DVD Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
DVD Release Date: June 29th, 2010
Rated PG for frightening scenes, violence
Running time: 116 minutes
Chris Columbus (dir.)
Craig Titley (screenplay)
Rick Riordan (novel)
Christophe Beck (music)
Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson
Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood
Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth
Pierce Brosnan as Mr. Brunner / Chiron
Steve Coogan as Hades
Catherine Keener as Sally Jackson
Our reviews below:
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD Review By John C.
*** (out of 4)
In the human world, Percy Jackson is a teenager struggling with dyslexia and ADHD. The mortal off-spring of a human and Poseidon, Percy is a demigod. Admitted to a special school for half-bloods, Percy is taught the fine art of sword fighting and given a crash course in Greek mythology. When his mother his captured by Hades, Percy teams up with the daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), and half-man, half-goat, Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), to get her back from the evil clutches of Hades (Steve Coogan).
Percy Jackson is sometimes predictable, and often does what you joke it will – guess which AC/DC song plays en route to the underworld? It’s cliched and cheesy, for sure, but I also think it’s fully aware of itself. You’ve got Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman hamming it up, as well as many silly one-liners, and campy special effects. And these are some of the reasons why it’s so much fun to watch. It offers fair-sized and sometimes hilarious entertainment for adults, and will likely be eaten up by fans of the popular book series, by Rick Riordan.
The DVD includes about 8-minutes of deleted scenes, a bunch of featurettes, on such subjects as the book-to-screen adaptation, as well as a “which God are you?” trivia track. It is also available to buy as a 3-disc Blu-Ray/DVD/digital copy combo-pack.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD Review By Erin V.
***1/4 (out of 4)
Based on a series of books by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson & The Olympians adapts well into a fun movie for the book demographic, as well as for those who might sit down to watch it with them.
Percy Jackson always knew there was something a little different about him – maybe even something more than just ADHD and dyslexia. But when on a field trip the substitute teacher transforms into a monster and attempts to kill him, he is whisked away by his mother and best friend Grover (who turns out to be a sataur). He’s brought to a ‘special camp’ for his safety, and it is here that he discovers that he is a demi-god – the son of Poseidon. When he is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, he is given until June 21st to return it – but he’ll have to find it first. This leads to him going on an adventure, to solve the mystery of the bolt, along with Grover and the demi-god daughter of Athena, Annabeth, whom he meets at the camp.
Sure, there are better movies to watch, but there are also a lot that are worse. Clash of the Titans (2010) for example, really didn’t get the tone right and became a loud, headache-inducing mess. Keeping the mood light, the fight scenes distinguishable (not cut in ridiculous shakiness like Titans), the sound at a reasonable level, and following more of a story, Percy Jackson works. There are lots of funny scenes here, particularly with the kind of jokes you might make watching a movie like Titans that they don’t actually put in. Pierce Brosnan’s character points outright that he has a ‘horse’s ass’, and ‘Highway to Hell’ plays in the soundtrack at the most appropriate time. On another note, the score by Christophe Beck is appropriately done throughout further helping to set the tone.
Put simply, I had a lot of fun with this one. Fans of the book, and those not yet introduced to the series will probably want to check this one out.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD Review By Nicole
*** (out of 4)
Based on the children’s book series by Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief is a campy and fun Clash of the Titans for kids. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a teenager with some challenges. He lives with his kind mother and boorish stepdad, and doesn’t know who his biological father is. He also struggles at school, as he has ADHD and dyslexia. He soon finds out that he is a demigod son of Poseidon, when he ends up along with his best friend Grover (who turns out to be a satyr) to a camp for “half-blood” children of Greek gods and mythical creatures. Meanwhile, Percy has been accused of stealing lightning from the gods. To make matters worse, Percy’s mother has been kidnapped, and is being kept hostage by Hades. Percy, along with Grover, and his new friend (Annabeth), have to find the lightning thief, and save Percy’s mother. Along the way, they have to battle Medusa, a hydra, and lotus flower trips at a Vegas casino.
