Well first off, I just want to say what a wonderful movie experience we had for this. We had the 50 year old smoker trapped in a 16 year olds body hacking out a lung through the entire show to the left of us, the drunk guy behind us burping at the most inopportune times (as if there is a right time to burp in a movie), and the guy a couple of rows in front of us pulling out his cell phone to text every ten minutes. NICE.
Anyhow, The Lightning Thief is the first installment (of probably many considering the popularity of Harry Potter) of the Percy Jackson and The Olympians book series written by Rick Riordan. Now, all three of us made the point to read the book before we saw the film and were treated to a godlike copy of the Harry Potter books. So we are going to do our best to review the movie without being biased.
Kevin: What the hell did they do?!? They butchered the story.
Chad: It’s so frustrating how much was changed from the book. It was made by the director of Harry Potter, but the Marauders Map… Really? Way to steal ideas!
Gina: Right off the bat within the first minute you could see everything was changed. So disappointing.
Well, we tried. It’s just that we all thought the book could have been adapted into a good movie without omitting much and sticking to the same plot. But what do we know. We’re just the people who pay to see the movie and expect a decent show. It is understandable why they made the changes that they did, but it just wasn’t necessary. There was such great character development in the book that was nonexistent in the film. So many challenges that were faced in the book that turned to just a walk in the park for the film.
Chad: There was no real story here. Things just happened.
Gina: It was entertaining, though… for a child that age.
OK… with that out of our system let’s look at the movie. The look of the fantasy world, that is actually our world, was done really well. They way the Gods and mythical creatures were meshed into the cityscapes of place across the country were pleasing. There were also a few really nice backdrops in the Half-Blood’s training camp. Yes I said Half-Blood… starting to feel like Harry Potter yet?
The cast was a different story. While Chad disagrees with Gina and I on the actors who were chosen for the Gods, we all kind of agreed on the rest. Chad didn’t care for Zeus, played by Sean Bean (Boromir from LOTR), or Posiden, played by Kevin McKidd (the awesome Journeyman – or for you ladies, Dr. Owen Hunt), though Gina and I thought they did a good job. The rest were just average at best. The high point was definitely Grover, played by Brandon T. Jackson, who you all should remember as Alpa Chino from Tropic Thunder. He had a comedic charisma that really carried your interest in the main trio throughout their journey.
Chad: Other than Grover, the actors were all pretty weak. It was almost hilarious… like seeing 007 (Pierce Brosnan) trying to be all tough and muscular, shaking his hair in the breeze as the centaur Chiron.
Gina: I did like Hades (Steve Coogan), but Persphone’s part just felt like filler. And, Rosario Dawson was just mediocre; she did nothing to make that part stand out.
Kevin: I was surprised that even the veteran actors didn’t step up.
We mentioned before that things just ”happened”. The book had the feel that it was such a challenge to make it across the country to the Gateway to the Underworld, their final destination. In the movie, everything was fairly simple. There were intense action scenes, but it was just action. The situations seemed to be handled fairly simply. There was no doubt that the hero’s would come out on top. Even in a movie of good vs. evil, where obviously good triumphs, there needs to be that suspense and wonder to whether or not evil will finally get their chance on top.
Kevin: I was almost rooting for the bad guys.
Gina: They just tried to put too much action in it without enough of the story to back it up.
Chad: And the sword fighting was BAD! It was like five year olds playing with sticks in the back yard.
If you didn’t read the book, The Lightning Thief will most likely be an above average movie going experience. If you did read the book, you will probably be disappointed and amusedly distracted by comparing scenes to the book; all the scenes! The kids will enjoy it, though, and the series will undoubtedly be continued on the Silver Screen.
Chad: Following the books with the little things would’ve been nice for the readers to follow. 3 of 5 beers (I’m sticking with beers even for a kids movie)
Gina: 5 of 10 stars for adults. 7 of 10 stars for kids.
Kevin: 6.5 of 10 stars
Combined Review: 6.16666667 of 10 stars