa (Uma Thurman), the five-headed Hydra beast and even the Sirens straight out of The Odyssey.
Some of these concepts are in fact pretty fun. For example, the Sirens’ modernized ploy is to attract outsiders to their casino and make them stay forever by serving them Lotus-shaped delicacies. However, “Percy Jackson” failed to hook me. It just does not have as much onscreen magic as should a movie involving Greed gods. The film has been compared to the “Harry Potter” and “Chronicles of Narnia” franchises. But the difference is that those films have an engaging element of mystery and unpredictability to them, not to mention they are devoted faithfully to the source material. “Percy Jackson’s” plot is about as easy to figure out as these fantasy movies can be.
Another side note: the script could have used a lot of tuning up and/or revising. Their attempts at humor, specifically with the character Grover, are laughable for ALL the wrong reasons and their moments of dialogue do not leave much of a lasting impression. I know that most of these actors CAN act, such as Catherine Keener and Uma Thurman, but really, they are given nothing to work with considering their talents. Most of the other bit roles play out that way as well, such as with Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean and Rosario Dawson.
Despite a showy presentation, or at least what appears to be one, “Percy Jackson and the” yada yada yada never takes off in an astounding manner. All I can say is that if Chris Columbus and the other filmmakers want to take a stab at adapting the other books in the series, they must hire stronger writers and supporting actors. Or better yet, use the same ones but put them through a rigorous training program of how to perfect a fantasy novel on film, with “Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King” as their study material. It sounds like a stretch, but I have a little bit of faith.