Percy Jackson receives lukewarm response

Satvika Ananth
Staff Writer

As Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief hit big screens, an unusual message comes into play with the audience: age really does matter.

The on-screen version of the popular novel by Rick Riordan had hopes of appealing to audiences across age groups, similar to the book. However, grossing only $31.3 million in ticket sales over its three-day box office premiere from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, the movie proves to be a slight disappointment for audiences old enough to remember how the book actually went and skeptical enough to need some help suspending disbelief.

To his credit, director Chris Columbus never intended for the film to be a perfect replica of the novel, an aspect that held him back creatively when he directed the first and second movies of the Harry Potter series. However, for an audience that looked forward to seeing certain elements of the story on the big screen, Columbus’ version was a disappointment.

“The movie had morphed and left out crucial points from the book,” junior Linley McCord said. “I don’t know if they can keep making the movies since so much was missing that would be needed to carry on the story.”

The content, having already been dictated by the cliché yet amusing tale of a young demi-god, or half god, concocted by Rick Riordan, fell a little flat when transferred onto the big screen, particularly without the depth of emotion displayed through certain sequences of the book.

Additionally, the solid cast of the movie, including Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman, is wasted in small roles that only showcased the absurdity of their existence. While I cannot imagine a better, more outrageous Medusa than Thurman, I can certainly envision Thurman herself in much more fitting roles.

To counter the unused star power, however, lead actor Logan Lerman puts on a compelling and believable performance as Percy Jackson, showing off his talent at portraying the not-so-typical angsty, misunderstood teenage demi-god.

“[Lerman] was one of the few good things about the movie,” senior Krysia Garcia said. “He was funny and acted the part well.”

Supporting actors Alexandra Daddario and Brandon T. Jackson portray polar opposites in both character and skill, with Daddario coming off as bland and awkward in a role composed entirely of her staring at Lerman. Jackson, on the other hand, adds the much needed touch of comic relief to the movie, bringing in such subjects as the current recession and his character’s inferiority complex, giving the audience a breath of fresh humor in the midst of 120 minutes of awkward, over-rehearsed action sequences.

The most redeeming factor of the movie, however, shines through when comparing Percy Jackson to Harry Potter. The parallels between the two are all there: Columbus was the director, there is an other-worldly setting and young actors are involved.

However, with The Lightning Thief, Columbus has a much more challenging task at hand when it comes to suspension of disbelief. The Harry Potter series has the advantage of allowing the audience to be completely immersed in the fantastical experience at Hogwarts. Percy Jackson is set in various locations around America and requires Columbus to combine reality with fantasy through special effects, allowing the audience to remain with one leg in the real world and one leg in the mythological creation of Riordan.

With monsters and massive amounts of water to complement the main character’s status as the son of Greed god of the seas, Poseidon, Columbus is definitely able to achieve the impact of the larger-than-life world of Greek mythology.

As for the continuation of the series, the verdict depends on how successful this movie is and how receptive the audience is. For now, viewers would be well-warned to go into the movie with high expectations for an entertaining movie, but low expectations for an accurate rendition.

Video By: Mary Beth Walker