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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ a striking movie

    Chris Columbus

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians

    Fox 2000 Pictures

    Released Feb. 12, 2010

    Grade: B-


    We’re suckers for teenagers with magical powers. Give us more quests, more wizards and more dragon riders. Throw in some ripped werewolves and sparkling vampires and we’ve got a party. The good ol’ plot about a normal kid who is suddenly submerged into a fantasy world has taken the literary and cinema spheres by storm.

    “”Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”” follows the same vein. The movie opens with Zeus accusing Poseidon’s son of stealing the powerful master’s lightning bolt. Meanwhile, on Earth, Percy (Logan Lerman) is a typical high schooler who doesn’t know who his father is, but learns something’s a wee bit off when his substitute teacher explodes into a leathery-winged bat monster. His mother and his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) try to whisk him away to a camp called Half-Blood Hill, but his mom is taken by a Minotaur. Tragic.

    Once Percy arrives at the camp, audiences learn that his dad is none other than the sea god Poseidon. Between learning about his demigod status and engaging in the most epic game of capture the flag ever invented, Percy learns of a conspiracy to frame him as the lightning thief. To rescue his mother, Percy must travel to the underworld, but only after gathering three glowing pearls that will guarantee a safe return from Hades’ domain. Joining the Olympic team is Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena and Percy’s love interest, and Grover, who turns out to be a fuzzy-legged satyr.

    It’s appropriate that Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films, returns with another adolescent hero movie. He is pretty successful with a remarkably powerful supporting cast, beginning with Sean Bean as Zeus, returning to fantasy after his stint in “”Lord of the Rings”” as Boromir. Anyone would sneak a peek at Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Medusa, while Rosario Dawson plays Persephone, a sexy mistress of the underworld. And who knew James Bond’s Pierce Brosnan would look awesome with horse legs? We’ll likely be seeing much more of Jackson, who supplied the film’s comic relief as Grover.

    The comuter-generated images are incredible. From hydras that sprout fire-breathing heads to a fiery, hellish underworld that could have been easily torn out of Dante’s “”Inferno,”” the monsters and images are anything but childlike.

    But the main characters’ acting isn’t always up to par. Lerman barely questions his unceremonious induction into the fabled world, and doesn’t appear too torn up by his mother’s kidnapping. When facing demons, he’s more apt to shout “”whoa”” than bust out his sword and kick some evil butt. Daddario’s performance as Annabeth is all over the emotional radar — now she hates Percy, now she loves him. It’s unfair to blame it all on the acting though, as the writing borders on cliché and trite pretty often.

    Remember, it is a PG movie. So yeah, there will be some cheesy writing and bad acting at times. Expect heavy-handed foreshadowing and awkward sexual tension. But also expect to laugh at the wisecracking Grover and to be impressed with the cinematography. All in all, “”Percy Jackson and the Olympians”” is entertaining enough to head to a theater, grab some popcorn and enjoy.

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