What makes The Lightning Thief so fun is not only the acting, but great lines (in particular, one funny line from Pierce Brosnan), as well as ironic and clever song choices such as “Highway to Hell.” Grover also provides many laugh out loud moments, as a goat/human hybrid. I really liked the fact that, in the human world, many of the demigods appear “exceptional” in the guise of learning differences, or physical differences, such as the use of wheelchairs or crutches. I would recommend Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief to anyone who enjoys a fun adventure movie, has an interest in Greek mythology, or are “exceptional” themselves.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a modern-day take on the Greek myths about ancient gods Poseidon, Zeus, Hades, and others. Based on the Percy Jackson book series by Rick Riordan, the title character Percy (Logan Lerman) is a boy with ADHD, dyslexia and a father who is an ancient god. In the movie, Percy finds out he is a demigod when for his safety he is whisked away by his best friend to half-blood camp. It’s at the camp that Percy meets other people his age who are also half-human, half-god. Together they discover their special skills and work to find out who among them is the lightning thief. Until the lightening bolt is returned, the threat of warring gods puts humans at risk.
Part of the appeal of the Percy Jackson book series for older children and teens is having a young hero who has modern-day challenges of learning disabilities. While the story itself is set in a fantasy world with ancient gods, satyrs, and centaurs, the message about discovering who you are and what you can accomplish is timeless.
The movie itself is a lot of fun to watch. The special effects are campy for the most part and keep the movie from taking on a dark or heavy tone. There is enough action and adventure to keep things moving at a good pace. Fans of the book series will enjoy this movie adaptation. Those who haven’t read the books may want to check them out after seeing the movie. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a good choice for a fun summer movie purchase or rental.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD Review By Tony
*** (out of 4)
Percψ Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a modern take on the Clash of the Titans myth. Aside from dyslexia (except for Greek) and an ability to stay really long underwater, Percy (Logan Lerman) had no idea that he was really Perseus, the demigod son of Neptune and a human mother (Catherine Keener). At a museum field trip on Ancient Greece, Perseus is attacked by his substitute teacher in the form of a giant Fury, accusing him of stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt. Under the protection of his friend Grover and history teacher (Pierce Brosnan), he is brought to the demigod training camp where Grover is actually a satyr with goat’s legs and the teacher is really the centaur Chiron (“a real horse’s ass”). If the lightning bolt is not returned by the summer solstice the anger of the gods will be unleashed, not by the Kraken but by a huge global storm. Armed with a pen/sword and shield and map provided by fellow camper Luke, Percy, Grover and Percy’s new friend Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) set out to convince Hades of Percy’s innocence. First they need to collect three magic pearls that will transport them back home from the underworld. The first pearl is guarded by Medusa (Uma Thurman), the second by a huge hydra in a Tennessee Parthenon replica. The third is in a Las Vegas casino where free lotus cakes keep everyone trapped in an eternal timewarp until Percy and the others make their escape. I won’t spoil the ending, once they reach Hades.
Based on a popular series of books written by Rick Riordan to amuse his own kids and middle school students, Percy Jackson succeeds because, unlike the two Clash epics, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is full of clever modern touches. For example, protection from Medusa’s deadly gaze is provided by sunglasses and by reflection from the shiny back of Percy’s iPod. In the Lotus Casino we are treated to some of Grover’s awesome goat leg dance moves, before the escape in a Maserati (with its trident logo). The boat to the underworld flies over a ruined urban landscape. Hades (Steve Coogan) is as sleazy as his captive spouse Persephone (Rosario Dawson) is seductive. Mount Olympus is reached by secret passage from the top of the Empire State Building. Thus the main themes of the Greek myths are remarkably preserved in a very accessible way.
The DVD includes interviews with the author Rick Riordan and director Chris Columbus. It is always gratifying when the author is delighted to see his work come to life in a new medium. The Percy Jackson franchise is off to a good start.
Consensus: Based on the popular series of books by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a campy and entertaining fantasy film, that will be enjoyed by both kids and adults. *** (Out of 4)