Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
I went into this film knowing nothing more than it was based on a book and by the title had some affiliation with Greek Mythology, a topic on which I did quite a bit of reading in my youth (and yes that means I also watched Hercules and Xena – minor sidenote Lucy Lawless is doing an amazing job in Spartacus).
This will be rife with spoilers, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read.
I was quite pleased with the little minor bits of what I’m going to refer to as “cute references” to Greek Mythology, my favorite being Auntie Em’s Garden Gnome Emporium. Auntie Em being of course, Medusa (well played by Uma Thurman). The star of the flick is Percy (think Perseus ala Clash of the Titans) Jackson who doesn’t know he is a demigod, because his dad left when he was still a baby and apparently mom never figured out how to bring up that particular topic. His best friend turns out to also be a fae creature (a satyr) and also his protector, neither of which Percy realizes until later in the story.
Since the story wouldn’t be terribly interesting without some conflict, or if it was only Percy going to school, something tragic happens, Zeus’ lightning bolt is stolen. Percy is fingered as the culprit (for a reason that is never satisfactorily explained), and so his life (and his mother’s by extension) is in jeopardy.
Kid gets to Camp Half Blood where all the other demigods hang out, along with satyrs and centaurs (I use the plural even though one of each is generally all we see in the film). Percy trains for a good day or so before figuring he is ready to travel to Hades and get his mother back (who was sent there by a minotaur – right before Percy stabs it with its own horn and then passes out for a few days). Of course getting into Hades is the easy part, so before they go they go after various Pearls of Persephone, which can transport anyone anywhere they can think of. They collect 3 of these and head down to Hades to go get Percy’s mom back.
Mom saved (and in the process the lightning bolt is found), satyr left behind (they only had 3 pearls and so someone had to stay behind with Persephone), they head to Olympus, which the doorway to is located on top of the Empire State Building. There they are confronted by the actual Lightning Thief, Percy fights him and realizes some more of his Poseidon-given powers to defeat the dastardly thief, eventually creating a trident of water to slam him into the ocean – yeah, I’m sure he’s gone for good too. Quickly they all get to Olympus (mom stays in the elevator as she is mortal) and return the lightning bolt averting a war between the gods. Hurray.
The only major gripe I had about the film is that they showed Hades as if it were in fact Hell. In Greek Mythology, Hades was the afterlife, EVERYONE wound up there, so it wasn’t Hell. There was a good bit of suffering there for those that were damned, however those that were not enjoyed the paradise of the Elysium Fields.
All in all, quite worth the time and I’m now intrigued enough that I’ll probably order the Kindle Edition.