The Pen is Mightier Than the Wand in “Percy Jackson”

4 out of 5 stars (one of the best of the year)

Percy Jackson Poster
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Note: This is a classic case of the book being better than the film.  I saw this movie before reading the book and loved it, but upon reading the book, I realized that many of the novel’s best elements had been left on the cutting room floor.  As such, I would currently rate “Percy Jackson” 2..5 out of 5 stars (decent).  If you don’t care to read books, then this will be decently entertaining to you.  If you have read the book, then avoid the film at all costs.  Also, the first 2 “Harry Potter” films are eons better than this.  That being said, please enjoy my review below.

If you’re wondering about the strange title, the reason for it is Chris Columbus directed the first two “Harry Potter” films. Since I was only 6 when I saw “The Sorcerer’s Stone”, I didn’t know how to compare two films based on who directed them.   I’m happy to say I can now compare films based on the director.  “Percy Jackson” in my opinion is better than the first and second Harry Potter films for a couple of reasons.  The characters felt like people you could run in to on the street.  Also, I didn’t have to read the book to understand the plot.

The story is simple: Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a teenager with dyslexia and ADHD who goes to a special school. His best friend Grover, who uses crutches, makes things easier for him at school.  Unfortunately at home, Percy must deal with a horrible drunk stepfather and a mother who for some reason won’t kick him out.

When Percy goes on a class field trip, he is attacked by a creature who thinks he has stolen Zeus’s lightning bolt. Teacher Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) stops the attack, and Percy discovers that he is the son of Poseidon, God of the Seas, and that Grover and Brunner are there to protect him from evil forces.

As this fun piece of cinematic art continues, Percy meets Luke; son of Hermes, and Annabeth; daughter of Athena, goddess of battle strategy. Newcomers Jake Abel and Alexandra Daddario are very convincing as young demigods. Hades (Steve Coogan, “Around the World in 80 Days”) shows up and kidnaps Percy’s mother.  Despite the small part he is given, Coogan gives us a totally original interpretation of the devil.  In their quest to rescue Percy’s mother, the three youngsters meet several other adversaries including Medusa (Uma Thurman), who turns people to stone. (It would be hard for her to be in a relationship with anyone.) Brandon T. Jackson as Grover was the comic relief in the movie and had some great lines.

As you can tell by the very rare four star rating, “Percy Jackson” was quite amazing. The actors are superb at their roles.  Its two hour run time goes by very quickly, as every scene is action-packed.  If you’re wondering if you’ve seen the actor who plays Percy before, you probably have, in “Hoot”.   Rosario Dawson as Persephone was quite attractive.

Like Harry Potter, I had not read the book, but liked the movie very much. If you have been seeing some bad reviews for this movie, they are full of nothing but a bunch of bologna. After seeing Jackie Chan’s giant flop, “The Spy Next Door,” I had the idea that an action movie had to be rated PG-13 or above to be good.  However, after seeing “Percy Jackson,” that idea was totally terminated.  Action movies can be PG and still be awesome.

Even though the film is generally good for the whole family, there are some scenes in it that may scare the younger ones. I was briefly taken aback by Medusa when she revealed her snake hair.  She may be the scariest thing in the film.  Hades in his demon-like form (Body of a dragon, red eyes) may also creep some kids out.  Some kids might not understand Percy’s disabilities (ADHD and Dyslexia), so that may need to be explained.

Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.

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