February 17, 2010

The Half Blood Percy


I went to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief because of the supporting cast (Sean Bean as Zeus and Uma Thurman as Medusa...how can one pass that up?) and because I loves me my Greek mythology! Our friend Liza's son has read all the books in the Rick Riordan series and loves them. It's Harry Potter meets Clash of the Titans.

Highschool student Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) finds out the hard way that he is the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). Grover (Brendan T. Jackson) is his best friend/Ron Weasley equivalent, the sardonic sidekick. The pair later meets Annabeth (Alexandria Daddario), a spirited but probably not as smart version of Hermione at---I kid you not--- Camp Half-Blood. It's like summer camp, except everyone's in Xena or Hercules mode and garb.

Percy is falsely accused of stealing Zeus's thunderbolt, so our trio embark on a cross-country and cross-dimension quest to clear his name and save his mother Sally (Catherine Keener). They are aided by...you guessed it...a mystical map. I knew who the thief was even before they left camp.

Ms. Thurman gives a campy performance as the snake-haired villain. Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) is the movie's Dumbledore. Steve Coogan is a goofy and not-terrifying Hades to Rosario Dawson's lustful Persephone. Joe Pantoliano plays Percy's stepfather, the unsubtly named Gabe Ugliano. The explanation for his presence in the Jacksons' lives made me chuckle. Other than Melina Karekanedes's Athena, it seems like the actors were either too earnest or hamming it up.

I can see why stories like these are so popular. The kids have abandonment issues. The adults are always messing things up, and the children are left to fix everything. The movie even puts a unique spin on dyslexia and ADHD. The idea that the Greek gods and their offsprings are still around is also tantalizing, especially when it explains single parenthood. If books like these make the young 'uns interested in mythology, then all is right with the world.

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