This is a case of a purist nightmare. However, even if I hadn’t considered the original material, the film is still a flat, uninteresting, shallow, inconsistent, with a huge disappointment on the post-production. The huge potential of the Greek mythology that *supposedly* surrounds the tale was reduced into a merely backdrop in the passing for a leeway to a methodical teen-centered adventure slash romance. I, honestly, didn’t see any potential franchise in it. On the other hand, if I had considered the original material, it’s a total disaster. Thus, my term, a purist nightmare. This review, unless mentioned, deals with the film with a complete disregard on the book.
Percy Jackson (doesn’t care about who is the actor behind) is the son of the Greek god Poseidon. He was accused by Zeus of stealing his lightning bolt, and he put a deadline for Percy (who didn’t aware of the true nature of his origin) to deliver the bolt by midnight at Summer’s solstice. This accusation attracts monsters from the greek mythology to try to obtain the bolt for their own benefits. Now, it is up to Percy to clear his name and probably deliver the bolt to Zeus in order to prevent an all out war between the Gods and oh, picking up mommy from the clutch of Hades while he’s at it.
Arguably, the elements on this film are in the similar vein with Harry Potter. And because Chris Columbus also directed the first two Harry Potter’s films, it’s kinda natural to made a reference to it. Percy was troubled at home, and although he’s still got his mom on his side (whereas Harry doesn’t have anyone on his), he complains that it was miserable. I’m not convinced though. And then the revelation as Percy learned his true nature and went to a place where pure human cannot enter. And then the made-up quest with a motivation that felt far less than it should’ve been to make it at least believable. My overall verdict on Percy’s character that he is this good looking boy, with a short attention span and emotional spectrum that put whatever he was doing or whatever he was saying is as exciting as hearing the welcoming machine girl voice whenever you tried to call your cell’s customer service. Skip. Skip. Skip. I mean, come on, you just went through an emotional coaster ride in one night and the best you could do to express your feeling is by mooning over a complete stranger, big breasted, red head girl who happens to be Athena’s daughter? Yeah, whatever.
The quest itself, while most would find it entertaining (I heard a couple of laughter, gasp on occasions, which is a good thing if you count yourself among the masses), from the get go I was indifferent and the road was ever downhill from there on. When Percy decides to started his quests, his designated “best-friend” immediately went up his alley. Sure, he was best friend and all, but I’d say you need a far stronger reason to risk your life and went confronting the God of Underworld himself. In the book, his reason was far far more plausible and it’s not *just* because he was a best-friend. But, okay, it was passable, I’d let it slide. However, his designated “girl-friend” is an another matter entirely. She was tagging along right away, breaking the rules, even if she just kinda met this handsome (not) kid a few hours earlier. Now, no matter how hard I tried, I just can’t let this slipped away into the “passable” territory. I found it utterly ridiculous. Now, in the book, she has far more noble reasons, ones that involves the Oracle (completely left out from the film) and *not* because she just “want to went outside” as in the film. These two companions of his are completely useless, anyway. They were there merely to cheer and to utter a few lines to whatever heroic things that Percy were doing.
This passage made a reference to the book. It should be noted that the main title of this film as seen in the opening credit was “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.” The original title for the book was “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The book was rich with Greek mythology references. I was excited when I read the book for I had an enough curiosity to the myth. Therefore, I went into the film with a higher hope than I should’ve. However, like I’ve said earlier, the film was almost bare with the myth references. From the half-blood hill, the Olympus, and the quest itself, it was nothing if compared to the book. It was a huge huge disappointment for me and I’d bet that everyone who had read the book will have the similar feeling. Now, you could argue that the book *always* triumph over film. That’s true. Alas, at the very least, you’d have a courtesy to set it properly. From my point of view, too much elements from the book were left out. Worse, there’s this one thing (regarding the fate of God’s children) that was told in a totally opposite way than it was in the book and this one thing, in my opinion, is one of the fiercest element in the saga. To opt it out is, well, shown that whoever green lighted this project desired a much much safer road (read: a freckled teen-friendly romance with a bit of adventure).
All in all, this film is just an excuse for Percy, to moon over Annabeth (the daughter of Athena) in the form of a quest. Terrible cardboard acting, mediocre set, not-so-exciting cgi, and what a waste of talents by Uma Thurman and Rosario Dawson. In one scene, Rosario Dawson rolled her eyes which is exactly what I felt about this film in its entirety. It was absolutely teen-oriented film. If you enjoyed this film, then I had to say that either you’re a teen (or thinks that you’re a teen) or you had a very very bad taste. In both case, you need to stay away from me.
My rating: 1/2 / **** The film will have an audience. I have no doubt about it. But I just don’t like it. Worse, I’ve read the book. If you’re looking for a quick fix of a Greek mythology, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Spoiler Alert. In the film, the quest (as far as Percy is concerned) was originally to save Percy’s mother from Hades. However, midway in the film, the adventurer were suddenly worried about the Zeus’ deadline on bringing his lightning bolt back. As far as I know, no mention on the lightning bolt being stolen by Hades nor any suspicion was directed unto him. If I hadn’t known better, *all* of the characters unanimously agreed that Hades stole the lightning bolt even if there are *no* evidences presented that suggest the possibility. That was an ultra, gargantuan, huge plot hole for me. Fail on every account.