Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief. B

The new Percy Jackson movie has drawn many unfair comparisons to the world of Harry Potter when in my mind the stories are hardly alike. Sure, Percy goes to a special school and learns that he has special powers, but these two comparisons can easily be refuted. First, that Percy ends up at a "school for the gifted" is hardly the focal point of the movie. He's there at the beginning, but he's gone on his adventure within fifteen or twenty minutes of the opening credits. And that he has special powers is not directly from Harry Potter, but a tool that has been used countless times with young fictional boys and girls over the past century. As for the movie itself, I found it engaging and quite clever in its use of American terrain and Greek myth. I thought it was cool how it used Greek mythology in the present world and became sort of a modern day Clash of the Titans. My sister, who likes the books, has learned more about Greek mythology from Rick Riordan's series than any of her mind-numbing school books. Riordan, who's adult oriented Rebel Island made for a diverting read, can be applauded for putting a fun spin on stuff kids these days might be too bored to linger over. The movie captures the same spirit and appreciation of Greek mythology while never failing to entertain its audience. The film isn't as richly textured or as intelligent as the Potter franchise, but for a film adapted from a popular kids series, it's a hell of a lot better than the stuff that's been put out in recent years (it looks like a masterpiece next to The Spiderwick Chronicles). My biggest issue might actually be the title, which alters slightly from the book because it combines different elements from different volumes in the series. Lesson learned. Overly long titles do not look or sound good.

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