Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief


6/10 - Entertaining but not gripping enough

As the Harry Potter series is coming to its conclusion with the last installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hollywood seems to have found another teen, next door hero in Percy Jackson. But the question is, can Percy Jackson recreate the magic of Harry Potter? According to me, definitely not.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is the first in a series of five novel written by Rick Riordan. The movie is directed by Chris Columbus, who had previously directed Harry Potter I & II and Home Alone I & II. It is about a teenager Percy who, one fine day, finds out that he is a demi-god (his father is Poseidon, the God of ocean and his mother a mortal) and has powers to make him a brave warrior like Hercules or Achilles. He has been accused by the other Gods of having stolen the thunderbolt of Zeus. This causes an almost war like situation between Poseidon and Zeus, and the world is at stake in the war of the Gods. Unless Percy finds out the lightning thief and returns the thunderbolt to Zeus before the next full moon, the world as we know will come to and end. The rest of the movie is about how Percy and his friends find out the lightning thief and save the world from disaster.

Percy and Annabeth

From entertainment point of view, the movie is good and generally liked by school kids. But  this is just another fantasy fiction series and offers nothing original or imaginative. The whole series is based on Greek mythology and the novelty factor that was associated with Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series is missing here. The characters are not interesting enough to generate a cult following, which is so essential to make such a series hit. Some of the scenes and dialogues are just plain cliches. Even though it is the same person who has directed both the movies, the skeleton of the story, i.e. Rick Riordan’s Percy, is not as engrossing as J. K. Rowling’s Potter. Rowling’s imagination also far exceeds that of Riordan’s.

Columbus, in a recent interview, said that it’s unfair to compare Percy with Potter. But the fact of the matter is, there are a lot of similarities in the two series and one can’t help but compare. One of the key ingredients missing here (and present in loads in the Potter series) is the powerful emotional experience in the story. Unless you sympathize with the lead characters and their causes, unless you laugh and cry with them, you can’t really love them.

Percy, Annabeth and Grover

Having said that it cannot be denied that Percy Jackson is gaining some amount of popularity amongst kids. According to a recent Hindustan Times news report, “The series has spent more 125 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has already sold more than 50,000 copies in India. The Lightning Thief has been a bestseller for weeks in leading Indian stores too.”

Mount Olumpus, as viewed from the Empire State Building!!

The actors in the movie have done justice to their roles. Like Potter series, here also there is a trio comprising two boys (Percy, played by Logan Lerman and Grover) and a girl (Annabeth). The script is tight, in fact its too fast. There is not enough buildup to the adventure. There are a few funny moments here and there.

On the whole it is an average movie and unless the next in the series Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters does something extraordinary, won’t have a huge fan following.

Coming Up Next:

Review of Karthik Calling Karthik: Will Farhan Akhtar continue his success with this one?

Watch out for it in the coming weekend.

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5 Comments to “Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief”

  1. Hello – I must say, I’m impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and information was very easy to access. I found what I wanted in no time at all. Pretty awesome. Would appreciate it if you add forums or something, it would be a perfect way for your clients to interact. Great job

  2. It does seem that everybody is into this kind of stuff lately. Don’t really understand it though, but thanks for trying to explain it. Appreciate you shedding light into this matter. Keep it up

    • You know what Julian, the commercial movie industry everywhere, looks out for success formulas. Hollywood found one in Harry Potter, and thats why others want to cash in on it. But the point they miss is Harry Potter became successful because of a completely different reason. Soon I will write a full post on why Potter series became so successful.

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