Sunday, February 14, 2010

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Another movie franchise in the making, "The Lightning Thief" is based on the first book in a series about a young teen who discovers he is the son of Poseidon. The film is directed by Chris Columbus, who helmed the first Harry Potter movie, and knows a thing or two about fantasy films for young adults. Unlike the Potter books and films which are based on magic entwined with modern teenagers, "The Lightning Thief" and it's subsequent titles are rooted in Greek mythology but share a common bond in a hero who is unaware of his powers or lineage but soon discovers the truth about himself.

Using mythology as a background provides fertile plot points that keep the story moving with lots of action (requiring a lot of CGI), clever dialog and cameos galore for stars to ham it up as mythological figures. The image of Pierce Brosnan as a minotaur is a bit unsettling and Steve Coogan as Hades is a strange choice. However, Kevin McKidd as Poseidon, Uma Thurman as Medusa, and Sean Bean as Zeus are perfectly cast. Also co-starring in human roles are Catherine Keener as Percy's mother and Joe Pantoliano as his creepy stepfather.

The most important casting choice is of course, Logan Lerman, who plays Percy Jackson. Mr. Lerman does an admirable job of being a young hearthrob as well as action hero. His best friends are played by Brandon T. Jackson (who plays his role like a live version of "Donkey" from "Shrek") and Alexandra Daddario, who plays Annabeth as a young "Xena, Warrior Princess".

Mixing modern reality and ancient mythology create an enjoyable family film that will set the table for at least four more films to satisfy the legions of Percy Jackson fans out there.

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