If there was one word to describe the movie “Percy Jackson & the Olympians Lightning Thief,” it would be incredible.
Based loosely on Rick Riordan’s New York Times best selling Greek mythological adventure book series, “The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson & the Olympians” director Chris Columbus (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’) and screenplay writer Craig Titley (“Cheaper By The Dozen” and “Cheaper By The Dozen 2”) put a clever adult spin on a children’s film.
Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a troubled teen, suffering from dyslexia and roused by his mother’s (Catherine Keener) emotionally abusive relationship with Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano). To further complicate matters, Percy finds himself in eminent danger after he has been accused of stealing Zeus’ thunderbolt, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. He is threatened into believing that if he does not return the lightning bolt within twelve days, a war will erupt between brothers Zeus (the supreme ruler among the Mount Olympus gods and goddesses) and Poseidon, god of the sea.
Baffled at how he is a part of the mayhem, he is ordered to Camp Half Blood for his safety and to cultivate his unknown power of manipulating water. On the way there, he finds out that he is a demigod and son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). In the midst of the road trip to the camp, a fiend violently kidnaps his mother, Sally Jackson (Catherine Keener) and he finds out his best friend, Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr, half-goat, half-man and his protector.
Sadden by his mother’s abrupt departure, he is determined to save her and redeem his good name by visiting the underworld lair ruled by Hades (Steve Coogan). Forbidden by Chiron (Pierce Bronson), a centaur and camp director to take this lethal journey, Percy and Grover, joined by Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, the goddess of war strategy, insubordinately venture off in the middle of the night on a transnational trip that finds them in the most precarious of situations.
In a race against time, they have to collect three turquoise pearls that will teleport them to Mount Olympus so they can attempt to stop the war. From their first destination traveling into the lonely coffers of Medusa’s den played by acclaimed actress Uma Thurman, they lose valuable time in Las Vegas where they are continuously fed Lotus, pink psychotropic cookies that put them in another time dimension. With less than a day to spare, Zeus creates a large, stormy cloud looming over North America to express his mounting fury.
Landing in the burrows of the underworld, they encounter Hades and his wife, Persephone (Rosario Dawson), where the individual who stole the lightning bolt is finally revealed.
“Percy Jackson” is anything but a straightforward mythological tale. Filled with characters, many of whom have one diabolical purpose — to be the supreme ruler — their stories interconnect, leading to a surprise ending.
Columbus, Titley and Riordan do an incredible job leaving you in the trenches of suspense without providing a single opportunity to guess which culprit could have possibly stolen the lightning bolt. And fortunately, the cinematography doesn’t saturate the film with computer-generated graphics, taking care not to overshadow the story line.