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Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief


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The teaser trailer.

We don't seem to have any prior existing threads on this film, but I've mentioned it at my blog a few times. It concerns a boy who discovers that his father is the Greek god Poseidon, played here by Kevin McKidd (star of Rome, etc.). As for the other mythical figures, Sean Bean is playing Zeus, Pierce Brosnan is playing Chiron, Steve Coogan is playing Hades, Rosario Dawson is playing his wife Persephone, Uma Thurman is playing Medusa, and Melina Kanakerides is playing Athena.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The teaser trailer.

We don't seem to have any prior existing threads on this film, but I've mentioned it at my blog a few times. It concerns a boy who discovers that his father is the Greek god Poseidon, played here by Kevin McKidd (star of Rome, etc.). As for the other mythical figures, Sean Bean is playing Zeus, Pierce Brosnan is playing Chiron, Steve Coogan is playing Hades, Rosario Dawson is playing his wife Persephone, Uma Thurman is playing Medusa, and Melina Kanakerides is playing Athena.

My daughter and I are big fans of the Percy Jackson series. We have read all the books and have been to a couple of the book releases in Austin. We have met the author, Rick Riordan, who lives in San Antonio, and gotten his autographs at the book release party.

The casting seems a bit wonky, a twenty-something Alexandra Daddario cast as Annabeth??, but we are still looking forward to the movies.

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  • 2 months later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 months later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 months later...

Rachel Abramowitz @ Los Angeles Times:

To the devoted fans of the "Percy Jackson" books, the bestselling series is largely defined by the fact that it is a 12-year-old peer at the center of the sword-swinging adventure -- so how will they feel by the decision to "age up" the title character in the Hollywood adaptation that arrives in theaters on Friday?

Logan Lerman, 18, is the star of "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," and don't think that a lot of a thought didn't go into the decision to pick an actor in the shaving-cream consumer demographic. Director Chris Columbus, who has a lot of experience with child actors after directing the first two "Harry Potter" films and the first two "Home Alone" movies, said the choice was made so the film could match the action on the pages of the series by author Rick Riordan.

"For me, it was a matter of reality, and some of the intensity of some of the scenes in the book. I was really thinking how they would play out in visual terms." Columbus said. "I felt we would just add a little more weight to the entire cast, by casting Percy up a little bit."

It's one thing to
read
about a 12-year-old battling mythological creatures and another to actually
see
it, Columbus suggested. For instance: Percy hits Las Vegas for an nightclub sequence that might not sit well with moviegoers if the hero was more Nickelodeon in age than MTV.

Hmmm. Reminds me of the controversy over The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, which turned the main character from an 11-year-old to a 14-year-old.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Oh brudda:

He may not be as popular as his predecessor with the pundits at the Fox News Channel, but President Obama is apparently a demi-god to the folks at Twentieth Century Fox (both are units of The News Corp., as is The Post). In "Percy Jackson & Olympians: The Lightning Thief,'' opening tomorrow, a satyr played by Brandon T. Jackson tells the title character that the world is full of demi-gods like Percy -- that is, the offspring of Greek Gods and mortals. "Some of them are very famous,'' he adds, "like White House famous.'' Obama's name is never mentioned, but somehow we don't think the satyr is talking about Rahm Emanuel.

So either Obama's black father was cuckolded by one of the gods, or Obama gets his demi-divinity from his white mother. Either way, this doesn't sound like progress.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Overheard among Seattle film critics just before The Wolf Man screening:

"Those three hours went on forever."

"But I thought it was two hours?"

"Exactly."

And...

"It was unbelievably boring."

And...

"It's like... now everyone will remember why we were so glad when Chris Columbus was taken off the Harry Potter franchise."

And my favorite:

"It has all the nuance of a Doritos commercial."

I didn't see the film. I'm just sayin...

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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CT Movies: "If the Harry Potter movies are a rich and nutritious feast, this mythological romp is more like mac & cheese—tasty and fun, but lacking in much substance."

Well, they did say "If".

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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John Nolte @ Big Hollywood talks to the movie's screenwriter Craig Titley about that "White House" line:

CT: . . . The line you are referring to — which was actually an ad-libbed line so I can’t tell you the intention behind it — is when Grover (Brandon Jackson) is explaining to Percy (Logan Lerman) that since the gods first appeared to man they have been having, um, close encounters of the sexual kind with mortals. Their offspring are everywhere. Could be people you pass on the streets. Could be professional athletes, could be Craig Titley or John Nolte (the likelier case). Grover says something along the lines that you’d be surprised where they turn up, even the White House. Now to me that wasn’t a reference to Obama. It just meant that demigods turn up in powerful places. It could be Obama. It could also be Reagan. Or Lincoln. Or JFK. Or Washington. Or Jimmy Carter…well, maybe not Carter. Is there a God of Ugly Sweaters?

