By FRANCIS DASS
PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF
Directed by Chris Columbus (also director of Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets)
Starring Logan Lerman, Brando T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Melina Kanakaredes, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman, Julian Richings
This lightweight teeny-bopperish film is suitably, well, lightweight. The first of a few films to come our way under the Percy Jackson and The Olympians tag, this one sees magic, mayhem and modernity all sitting pretty next to one another.
The Greek gods are seen presiding over humanity and, sometimes, coupling with humans and creating demigods in the process (yup, like in the good old mythical days!), and on the other you have the humans living oblivious to the existence of these supernatural entities and their powerful offsprings amongst them.
Like all films targeted at teens today, the film is spot on in the crucial looks department -- both that of its cast as well as the realistic rendition of special effects.
Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the son of Poseidon and his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is actually a myhthical beast assigned to guard him.
When Zeus' (Sean Bean) thunder is stolen -- ok, ok, it will sound a lot better (and not make Zeus seem like a petty loser) if we say that Zeus' favourite mother-of-all-lightning-bolt is stolen, the Greecian chief god confronts Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and accuses his son Percy of having stolen the bolt of lightning. Harsh words are exchanged and deadlines delivered for the return of this weapon of destruction.
This forces Percy's teacher Mr Brunner (Pierce Brosnan), mother Sally Jackson (Catherine Keener) and Grover to rush him over to a special school for demi-gods so that the young lad would be safe and prove his innocence.
At this school for demigods, he befriends the attractive Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), who is the daughter of Athena (Melina Kanakaredes) and Luke (Jake Abel).
Hades (the funny Steve Coogan) also wants the lightning bolt so that he can dethrone Zeus and take over. This results in Hades capturing Sally and taking her to the underworld.
As Percy springs into action to save his mother and prove his innocence. a whole lot of magical creatures are unleashed. If you like your sword and sandal movies with heaps of magic and cute young actors and actresses in the lead, then this is the perfect movie for you.
In this film, the adults gamely play second fiddle to the cast of young ones. It's obvious everyone working on this film is seriously hoping the Percy Jackson films will be a gigantic franchise!
Also on the plus side, it is hilarious to see the ultra flirty Persephone (Rosario Dawson) who is Hades' companion and the super-campy Medusa (Uma Thurman) hamming it up on the big screen.
This harmless movie, where everything ends happily-ever-after, is a nice antidote to a stressful day at school or work!