‘Percy Jackson’ elicits more on-screen ‘Lightning’

By Larissa Gula

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T…. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario

Directed By: Chris Columbus

Fox 2000 Pictures

Grade: B-

Greek mythology is working its way back into 21st century pop culture, and the Greek gods are alive and well right here in the U.S. — at least in one new movie. They’re even having children.

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” tells the tale of Percy Jackson, the son of the Greek god Poseidon.

The film is based on the first book in a young adult series written by Rick Riordan. All five books are set in the U.S. and intertwine Greek mythology with daily life.

Main character Percy Jackson, a teenager who has dyslexia and ADHD, lives in New York — at least until he’s attacked, and his mother and best friend usher him out of the city and take him to Camp Half-Blood.

In a hurried pacing of plot, Percy’s mother is kidnapped, and his best friend Grover reveals himself as Percy’s protector. Oh, and Grover is a satyr (half goat and half man).

It’s disclosed that Percy is Poseidon’s son, and that Zeus currently believes Percy stole his mythical lightning bolts. If Percy does not return the bolts, a war will break out between the gods that will destroy the Earth.

The logic of why Zeus thinks Percy took his lightning bolts is never explained. Instead the film focuses on a side quest to save Percy’s mother.

Put simply, the film is very fast. It never lingers on a single scene or moment for very long, but rather charges through with action while barely touching on the real mystery: Who actually stole the lightning bolts?

Unfortunately, for those expecting some iota of mystery, the culprit becomes obvious after about half an hour.

The fast pace covers up frequent moments of wooden acting from the cast, who do a decent enough job to get a barely passing stamp of approval.

And be warned, mythology fans: Some parts of Greek mythology will be altered to suit the film’s purpose. (Being half-god doesn’t make you a demigod, writers. Duh!)

Yet the film makes up for any flaws with at least one thing — good humor. The writers keep everything clean and family-friendly. They even make the recession funny, at least for a few seconds. The character of Grover, played by Brandon T. Jackson, has the most energy of anyone on screen. His every line will keep anyone from taking this movie too seriously and will remind him or her it’s time to sit back and laugh.

Put simply, “Lightning Thief” is not the most emotional, most philosophical or most beautiful film of the year, and it’s probably not the best interpretation of a book to be rolled onto screen. But it’s worth seeing just for good, innocent giggles with friends or family. And maybe, even when the cast really isn’t acting their best, it’s worth being laughed at.