Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief proves to be a satisfying beginning to what is sure to be a promising film franchise.
Its timing couldn’t be any more ideal. With the Harry Potter series coming to a close, the search was on as to what will fill the void the multi-billion dollar ...Potter franchise will leave in its wake. Twilight is already two films down; there is no guarantee that Avatarwill release a sequel; and, with The Golden Compass falling on its face, sights were set on Percy Jackson to come to the rescue.
Based on a series of books written by Rick Riordan, the Percy Jackson novels blended adolescent angst with Greek mythology fantasy to popular acclaim. And so it goes with its film adaptation, directed with a sure hand by...Potter veteran Chris Columbus.
Logan Lerman stars in the title role, a young man from a working class neighbourhood who finds out that he is a Demigod (the son of Poseidon to be exact, here played by Kevin McKidd) and is charged with a quest to find Zeus’s (Sean Bean) missing lightning bolt and stop an impending war between the gods.
Joining Percy in his quest is a frustratingly annoying Brandon T. Jackson in the sidekick / comedic relief role of Grover the satyr, and Alexandra Daddario as love interest and fellow Demigod, Annabeth daughter of Athena (Melina Konakaredes).
(The casting of Daddario is a welcome one for here, finally, is a female protagonist who projects a healthy body image and is just as involved in the action as her male counterparts.)
The material is not the strongest, yet Columbus makes the most of it, offering a constantly entertaining and action filled series of set pieces featuring a steady stream of mythical creatures, brought to life through an impressive display of visual effects.
Portraying many of the beings (and their human counterparts) is a top heavy cast of veteran talent, no doubt knowing that this could be the next big thing.
As expected, many ham it up, especially Pierce Brosnan as the wise centaur Chiron, and Uma Thurman in a brief yet memorable stint as Medusa. Also of note is Steve Coogan’s portrayal of Hades (aka The Devil) as a leather clad rocker.
All eyes, however, are sure to be on Lerman who convincingly pulls off playing both the over his head teen and the steel eyed hero. It is definitely a role which he will grow into with each passing picture, and much like this film, he is sure to improve with every chapter.