‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 23rd, 2010 at 4:38 pm,

Percy Jackson may not be “Harry Potter good,” but kids will really enjoy it and parents will be happy to have a movie they can bring them to that’s family-friendly.

percy jackson review Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review
Screen Rant reviews Percy Jackson the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Disclaimer: I have not read a single Percy Jackson book. I’d never even heard of the books until news of the movie version of Percy Jackson the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (man, that’s an annoying long title) first surfaced. I assume that since the Harry Potter franchise is almost played out on the big screen, that Hollywood might be looking for a fresh new series to pick up the baton once the Potter clan rides off into the sunset in their 24 carat gold, diamond encrusted Aston Martins.

As the film opens a gigantic man rises out of the sea and heads into the city (human size by then). He is of course, Poseidon (played by a rather thin looking Kevin McKidd). He meets with another fellow on the roof of the Empire State building who turns out to be Zeus (a somewhat miscast Sean Bean) – Zeus is accusing Poseidon’s son of being “the lightning thief.” It seems that someone has stolen Zeus’ favorite item – and if it is not returned within two weeks he will declare war among the gods.

Our soon-to-be hero Percy is played by 18 year old Logan Lerman (who does a fine job in the lead role). He looks younger and is a self-professed “loser” who pals around with his crippled friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson). Percy has some major dyslexia (hallucinogenic, even) and the only time he finds peace is when he’s in the water – he loves sitting at the bottom of his school’s swimming pool… for seven minutes at a time.

He lives in a rough inner city neighborhood with his mom (Catherine Keener) and his grubby, rude and stinky stepfather (Joe Pantoliano). I love Joe, and he seemed to be in a different movie – bringing a greater depth to his character in the few moments he was on screen than most of the other actors did throughout the entire film. The man is good at what he does.

It seems that Hades (Steve Coogan) also believes that Percy has stolen Zeus’ lightning and he wants it so he can rule over all the gods himself. All manner of mythological creatures are sent after Percy and eventually he ends up in a training camp for demi-gods (children of god/mortal matings). There he meets Hermes’ son Luke (young Kevin Bacon lookalike Jake Abel) and Athena’s beautiful warrior-daughter Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario). Pierce Brosnan (as a Centaur… weird) tells Percy he must go to Zeus and explain that he is not the thief – but first (for some strange reason) he needs to train to hone his combat skills.

Well a situation arises that causes Percy to want to go to Hades instead of staying to train and head up to Olympus to talk to the big man, and Grover and Annabeth insist on tagging along. What we get then is basically a road trip where they run into some interesting adventures where they run into yet more well-known mythological creatures – that were actually quite entertaining.

There were some scenes that were just scary enough for kids, but nothing that should keep them up at night. If you’re a parent, there was nothing that would give you pause when it comes to watching this with your children – very family friendly. There’s action throughout the film and the climax was pretty impressive.

Overall I actually found the film to be pretty good (for what it was) although it didn’t have the richness and depth that’s present in the Harry Potter films – then again, maybe in those films I’m just impressed by all the British accents… Kidding aside, there’s just a little something that’s missing here, similar to the feeling I get from watching the Narnia movies – just something that’s a little too shallow about them that doesn’t really hook you and drag you deep into the film.

Having said that, there was an audience at the screening I attended and they seemed to enjoy the movie quite a bit, especially the kids in the audience. I think Percy Jackson will do very well at the box office and will no doubt spawn a sequel or two.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. Grover was a satyr; as such, he was exactly as he was supposed to be. Percy and Annabeth became close friends (a la Harry and Hermione); at no point was romantic love implied. The hydra fight and pearl quest simply played into the whole mythological hero quest and added some Hollywoodesque action (whether they succeeded in that regard is open to individual interpretation). I don't remember Luke having a halo when I watched it…are you sure it wasn't some kind of flare? I happened to like the winged shoe battle, so AGAIN, reactions are dependent upon individuals. Hades raped and kidnapped Persephone, his wife, so her dislike for him and desire to be with ANYONE else was perfectly understandable. Persephone had lived with/around/near many strange beings, so a satyr actually would be one of the LEAST unusual, considering his humanoid appearance; also, she didn't “fall for” him…she just wanted sex.

    In other words…CHILL OUT!

  2. “luke having halo?”

    I think the halo referred to in this post was the video game Luke was playing in his tent when Percy visited him. Although I'm almost certain it was Modern Warfare 2 not Halo. If so this is a funny FYI…Kevin McKidd who played Poseidon voiced one of the main characters in Modern Warfare 2.