BH: So as the sole screenwriter, you’re sitting in your first screening of the film and this line pops up that you didn’t write. What did you think?

CT: I was thinking “that’s new.” Nothing more. Actually I don’t know for sure that it was ad-libbed. It could have been something written on set by Chris (Columbus, the director). I wasn’t there that day. But I know that Brandon is a very, very funny and spontaneous actor. He reminds me of Eddie Murphy in his prime, so many of his lines were ad-libbed. I don’t want to say which ones because they are pretty damn funny and I want people to think I wrote them all
;)

BH: Any idea what the actor was thinking?

CT: I have no idea. But for me the point is: demigods are in places you might not expect to find them. Even in the halls of power. I think it’s an apolitical line that, like a inkblot test, you can bring whatever or whomever you want to it. You want to think it’s a reference to Obama, fine. You want to think it’s a reference to another president, fine. That being said, let’s say for the sake of argument that it was intended as a reference to our current president. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a compliment or an endorsement. His “God” father could have been Narcissus! Or Hermes the Trickster, the shape-shifting God of Lies! See what I mean about it being an “inkblot” line? The line is all things for all people.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Kevin McKidd says the producers want this film to be the start of a "trilogy". But, um, aren't there FIVE books in the series?

Oh, and FWIW, this film is estimated to have grossed $31.1 million this weekend, which would mean it has virtually tied 1992's Home Alone 2: Lost in New York for the best opening weekend of any Chris Columbus movie that didn't have the words "Harry" and "Potter" in the title. (But I bet tickets were a heck of a lot cheaper 18 years ago...)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Kevin McKidd says the producers want this film to be the start of a "trilogy". But, um, aren't there FIVE books in the series?

According to my daughters, the filmmakers didn't seem to have any desire to stick to the book at all. Even the title character the lightning thief was a different character in the movie than in the book.

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I saw this last night, and I am quite willing to believe that everything that was most annoying about the film is probably not to be found in the book. At least, I hope that's the case, for the book's sake.

But I do want to ask one question: Why on earth would anyone think Percy Jackson had stolen the lightning bolt? It's made pretty clear, right from the get-go, that Percy Jackson has NO IDEA who his real father is, or that he has any connection to the ancient Greek gods. NO IDEA whatsoever. It is even clarified, repeatedly in the film, that one of the REASONS why Percy Jackson and the other demi-gods have never seen their divine parents is because Zeus decreed that none of the gods should make contact with their offspring. So... if someone was going to steal Zeus's lightning bolt, why on Earth would they frame one of the demi-gods? Why would anyone believe that the demi-gods were responsible? And especially a demi-god as obviously clueless about his true nature as Percy Jackson?

Like, seriously, if I'm supposed to believe that this ENTIRE story is set in motion by the fact that Percy Jackson has been falsely accused of something, I would like to have SOME sense that there is a REASON why any of the gods might fall for this accusation. Any reason whatsoever.

There's no point in even discussing the movie's other flaws, narrative and otherwise, when there's this big fat gaping hole in its logic driving the whole thing.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 10 months later...

I saw this last night, and I am quite willing to believe that everything that was most annoying about the film is probably not to be found in the book. At least, I hope that's the case, for the book's sake.

But I do want to ask one question: Why on earth would anyone think Percy Jackson had stolen the lightning bolt? It's made pretty clear, right from the get-go, that Percy Jackson has NO IDEA who his real father is, or that he has any connection to the ancient Greek gods. NO IDEA whatsoever. It is even clarified, repeatedly in the film, that one of the REASONS why Percy Jackson and the other demi-gods have never seen their divine parents is because Zeus decreed that none of the gods should make contact with their offspring. So... if someone was going to steal Zeus's lightning bolt, why on Earth would they frame one of the demi-gods? Why would anyone believe that the demi-gods were responsible? And especially a demi-god as obviously clueless about his true nature as Percy Jackson?

Like, seriously, if I'm supposed to believe that this ENTIRE story is set in motion by the fact that Percy Jackson has been falsely accused of something, I would like to have SOME sense that there is a REASON why any of the gods might fall for this accusation. Any reason whatsoever.

There's no point in even discussing the movie's other flaws, narrative and otherwise, when there's this big fat gaping hole in its logic driving the whole thing.

Having just watched the film (almost a year later), I can't help but agree. I found it a fun ride, and the Medusa scene beats the one in the remake of Clash of the Titans, but the logic of the whole premise that sends Percy on his quest is fatally flawed. And they don't even bother to explain, in the end, how

Luke

managed to steal the lightning in the first place.

Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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  • 7 years later...

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