Thursday, 21 August 2014

Film Review - The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief
Director(s): Chris Columbus
Genres: Mythology, Fantasy | Childrens, Young Adult
Duration: 118 minutes
Release Date: 12th Febuary 2010
IMDB Rating: 
Butterfly Rating: 
Trailer: See Here
It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's Mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.

This film is an adaptation of a novel.
Please bare in mind that during this review, there may be spoilers referring to scenes in the novel.

I had no intentions of reviewing The Lightning Thief originally, one, because I've watched it so many times, I was going to be difficult to see it in a critical way rather than enjoyable format, and two, because, I never intentions to read The Lightning Thief, however, things change and so do feelings, so here I am, having already read and reviewed the novel, ready to scrutinise and critic the film that has sole responsibility for the love of all things Greek and Mythological. Some of my previous love was lost when I watched the film after having read the novel, however, I do still prefer the film to it's literary counterpart.

Comparing the film to the novel is something nobody should do, no matter what people tell you. The novel is catered the children and younger readers, while the film is directed at a much more teenage audience, the age I was when I first watched it, around 15 and that is only one of the major difference you'll encounter in this film. The creatures they battle are different, the actual battle scenes themselves are much different and many scenes were excluded and extras included which in turn make this film almost nothing like the book, however, I feel that these differences actually make the film extremely strong in the film industry. Looking at it from a cinematic point of view, Chris Columbus created and developed many issues, many morals and made, in my opinion, extremely wise casting choices when making this film. He created a film that would nod towards the novel, but would also create a new platform in which to teach people, children and adults alike, about Mythology and the people and creatures from Olympus. As watchers, it's almost impossible to not learn the lessons the characters learn throughout this journey, but it's also almost impossible for someone with little knowledge on Greek Mythology to not leave the film having learnt a lot about the history, I know that for a fact, because that was exactly what happened to me. Yes, there are major differences in comparison, and yes, after reading the book, these major difference did affect my love for this film a little, but not enough for me to fall out of love with it.

Creating Percy, Annabeth, Grover and the other campers as teenagers in the film allows the older children to connect to the characters much better than some might have in the novel, and I for one am one of those people. I felt huge amounts of sympathy, sorrow and a sense of pride for Percy and this is only because of Logan Lerman who I think made a fantastic Percy in the film, and when you balance him with Annabeth's strong willed personality, skills and emotions and Grovers sarcasm and sense of humour, you've got yourself a fantastic trio. I think Brandon T. Jackson was a fantastic Grover; he brought a light heartedness to the film, cracking sense of humour and a personality and strength to the trio that wasn't there much in the novel, while Alexandra Daddario I feel wasn't that strong of a choice for Annabeth; her character become much weaker and a lot less powerful around Percy, her choices were made emotionally rather than logically and she became a lot shyer around Percy than she should of. yes, the romance angle was played extremely heavily in the film, but I actually enjoyed this, it gave the film something the novel didn't have, a romantic attachment.

Of course, the feature of romance wasn't the only type of love involved in this film; the love Percy has for his Mother and the need and want to save her was big in this film, everything she'd done to protect him, to keep him safe and the pain and suffering she'd put herself through, his connection and relationship with her made him willing to sacrifice everything for her and it's a very important feature to include, the sense of love in family and friendships, the sacrifice Grover made for Percy by staying the Underworld is also a highlight of this. I loved the connection all of the characters had with one another because it made every second of the film flow easier and stronger than others I'd watched before.

Unlike the novel, the plot developed, was quicker, more to the point and much more intriguing than it was in the book. Other minor plot points were highlighted during the novel, but the focus was on developing the characters, increasing their confidence, loyalty and faith in friendships and trusting the wrong people, and allowing the characters to grow into their histories, their talents and their skills. There wasn't a boring part of the film and neither was there a part of the plot that I didn't enjoy or feel could have been taken away. The traditional three locations for three items was used, but it wasn't boring, the naive nature of hoping the villain isn't as bad as there are was also there, but didn't ruin the magic or feel of the film and as a whole, I really enjoyed the world and how it was built, the special affects that were used varied in strength, but were well executed and well produced and the overall magical element within the entire duration was wonderful to watch.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief has everything I want in a film; characters you can connect to and enjoy watching, a fantastic choice of actors and actresses involved to play those characters to bring them to live, a steady pace of plot and development and a clear plot twists, romance included and no cliff-hanger ending. I would recommend the film and would especially recommend it to people who can have an open mind when it comes to film adaptations when plot points are the same and characters are well cast. If you can't see past differences and nit pick beyond believe, leave this film series well alone.


  1. Hehe, this is probably the first positive review I've ever seen for Percy Jackson's movie. ;) I didn't hate it...but I wasn't convinced either. It was wildly different from the book, but like you said, it's kind of unwise to EVER compare books vs.movies. I kind of think of movies as fanfic and it helps me not fret so much about the major changes. I get why they made the characters older! It worked better for me, buuuut Annabeth COULD'VE JUST HAD BLONDE HAIR. *breathes deeply* Still, it was funny. Grover had some awesome lines!

    1. I know! I feel so alone on this film. I've never considered looking at it like fanfic, that's a good idea! And yes, she couldn've, it wouldn't made a huge difference for me, but hey, can't please everyone! Grover is possibly the best characters in the series!

  2. I'm out of the loop on this one. Interesting that it hasn't been positively reviewed, according to Cait.

    1. It's definitely a film people aren't a huge fan of, but I really enjoyed it :)

  3. Are you going to watch the second film?

    1. I do hope to for sure. I meant to this month but just, all the things! I hope to this month though, good excuse while ill isn't it? Have you watched it? What did you think? :)

  4. I admit to seeing the movie before I ever read the book and I enjoyed it too. I thought it was a lot of fun and I loved the characters. Watching it if I was a huge fan of the books and series? Yeah, probably would hate it because it's extremely different. Even Rick Riordan doesn't like the movies. But, like you said, they use the material to make a good movie rather than a good adaptation. I do understand why fans of the books wouldn't enjoy them, with all the changes that are made. And I'd be one of those who get completely pissed off that they can't even get a characters hair colour right.

    1. Oh definitely, it's easy to see afterwards how the die-hard fans were insulted by the film, but I personally didn't mind as much, because it was a good film as a film, so I'm glad I'm not alone :)


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