Monday, February 22, 2010

PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF - also not entirely unwatchable

Another movie that’s easy to deride is PERCY JACKSON AND THE LIGHTNING THIEF. The similarity of the source material and the fact that it shares the same director as the first two HARRY POTTER films have led many reviewers to call it “Harry Potter lite” or a Harry Potter rip-off. Certainly, you can see their argument. Percy Jackson is a boy who is “special” and that being “special” relates to his now absent father. His being special leads him to a special school where he will learn to use his secret powers, and to make two friends – a loyal but doltish boy and a much more clued-on girl. They will ultimately have to contend with another student who has conflicting loyalties, and to go on a quest for high stakes. They will be guided by a wise old teacher and their adventures will take place both in a magical realm and in our real world. The only difference is that Harry Potter is a wizard and Percy Jackson is the son of the Greek god Perseus, and is thus a demi-God. And rather than battling Voldemort, he is battling to restore to Zeus his bolt of lightning in order to prevent a war between Zeus and Hades. There are even similarities in the production design, largely because of the journeyman-like-quality of all Chris Columbus movies. He’s the go-to-guy if you want a movie to come in on time, on budget, to have some serviceable special effects and not do anything too crazy.

The resulting film is just fine. It’s not the sort of kids film that adults should go and see unless they are accompanying a small child, but I’m betting good money that any kid, bored in the school holidays, will have a good time watching this film.


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