Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Today’s review is of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which many refer to as just Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief.  It’s a 2010 fantasy-adventure film directed by Chris Columbus (of Home Alone and Harry Potter fame), who in my eyes was the perfect choice to bring this story to life on the big screen.   The film is based on the book, The Lightning Thief, which is the first story in the five book Percy Jackson series by author Rick Riordan.  It stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, in his first leading role that has since sent him on the journey to becoming a young superstar.  I am particularly excited for his next film because it is based on a novel that I would like to read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. (In all honesty Emma Watson is my actual motivation for being excited)  The film is rounded out by a variety of cast members, both newcomers and veterans, which include Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario (HOT), Jake Abel, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Sean Bean and Pierce Brosnan.

I have always been someone who was fascinated and interested in Greek Mythology, which is a major reason I really enjoy this story.  It follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, as he discovers that not only is he is a demigod (half god, half human), but he also happens to be the son of the Greek god Poseidon.  Percy and his friends embark on a journey to prevent a war between the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades that is fraught with battles and tests their abilities to stay alive.

This film series may have gone unnoticed by moviegoers since it may look like it’s a kid’s movie, but in actuality it really is fun for everyone.  If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc this is something you should check out as they were clearly used for inspiration.  The mix between the modern-day world and the world of the Gods is what makes this series special and intriguing in my eyes.  It adds that extra bit of originality that allows this to feel fresh and lets you enjoy those feelings of growing up in a mythical sort of way.

I highly suggest you check this film out if you are into the fantasy genre, especially if you dig franchises.  Also, if you are into Greek Mythology, this is a must view.  (Kim also adds that the books are a must read. Links to her reviews are here: one, two, three, four, five)  While this may not have had as much success as some of its counterparts in the genre, Fox saw enough in this original story and its leading man to warrant it a sequel, which not all epic book series have the luxury of getting. (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is to be scheduled for release on March 27, 2013)  It’s a sleeper hit in my opinion, and I think you should check it out.

4 out of 5 Stars

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010)
Fox 2000 Pictures
PG, 118 Minutes

#6 A Review of The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1) by Rick Riordan

Cover Image Bored one Saturday night, Todd and I found the film version of The Lightning Thief on HBO and were very impressed with it!  Knowing that one of my reading  challenges for 2011 was a page to screen challenge, I had a perfect excuse to check out the book. 
Rick Riordan is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, as well as its sequel series The Heroes of Olympus.  He has also written the Tres Navarre series, The Kane Chronicles, and has contributed to the children’s series The 39 Clues.  Riordan has become incredibly successful at creating interesting series for both young adults and adults focusing on Greek mythology, Texas private eyes, and Egyptian mythology.
Percy Jackson’s life is crap.  He has ADHD, dyslexia, is about to get kicked out of yet another boarding school, mythological creatures are chasing him, and he’s just found out that his entire life has been a lie.  Percy finds out that he is a demigod, meaning his father is one of the twelve Olympians from Mount Olympus. (Yes, they really exist!)  Upon Percy’s discovery that he is a demigod, he is brought to camp Half-Blood (a camp for other demigods) by his friend and protector Grover, who is a satyr.  He is told that Zeus’s lightning bolt has been stolen and that he is the main suspect.  Percy speaks to the Oracle and is told he must leave camp and go on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt, as well as stop the war between Zeus and Poseidon.  Before leaving for his quest, Percy undergoes some training at camp and meets Annabeth, a daughter of Athena.  During a game of capture the flag Percy finds out that he has special powers in relation to water and that water acts as a healing agent for him.  At the end of the game it becomes known which god is Percy’s father.  (You won’t be finding out from me though, it’s a surprise!)  With some basic training under his belt, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth leave camp and begin their trek from Long Island to find the missing lightning bolt.  They are thrust in the paths of Furies, Medusa, Hades, Zeus, Ares, and many other mythological creatures and gods along the way.  Percy must figure out why he’s being framed as the lightning thief, what his strange dreams mean, why his father has claimed him as his son only now, and how he’s going to survive each challenge being thrown his way. 
So Percy Jackson was awesome.  As a huge fan of Greek mythology I loved reading about all of the Greek gods, the mythological creatures, and the stories about the gods.  This book/series is an excellent way to introduce young adults into the mythology realm.  For parents who are iffy about letting their kids read about vampire love stories or zombie books, this is a great way to introduce them to something both educational but filled with a clean age appropriate adventure.  Riordan’s writing style is very eloquent and educated, and he makes the sometimes confusing world of Greek mythology interesting, easy to understand, and the reader wanting more. 
For those who have seen the film, while the plots are similar, there are major differences between the two.  In my opinion, the book was filled with more conflicts and challenges for Percy and his friends to overcome which truly tested their resolve and abilities to become “heroes” (i.e. Hercules).  I would definitely encourage those that have seen the film and enjoyed it to check out the book as well.  I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the differences. 
4 out of 5 Stars

This is my second completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Hyperion/Miramax Kid Publishers (2006)
Paperback 377 pages
ISBN: 9780786838653
Click here to check out Rick Riordan’s website
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