  3. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is not meant for kids in my opinion. I love that movie, but it does have a lot of deaths and violence. :-)

  4. I think it makes people sound wimpier, lol. :-P

    Edit in case the tongue smiley doesn't say enough: I'm kidding of course. :-)

  5. @Ken J

    Yeah you're probably right. The DVD does have a PG rating on it, but we didn't screen it before hand. We all sat down as a family to watch it and ended up answering a lot of her questions with careful explanations during it.

    We won't make an assumption like that again. :-)

    The next Batman film I purchased for her was the cheesy 1966 Batman film. I personally can't stand it, but ironically we had a great laugh watching it together and those sorts of times with the kids is absolutely precious.

  6. I took my kids to see it and they all liked it. There is some innuendo, but being from greek myth I guess it could be overlooked.

    I just want to say that I'd love to see the girl in this film play Wonder Woman in about 4 years or so.

  7. I love Uma Thurman!
    At Auntie Em's Garden Emporium she says, “Son of Poseidon… I Used to DATE YOUR DADDY!”
    …Cracks me up every time :-)
    I also like the end where she is in the refrigerator! HA!!! gets him…. (crackle… crackle… crackle…)
    Medusa's always been one of my favorite “baddies” :-P

  8. Watched it yesterday. I think it was a nice movie.

    It gets a bit hard for me to be imparcial when analyzing it because it changes so much things from the book, but if I think about it as a different take on the characters I can say I enjoyed it thoroughly. Just wish they would have included some stuff that form the main plot of the series (and if they were hoping to build a franchise out of this, they should have).

    Anyway, the movie was, above all else, entertaining.

  9. i know what you mean, i've read ALL the books and this films more of an insult than a tribute!
    they've cast the characters RIICULOUSLY (i mean come on an 18 yr old portraying a 13 yr old WTF???)
    they've butchered the storylines SO BADLY
    and i mean come on the luke/percy fight scene WASN'T meant to happen and in the fight percy deflects zeus's lightning bolt with his SWORD???? ONLY THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON IN CREATION!!!
    another thing WHERE IS CLARRISE???

    • i agree. and in the book, percy and annabeth are 12.

      • ya they messed it up why did he kill luke he kills himself and the titin lord in the 5th and clarrise and they left out the arch and the water park where is it

    • Agreed…. clarrise is one of most important in the last olympian and here she is ignored… wtf

      percy should be young still logar fit the character(according to my thought)

      any way the book is twice better

  10. I read the book wanted to see the movie so badly but it might as well not have had a book they messed up the book so bad after i went hom i regreted seeing it. I would say how many thumbs down i give it but humans havent counted to that number yet

  11. I read the book wanted to see the movie so badly but it might as well not have had a book they messed up the book so bad after i went hom i regreted seeing it. I would say how many thumbs down i give it but humans havent counted to that number yet

  12. I personally think that this movie was so good! Many of the reviews are inaccurate and untrue! Seriously, take it from someone who saw it at midnight, and then saw it again the next day.

    • than you havent read the book

  13. I personally think that this movie was so good! Many of the reviews are inaccurate and untrue! Seriously, take it from someone who saw it at midnight, and then saw it again the next day.

    • read the book then

  14. I like both the book and the movie. The reason why i like the movie is because the enemies have amazing costumes and has amazing good sound effects. The reason why i like the book is because it tells a different story than the movie does.

  15. To Director of Percy Jackson: The Movie, Chris Columbus,
    I have a few comments for Chris Columbus and his producers. All I want to say is that your movie that you have created disappoints me. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie or anything, other than it’s about 70% different from the story in the book. The actors were pretty good in the movie but the scenes and the story were way off. You also could have had better props for the scene at the camp. Also the place where Percy lives is not a cabin. It’s like a flouting house with no walls and privacy, really awkward. No wonder you got so many bad reviews. I read some other comments from other people and they said it’s “the worst book to movie ever!” And that is a pretty bad comment. You must have disappointed so many kids with your movie. You even took out some very important characters and scenes from the book. I think it’s going to be impossible for anybody to make a continuation of the movie now. My last comment to you is this “Thanks a lot!” and that’s sarcasm. From a viewer and commentator who watched the movie, and loved the books.

