A teenager discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods.A teenager discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods.A teenager discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods.
Logan Lerman, as Percy, is an angry, lovable misfit who thinks he's a loser and becomes an Olympian. This has nothing to do with the sweat and grind of the Olympics we just watched on TV, but the realization that his absent father wasn't just a lout, he was also a god. This sets up the perennial teenage conflict surrounding the question "Who am I?" Percy's quest is just a bit more bizarre than usual. He is a god, or half of one, and has to discover what that means. Lerman is a great choice for Percy, not a perfect beauty, just a good looking kid, who we identify with and want to succeed. His emotional range is better than that of most actors in kid movies; Percy is conflicted, afraid, puzzled, and determined and it all shows.
Brandon T. Jackson is Grover, Percy's sidekick and protector. Jackson is a solid presence, supporting the lead and lending his soulful eyes to the role. Along with Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth, the awesome fighter and love interest, the three become a team to right the wrongs of the gods. I like to see young women with more to do in a movie than stir a male's passion, and Annabeth (couldn't decide on a name?) does. She fights, she wins, she loses, she gets the boy, and her stunning eyes are clearly descended from the gods. Jake Abel as Luke has the complex role of a neglected god child seeking revenge any way he can - lying, stealing and cheating on his friends. Abel needed to show more passion, more love, more bitterness, to make his downfall all that more spectacular.
There is such a huge cast it's hard to comment on everyone. Of the older generation Pierce Brosnan as Mr. Brunner / Chiron gives a "yes I remember what it's like to be young and full of myself just like you" performance of the wise and patient mentor, Uma Thurman is a delightfully evil Medusa, Sean Bean, well, in my book Sean Bean is always a god so he played Zeus very well. Steve Coogan as Hades and Rosario Dawson as Persephone are fun. If it's possible to play a kidnapped woman as funny, these two manage it. Joe Pantoliano as Percy's step dad Gabe Ugliano (like the name) is a good creep but the character seems dated. Ordering a wife to fetch beer is very Archie Bunker – do jerky step dad's still do that? Maria Olsen's fury and Julian Richings Ferryman are small parts with a big impact and they are each perfectly evil. Max Van Ville has his three seconds on film as a 70's kid and uses them to perfection. These three are (therefore) perfect examples of bit parts making a difference - it is the accumulation of believable detail that carries us along on the fantasy. Catherine Keener is the washed out Sally Jackson, Percy's Mom. Since she is more heroic than the heroes, it would have been nice to see a little spark in her somewhere in her martyrdom – why would a god fall for her except that she can wear a pair of skinny jeans? (Maybe that's enough) Since a lot of Mom's are going to see this PG movie it's nice to have a son risk everything for her, as lame and uninspiring as she appears to be. In fact, the premise that these teenagers were all abandoned by, not loser parents, but by superior perfect god parents becomes a comment on parenting itself - maybe Hollywood parents in particular –rich and successful parents dumping their kids to be raised by mere mortals, the nannies and day cares of the world? However godlike Percy may be he is clearly ticked off at being abandoned and the scene with his Dad at the end encapsulates the drama.
At 118 minutes (let's see, 118 divide by 60, 2 minutes shy of 2 hours) it felt a little long. My daughter was squirming by the end. Part of her restlessness was likely the result of all the previews and being pummeled by the non stop wave of sound. Does it really have to be that loud? We were plastered to our seats with our fingers in our ears for the swelling crescendos of the battle scenes. Hey movie theaters, any body listening? (Take your fingers out of your ears) It's too loud! And those earnest, dedicated multi-millionaire movie stars exhorting us to reach into our pockets for Haiti? How 'bout each of you giving a million or two and be done with it.
- Mar 1, 2010