I had no expectation whatsoever upon watching this movie. I didn’t know what it was all about. So why did I bother in the first place? Simple. My sister was about to watch it, and I, having nothing else better to do that day, decided to jump onto bed and joined her.
My expectation hiked upon seeing that the director was Chris Columbus. Recognized him as the director of the first two installments of Harry Potter movie series – and I have to admit I liked those two movies; the rest? Not so much.
As the opening minutes past by, I got a sense that it might be something related to the Greek Mythology. Well, the first word spoken was, “Zeus.” I didn’t know much about Greek Mythology, but I sure know that Zeus is the King of Greek Gods and Goddesses.
So, Zeus and Poseidon are discussing stormy yet thunderless weather. The culprit? Zeus’ lightning bolt was stolen, and he points at Poseidon’s son as the perpetrator. (How the heck his prized possession got stolen in the first place anyway?) Gods and Goddesses are forbidden to steal one another’s powers, but their offsprings (referred to as ‘demigods’) aren’t. Poseidon argues that he didn’t even manage to be with his son, thus he assumes that the son knows nothing. (Well, he is true). But Zeus won’t budge. If by fourteen days(?) the bolt isn’t returned, then there’ll be war. (An easy reason to start a war, huh?)
Cut to a high school boy sitting in the bottom of the pool for minutes without letting a bubble escapes his nostril. Doesn’t he breathe? The record is set: seven minutes under water. He sure is something. He admits that he likes water. Well, he is Percy Jackon (Logan Lerman), our main hero, son of Poseidon, The God of the Sea. But he isn’t aware of that…
…until a monster disguised as a human corners him, demands the bolt back, and nearly tears him into pieces. He is saved by his teacher and buddy, Grover, who then agree that Percy is no longer save, thus rush him to the place where people like him live and are trained. On the way to the Camp Half-Blood, they are attacked by a minotaur. Both Percy and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) manage to pass through the camp’s gate, but Percy’s mother, being a human, cannot. And she perishes in the minotaur’s hand.
Percy then learns about his true identity; that Grover is a satyr, a half-goat creature (which reminds me a lot of Narnia’s Mr. Tumnus) who is a junior protector; that his teacher is actually a centaur named Chiron (we cannot leave a centaur behind, can we?); and that there are a lot of youngsters like him inside the camp. It’s more of a flock of abandoned kids since they’ve never met their biological parents. What irresponsible parents Greek Gods/Goddesses are.
Chiron advised Percy to go to Mount Olympus and convince Zeus of his innocence (like Zeus would easily to trust that), but before that, of course he needs to be trained. He then meets Luke (Jake Abel), son of Hermes, and locks his gaze on Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario, who resembles Selena Gomez), daughter of Athena. Percy seems fragile and clumsy, yet upon contact with water, he inexplicably regains power and strength.
One day, the camp is wrecked havoc by the apparition of Hades who informs Percy that his mother is still alive. If he wants to save her, present Hades the bolt in the underworld. Full of youth spirit and raging emotions, he decides to skip his training and goes to hell, literally, to rescue his mother.
As expected, he is stopped by Grover and Annabeth, who instead offer to accompany him. Percy the amateur surely needs Grover the protector and Annabeth the smart-and-expert. They then form a trio and find Luke for assistance, hearing that he visited hell before. So yeah, he equips them with information, a shield, a pair of winged sneakers, and a map: find the three pearls and the gate to hell will open itself.
The trio travel from one place to another, collecting the green pearls, until they manage to enter the underworld. Come face to face with Hades, Percy tries to convince him of his innocence (he doesn’t have the bolt as he is no thief, thus please release his mother). Funny, huh? Angry Hades knocks Percy down and finds the bolt hidden inside the shield. He manages to retrieve the bolt back through too-easy-to-be-true method and transports to Mount Olympus to hand the bolt back to Zeus.
There he is confronted with his last enemy, Luke, who is the real lightning thief. He purposely hid the bolt and used them to indirectly send the bolt to Hades – he thinks Zeus has been reigning for far too long; it’s time for regeneration. They are contending to gain possession of the bolt while time is nearing the deadline – Gods are preparing for battle.
Will Percy make it in time to stop the war, or will there be a revolution in the Greek Mythology’s line of power?
At first, I was fascinated by the idea of putting a twist into the ancient Greek Mythology. That Gods and Goddesses descend into the world and produce specially talented half-bloods. The idea itself open countless doors for interesting original stories, and it may even be a history lesson delivered in an amusing way. Sadly, it ends just being like… that.
Once it moves into cliché adventurous journey, it started to bore me. So what if so-and-so is the son/daughter of so-and-so God/Goddess? It has no significance anymore. The quest for three pearls is just a way to prolong the trio’s journey before heading to the underworld. And while the main point of the story is to find out who the lightning thief is and restore peace in heaven-earth-and-hell, Percy makes no slightest effort (or pays the tiniest care) for it.
Fortunately for him, the adventure is made oh-so-easy, with enemies falling down with the softest prod. The bolt is even spotted without being sought after. It’s down to the point of being brainless – as far as I can recall, the trio aren’t even scratched throughout the supposedly dangerous journey.
Furthermore, the first and possibly final meeting between father and son is so far from being affectionate. Come on~ It’s the parent you’ve never got the chance to see, Percy! The interaction is so cold it’s disheartening.
At the end, The Lightning Thief is your usual adventure-fantasy-styled teen movie with mediocre plot and rather weak acting. Watch it if you don’t bother about storyline* and are just in for the fun, few funny moments, and quite good visual effects.
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Teens
*) Check a movie critic who also thinks that the story is a bonker =)