Thursday, 11 February 2010
FILM REVIEW: PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF
20th Century Fox
If it were an episode of Ricki Lake this film might well be called 'My Dad was a No Good Greek God', and true enough, our teen protagonist here has reason for his daddy issues. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) has always had an affinity for water (he can hold his breath below its surface for seven minutes) but it still comes as a surprise to learn that the father who abandoned him is Poseidon, Greek God of the Seas. His mum (Catherine Keener, ever relaible but here all at sea), never told him in order to protect him.
But now Zeus (Sean Bean), Poseidon's brother, believes Percy has stolen his thunderbolt and he wants it returned - by the summer solstice and at midnight no less - or war will be unleashed. Percy, sent to hide out in a camp for fellow demigods, teams up with his protector, Grover (Brandon T Jackson), a satyr, and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, to find out who really stole the thunderbolt and to save his mum from Hades (comic Steve Coogan), another brother of Zeus, who resides in the underworld. Got all that?
Don't worry, it plays out much less confusingly than it sounds so that tween and teen audiences will be able to keep up. And Uma Thurman and Rosario Dawson are on hand to keep chaperoning fathers' interests piqued.
Based on a series of books, Percy Jackson was likely envisioned as a fantasy franchise to succeed Harry Potter when that series eventually comes to an end mid 2011. Director Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Potter films, does doesn't do as deft a job this time around but thankfully keeps the pace moving for most of its two hour running time; no Chamber of Secrets longueurs here.
With some nine months still to wait for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief may go some way to sating the undemanding sector of that fan group. Simultaneously, it may serve as an appetizer (and introduction) for the soon-to-be released Clash of the Titans. But will there be a sequel? That, as always, is in the hands of the gods aka studio heads.