    • I completely agree. The movie was nothing like the book: Percy was CLEARLY older than 12, Annabeth wasn’t blonde, and Grover isn’t supposed to be… well, uh, African American. I felt as though I was watching a spinoff of the book in a movie, not the actual movie itself. I would also love to see a “Harry Potter” like development, where the audience who reads the books actually grows up with the movies, (I was eleven when I read the first book.) Many of my friends (who have all read the books) think that the movie was forced and that Rick Riordan didn’t really read the script enough to realize that it wasn’t his book.
      Despite all this, the movie was good enough for me to spend $20 and get it on DVD. It was great for what it was. Still though, I would’ve loved to see some actual “Lightning Thief” and “Percy Jackson Action,” not… well… what ever THAT was…

  16. I’ve read all of the Percy books, and I enjoyed them. I started reading them almost as soon as I saw the movie previews, thinking “Wow! This movie looks awesome!” My friend and I just HAD to go to the theatres to watch this movie. We did, and we were watching it and asking each other, “Why isn’t this here?” or saying “This isn’t right”. Even with those feelings, we had to be the loudest ones in the theatre. (PS, that was the first time I was oboxious in theatres) It was a great movie, in our opinion. We were lauging so hard and quoting actor’s lines as soon as we exited. I mean, sure there were tons of mistakes, but the sequel could add what they screwd up…If there is one. Poor Rick, I heard you’re being sued. That really sucks and I hope that it doesn’t squash the chances at another Percy movie. It was good. And I’m praying there will be a sequel. Even better, all the books made into movies! That’d be fun.

  17. I have to say that the movie wasn’t what I expected. If you have never read the books then I suggest that you see the movie. Over all, the movie is really good IF you’ve never read the book.
    They butchered the story and I have to be honest but I was disappointed but I will still watch the serious (if their is more) but I know that I won’t expect it to be like the books.
    Also, just as a side note, Logan and all the other actors did a good job, but the characters are supposed to be *12 not any older. And they messed up on Annabeth’s appearance.
    I honestly hope that the next movies will at least have the same appearance as described in the books.
    But over all the movie is good. And it is not another “Harry potter” as people say. It has it’s own story and characters.

  18. i hope they dont make anther i hasve read all the books mess up the movie i whated to gag myself after that

  19. i think they need to make the movie more like the book for example annabeth chase is supposed to have blonde hair duh!

  20. “Great special effects but I just could not get past this Hollywood preoccupation with having to make every hero an American, and set every film in America, no matter whether it spoils the movie or not. For example, sorceres’ apprentice is descended from Merlin yet lives in the States, obviously, and Kevin Costner plays the part of Robin Hood with a broad Yankee accent. But in Percy Jackson they made it one degree more ridiculous by portraying the inheritor of Poseidon’s powers inexplicably as a New York jew. Still, at least he got the brunette goyische shiksa in the end. And no doubt, if Chris Columbus ever remakes “The Ten Commandments” he’ll make sure Moses has a broad Welsh accent, just to balance things up a bit. “

  21. I think the movie was great even thought it didn’t follow the book at all. Luckily it followed the same plot line though. Tip if you are going to do another percy jackson movie make it ten times more like the book. One other thing you really screwed up annabeth.
    Blond Hair DUH!!

    • Yes im so glad i seen the movie first i think the movis like percy & harry potter should be like christmas carol’s jim cerrey so u get it all and u don’t have care thet the carter gets older i think the potter & jackson would be a good Disney movis.

  22. Its sooooo awesome, we watched it in English! <3

    • the movie was ok(i guess)

  23. I think they use whoever acted as Grover as Grover because he has curly hairs. PEOPLE! IT’S SO HARD TO FIND A WHITE PERSON, WITH CURLY HAIR WHO IS ALSO A GREAT ACTOR! The Annabelle part was bad, I admit. Ok, ok.

  24. Gee. I started reading Percy Jackson and the Olympian novels just last Thursday. Now I’m starting the 4th book but before I continue reading, I decided I should see the Lightning Thief movie first so that I’d be able to visualize the characters in the book as to how they look in the movie.

    The movie started really different from the book. I constantly reminded myself that movie adaptations from books can’t always stick to the real story. You know, there are a lot of things to consider like your resources and all that stuff. So I felt this need to appreciate the story.

    Well, just in the beginning.

    As the story goes on, I noticed that my appreciation turned into disappointment. I thought the director and the guys in the production messed a lot. See, they’ve changed the whole story. Its like they just took some details from the book then made a whole new different story. Such a mess. I’ve never been disappointed in movie adaptations until I’ve seen this. Poor Rick. His books are awesome. Now they ruined the story and I don’t think I’d be convinced to watch the other installments (if ever they can still do movie adaptations. unbelievable)

    • I agree they forgot so much changed so much its a discrace to the movie the books are so so much beter.

    • the first movie was goob but fix the mistakes and mack a second movie

  25. The kids playing anebeth were to old good acting but what about the prophesy

  26. opps I spelled annebeth wrong in the other coments

  27. DRECTORS FIX THE MOVIE,READ ALL THE other comments and fix it all makeup,wigs,AT LEAST CLOSE TO 12 YEAR OLD ACTORS!