The audience is treated to swords-and-sandals action scenes (to find some magical pearls necessary to return home from the underworld) set in everything from Medusa’s garden of stoned humans, a hydra-guarded Parthenon replica in Nashville, to a lotus-induced Lady Gaga trip out in Vegas. Meanwhile, a worldwide storm is brewing as things heat up in Olympus as the clock counts down to whether Percy can collect all the pearls, save his mother, defeat the “surprise” antagonist, and save the world by returning the bolt to Zeus and meet his father for the first time which is forbidden of all gods.
Chris Columbus makes a triumphant return to the director’s chair after Rent and I Love You, Beth Cooper and he seems to be having a lot more fun with this material than he did with either of his Harry Potter contributions. Logan Lerman as Percy is great in the lead role and manages to carry the film while making jokes referencing High School Musical and looking like the twin brother of Zac Efron. Alexandra Daddario keeps the two friends in line with her giant blue eyes and Brandon T. Jackson gets to make more riffs here than he was able to in Tropic Thunder (even if he was used to better effect in Ben Stiller’s comedic masterpiece).
Many have complained that the main characters have been aged inappropriately from junior high to high school, but I’d personally much rather watch these rag-tags save the day than yet another 12-year-old. It’s just another piece of the screenwriting process that managed to save the day and keep itself from seeming like just another rip-off.
As much fun as the film is, some might be surprised to learn the film is based on a novel with the way that some of it feels like it’s based on a video game. The plot bounds along and Percy fights and conquers each level’s boss to earn his pearls and move along to the next bad guy. But for once a film has made me actually want to read the novels it’s based on instead of skipping them altogether and just waiting for the next movie to come along (here’s looking at you, boy wizard.)
Photo courtesy Twentieth Century-Fox