The Lightning Thief

Based on Rick Riordan's mega-selling novel, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" is the full name of this fantasy and I find that entirely too cumbersome.

This is basically the traditional Hero's Journey. This time our hero is named Percy Jackson, played by Logan Lerman ("3:10 to Yuma" 2007), who is a misfit at school due to his ADHD and his dyslexia. He has a sidekick who is somehow disabled and must use crutches, played by Brandon T. Jackson ("Tooth Fairy"), and a long-haired wheelchair-bound teacher played by Pierce Brosnan ("Mamma Mia!").

If I hadn't just finished "The War That Killed Achilles" by Caroline Alexander, I might not have felt so at home, but I don't think the target audience (12- to 19-year-old teens) will worry about the particulars of the Greek gods, their ferocious infighting, and their incessant consorting with humans or the confused and angry children that result. These demigods and their feelings of abandonment are the subject of our movie. For some reason, "The Suits" in Hollywood have tweaked Greek mythology. In this version, Perseus (Percy) is the half-human son of Poseidon; in the mythology I've read, he's the son of Zeus. Hmmm....

Our hero is wrongly accused by Zeus (Sean Bean) of stealing his lightning bolt, but Percy's mother (Catherine Keener) has been taken hostage and he must somehow free her. He cuts a deal to find the bolt and swap her for it in twelve days. In his eventful cross-country journey (Nashville, Vegas and Hollywood) with two friends, he encounters Mercury's winged shoes, snake-haired Medusa (Uma Thurman), Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), Hades (Steve Coogan), Persephone (Rosario Dawson), Charon the boatman at the River Styx, plus Cerberus and various other monsters.

These three chums are basically good kids, I found myself pulling for them despite endless sword fights, LOTS of blowie uppie stuff and CGI, CGI, CGI! Computer Generated Imaging has freed the imaginations of movie makers so there are no limits to what they can put on screen. I just wish they would trim off a little bit, because it really does get wearisome...