|Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Tuesday, 06 July 2010|
The film showed promise in its premise initially, but ultimately it is a bit of a let down. Still, it fairs better than its predecessors, save Harry Potter. What has been lacking in fantasy films? Why, Greek mythology of course. "Percy Jackson" tries to fill that void. Greek mythology is a bit of hobby of mine and I can tell you that the film does a fairly good job at incorporating some Greek figures. Though there are also some misses, which will likely be missed by those that haven't brushed up on their Greek history.
"Percy Jackson" is based on a set of five novels by Rick Riordan. The film encompasses the first book, but unfortunately with the reception that this film got we are likely not going to see any more of this saga. So, if you like this film be sure to read all five books. The books are infinitely better than the movie. The film takes great liberties with some of the facts from the books, such as character age and development.
Percy Jackson is a 17 year-old high school that suffers from what he thinks is dyslexia. His mother (Catherine Keener) is keeping a secret from him that he neglects to really see or inquire about. Percy's best friend is his protector. It is no secret to anyone but Percy that he is the son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea. That makes Percy a demigod just like Hercules. He was born of the big three (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon). When the film opens Zeus' main lightning bolt is stolen. This causes more tension between brothers Zeus and Poseidon. Zeus believes that Percy has stolen the lightning bolt. Obviously, Percy doesn't even know who he is let alone even know about Zeus and lightning bolt.
Zeus demands that his lightning bolt be returned within 14 days or it will be cause for war. Poseidon is not allowed to make physical contact with his son so it is up to Percy's protectors to get him ready for battle. In a quick turn of events Percy is shown the way to the Half Blood (ahh hem, rip-off) camp. It is there that he encounters hundreds of demigods and his finally, well somewhat told of his heritage.
When Hades appears and demands Percy turn over the lightning bolt, he offers a trade; the lightning bolt for his mother. Naïve, Percy believes that if he goes to the underworld then he will be able to tell Hades the truth and that he will believe him and let them go. Right, like that is going to happen.
Joined by his protector Grover, and cute newcomer Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, Percy sets out to find some pearls and his way to the Underworld. Armed with a map he is supposed to locate three pearls that will allow the three of them to escape from the Underworld. Unfortunately, this is the premise that brings the film down. The setup of the film makes the audience want to see gods and magic and battles. Unfortunately, we sit for a couple hours watching these three young adults travel from city to city in search of something that they will use for a split second at the opportune time.
Percy's discovery of his heritage is shaky. However, the battle between him and Annabeth is fairly neat. The final "battle" so to speak is quick and rather painless. The return of the lightning bolt is a big letdown, making the film very anti-climatic.
Still, as a standalone film it is not half bad. It will certainly attract a young adult audience.
The film truly shines in the transfer. The video transfer is near perfect. The most impressive aspect of the transfer is the retention of the range of tones. No matter the segment, whether it is colorful or dark, there are a number of shades. This provides for great depth and realism. The colors are vibrant and cover a wide range. The forest is lush and green, the Underworld is dark and yet vibrantly orange, and Las Vegas is glittery and full of solid neon lights. Noise is never noticeable but is not completely absent, lending to a more filmic experience. Special effects blend nicely into the image. Clarity and details is superb. Whether it is an establishing shot or a close-up there is plenty to see. The technical video presentation is truly something to marvel at.
It is there is anything better than the video presentation, it is the audio. It is simply stunning. The film opens with some tremendous lightning and thunder power. The LFE channel is most certainly used aggressively throughout the film. What is even better is that the LFE channel is full and smooth. It spreads throughout the room evenly and with weight. Dialogue remains upfront and clear throughout the film. The rear channels are constantly engaged with discreet effects and ambience. This is an immersive and enveloping experience. Dynamic range will blow you out of the water, but not to the point where it is distracting. You will most certainly enjoy this audio presentation.
"Percy Jackson" comes in a three-disc set. The Blu-ray contains the film in 1080p as well as the special features. There are a dozen deleted scenes that give more weight to the film but are not all that important in the scheme of things. "Secrets of the Gods" provides brief highlighted bios of some of the gods in the film. "Inside Camp Half Blood" contains behind the scenes footage. "Discover Your Own Powers" is a quiz that links you to a Greek mythological being. "The Book Comes To Life" contains some interviews. "Meet The Demigods" contains more interviews. "On Set With Brandon T. Jackson" is an actor-cam piece. "Composing For The Gods: A Conversation With Christophe Beck" is an audio interview with the composer for the film. The disc also contains a theatrical trailer and BD-Live functionality.
The second disc is a DVD Copy. The third disc is a Digital Copy.
"Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" will likely please the targeted demographic, but it is not going to spawn a series of these films. That is too bad since Greek mythology is a terrific topic for filmmaking. Look at the success that "Hercules" and "Xena" had. However, if you are even slightly tempted by the film then it is a must and the technical presentation will blow you out of the water.