Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Starring Logan Lerman, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman and Catherine Keener. Directed by Chris Columbus.
Rated M (fantasy themes and violence). 129 mins

A Clash of the Titans Jr. Or, perhaps, a Night at the Antiquities Museum and Theme Parks.

Based on a novel (2005 plus four sequels) very popular in the US by writer and historian, Rick Riordan, who told his original story to his son as a bedtime story, this is an enjoyable fantasy for younger audiences. The presupposition that the Gods of Olympus are still around and, in fact, still active in controlling the world, is more than fanciful but, having accepted it, we go with this story of demi-gods, the children of gods and humans – quite a lot of American demi-gods, in fact, but no indication whether the Olympians indulged in visits to any other countries let alone Greece!

Logan Lerman is Percy Jackson who discovers that his father is Poseidon who had come to earth and met Sally, Percy's mother, but then disappeared at his brother, Zeus's orders. Capricious and jealous these deities.

At this juncture, the unknowing Percy is chief suspect for having stolen Zeus's lightning bolt and Zeus (Sean Bean) confronts Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and lays down a deadline for the bolt to be restored. Well, what happens when the wrath of the gods pursues you, for example in the form of a literature teacher who is in reality a Fury? You get help from Chiron (Pierce Brosnan) who moonlights on earth as a wheelchair bound museum guide (which conceals his horsy parts as he is a centaur) but is in charge of training at Camp Half Blood, the camp for the demi-gods.

If that all seems too far-fetched, then forget Percy Jackson. If not, definitely persevere because there will be a confrontation with Medusa (Uma Thurman plus snake hair), with a huge CGI Hydra and a visit to Hades (Steve Googan the character, under Los Angeles the location) and a mission to find three pearls that will help Percy to recover his mother (Catherine Keener). His companions on the road are a satyr , Grover, (Brandon Jackson) and the valiant daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario). Percy's age has been upped from 12 to 17, so there is attraction between Percy and , of course – and provides a romantic ending which does not end in a clinch or a kiss but in sword fight practice!

This is an outing for younger audiences who have imagination and a sense of adventure. It is directed with zest by Chris Columbus who directed Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter films.

20th Century Fox  Out February 11

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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