“Percy Jackson” - The pen is mightier than the wand

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 2:07pm
By: Kevin Thomas


If you’re wondering about the strange headline for this review, the reason for it is Chris Columbus directed the first two Harry Potter films. Since I was only 6 when I saw “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” I didn’t know how to compare two films based on who directed them. I’m happy to say I can now compare films based on the director. “Percy Jackson,” in my opinion, is better than the first and second Harry Potter films for a couple of reasons. The characters felt like people you could run in to on the street and I didn’t have to read the book to understand the plot.

The story is simple. Percy Jackson is a teenager with dyslexia and ADHD who goes to a special school. His best friend, Grover, who uses crutches, makes things easier for him at school. Unfortunately, at home Percy must deal with a horrible drunk stepfather and a mother who for some reason won’t kick him out. When Percy goes on a class field trip, he is attacked by a creature who thinks he has stolen Zeus’s lightning bolt. Percy’s teacher Mr. Brunner stops the attack, and Percy discovers that he is the son of Poseidon, God of the Seas, and that Grover and Brunner are there to protect him from evil forces. Brandon T. Jackson as Grover was the comic relief in the movie and had some great lines.

As this fun piece of cinematic art continues, Percy meets Luke; son of Hermes, and Annabeth; daughter of Athena, goddess of battle strategy. Newcomers Jake Abel and Alexandra Daddario are very convincing as young demigods. Hades, played by Steve Coogan (“Around the World in 80 Days”), shows up and kidnaps Percy’s mother. Despite the small part he is given, Coogan gives us a totally original interpretation of the devil. In their quest to rescue Percy’s mother, the three youngsters meet several other adversaries including Medusa (Uma Thurman,) who turns people to stone. (It would be hard for her to be in a relationship with anyone.)

As you can tell by the very rare four star rating I gave this film, “Percy Jackson” was quite amazing. The actors are superb at their roles and the two hour run time goes by very quickly, as every scene is action-packed. If you’re wondering if you’ve seen the actor who plays Percy before, you probably have in “Hoot.” I also found that Rosario Dawson as Persephone was quite attractive.

Even though the film is generally good for the whole family, there are some scenes in it that may scare the younger ones. I was briefly taken aback by Medusa when she revealed her snake hair. She may be the scariest thing in the film. Hades in his demon-like form (the body of a dragon with red eyes) may also creep some kids out. Also, some kids might not understand Percy’s disabilities (ADHD and Dyslexia), so they may need to be explained.

Like Harry Potter, I had not read the book before seeing the film, but I liked the movie very much. If you have seen some bad reviews for this movie, don’t believe them. I think they are full of nothing but a bunch of bologna. After seeing Jackie Chan’s giant flop, “The Spy Next Door,” I had the idea that an action movie had to be rated PG-13 or above to be good. However, after seeing “Percy Jackson,” that idea was totally terminated. Action movies can be PG and still be awesome.

Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.

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