CATEGORIES Reviews
Based on Rick Riordan's 2005 best-selling children's novel, Chris Columbus's 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief' follows the daily struggles of Percy Jackson, a dyslexic teenage boy who loves holding his breath under water for long periods of time.

Percy soon discovers, though, that his world may not be what it seemed; he might actually be the son of Poseidon, the mythic Greek god of the seas. When he is accused of stealing Zeus's iconic lightning bolt, Percy sets out on an 'Odyssey'-like adventure to expose the real thief and retrieve his emotionally wrecked mother (who suspiciously vanished) from Hades.

Playing Percy is Logan Lerman, who you might recognize from the acclaimed, short-lived TV series 'Jack & Bobby'; the always reliable, Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener stars as his mother. Uma Thurman also pops up as a playfully wicked Medusa, while Pierce Brosnan has a noteworthy role as the paraplegic Mr. Brunner, Percy's teacher who is really half-man, half-horse.

Clearly marketed to the 'Harry Potter' crowd, 'The Lightning Thief' hopes to make bank this weekend sandwiched between more adult-fare like 'Valentine's Day' and 'The Wolfman.' Surprisingly, the critics have mostly been kind to this adventure-fantasy film, with mixed-to-positive reviews; but all agree that Percy Jackson is no Potter. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune even points out that director Columbus might be off his game since his 'Potter' days: "Columbus' casting instincts have let him down here a bit (he certainly got that right with the 'Harry Potter' films)."

Take a look at what the rest of the critics have to say: Based on Rick Riordan's 2005 best-selling children's novel, Chris Columbus's 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief' follows the daily struggles of Percy Jackson, a dyslexic teenage boy who loves holding his breath under water for long periods of time.

Percy soon discovers, though, that his world may not be what it seemed; he might actually be the son of Poseidon, the mythic Greek god of the seas. When he is accused of stealing Zeus's iconic lightning bolt, Percy sets out on an 'Odyssey'-like adventure to expose the real thief and retrieve his emotionally wrecked mother (who suspiciously vanished) from Hades.

Playing Percy is Logan Lerman, who you might recognize from the acclaimed, short-lived TV series 'Jack & Bobby'; the always reliable, Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener stars as his mother. Uma Thurman also pops up as a playfully wicked Medusa, while Pierce Brosnan has a noteworthy role as the paraplegic Mr. Brunner, Percy's teacher who is really half-man, half-horse.

Clearly marketed to the 'Harry Potter' crowd, 'The Lightning Thief' hopes to make bank this weekend sandwiched between more adult-fare like 'Valentine's Day' and 'The Wolfman.' Surprisingly, the critics have mostly been kind to this adventure-fantasy film, with mixed-to-positive reviews; but all agree that Percy Jackson is no Potter. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune even points out that director Columbus might be off his game since his 'Potter' days: "Columbus' casting instincts have let him down here a bit (he certainly got that right with the 'Harry Potter' films)."

Take a look at what the rest of the critics have to say:

Roger Ebert: "Director Chris Columbus has fun with this goofy premise, but as always I am distracted by the practical aspects of the story. Does it bother the Greek gods that no one any longer knows or cares that they rule the world? What are the genetic implications of human/god interbreeding? And, forgive me, I'll have to double back to Sally Jackson, Percy's mother. How did she meet Poseidon? At the beach, I suppose. Did he reveal his true identity? If a guy picks you up at the beach and says he's Poseidon, do you say, fine, let's not date, let's just mate? Then when the bastard dumps you and disappears, leaving you pregnant, what way is that for a god to behave?"

Chicago Tribune
: "Now Columbus has taken on 'The Lightning Thief,' a fantasy construct in which Greek gods threaten war in modern-day America over Zeus' missing lightning bolt. The books are very big in our house right now: My son (who enjoyed the film more than I did) just started No. 3. I can see why Riordan's series has so many fans. The first book is pace-y as all get-out, chockablock with exotic dangers -- if it's not Medusa, it's the Lord of the Underworld or the Furies -- and in 'The Lightning Thief,' the young hero, Percy, played in the film by Logan Lerman, must confront his true nature as a half-blood son of the sea god Poseidon."

The Hollywood Reporter: "So has 'Percy Jackson' successfully cracked the 'Potter' code? In terms of overall quality, not even close. Still, the film's carefully calibrated mixture of CGI-enhanced spectacle, diverting (and blood-free) action sequences and adolescent angst could make it a modest hit with the 8-12-year-old set. Where Harry's exploits attract audiences of all ages, though, Percy's appeal seems strictly limited to the family moviegoing crowd; anyone outside of that demo is better off waiting for part one of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,' due in theaters in November."

'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief' Trailer


San Francisco Chronicle
: "Director Columbus meanders from episode to episode, from Percy in Rocky Balboa training mode under the guidance of centaur Brosnan, to a Vegas layover where our threesome of heroes are lulled into limbo among the lotus eaters, to the fiery furnace of hell (location, just below Hollywood) and the heights of Olympus (location, just above the Empire State Building). The fight sequences are OK, the generous helping of computer-generated imagery is fine, the wisecracking camaraderie among Percy, Grover and Annabeth is passable, though they're no match for Harry, Ron and Hermione in the 'Potter' adventures."

Slant Magazine: 'Harry Potter' knockoffs don't come more transparent and slapdash than 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief',' a wannabe-franchise jumpstarter directed by Chris Columbus with the same flat, crane-shot-obsessed aesthetic blandness that he brought to his first two 'Potter' movie adaptations. Aping J.K. Rowling's saga every step of the way to Mount Olympus, the film (based on Rick Riordan's popular kids-lit series) concerns high-schooler Percy (Logan Lerman), who suddenly discovers not only that he's the demigod son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), but that he's been accused by Zeus (Sean Bean) of stealing his lightning bolt. Why Zeus suspects Percy rather than the child of any other god is never explained, but such an early, gaping plot hole is in keeping with the subsequent incoherent action.

Time Out New York
: "That Percy risks life and limb to preserve the family unit is typical Columbus, and the film works best when playing on the idea that no amount of bravado is enough to mask our desire for parental love. Yet it's not enough to compensate for the computer-game-style plotting, which relies on us to pick up narrative nuggets that mechanically slot in like puzzle pieces later on. And then there's the rampant product placement: Apparently, if you're locked in a life-or-death struggle with Medusa (Thurman), you can avoid her deathly gaze by using an iPod's shiny backside as a mirror."

Arizona Republic: "It's temping to think about 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief' in terms of what it's not. Most obviously, it's not 'Harry Potter' (though it's directed by Chris Columbus, who directed the first two movies in that franchise). The 'Potter' films have gotten more complex as the story goes on (and as they've moved to different directors). Here, we're at the starting point.Then there's the star. Logan Lerman, the Percy of the title, is not Zac Efron despite a remarkable resemblance, both physically and in the way he carries himself. Whatever star presence Efron possesses --among a certain age group, it's considerable -- Lerman seems more than willing to ride its coattails."

Will you go see 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief' based on the reviews?
Yes227 (81.4%)
No52 (18.6%)