Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (PG)
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So, I guess critical reaction to this movie was mixed, and I had the vague impression that it didn't do well financially... although now that I check, it seems it actually did pretty well (if you include foreign box office), and there will be a sequel. In any event, it's something I was looking forward to seeing, though I didn't get to it until a few years after it came out. And I liked it more than I expected to. Seriously, it's hard for me to understand how anyone could not like it. It's certainly not a great movie, but I thought the story was decent, the special effects were awesome, and it was fairly funny, and there were a few things in it that I thought were kinda clever. (And while there was plenty that wasn't clever, there was nothing that I found actually stupid. And it would have been so easy for a movie like this to be full of stupid stuff.) Oh, I should also mention it's based on the first book in a series, which I haven't read. I don't doubt the book is better, so maybe I'll read it someday. But I definitely thought the movie was cool.
Anyway, it begins with Poseidon (the Greek god of the sea) meeting with Zeus (king of the gods). It seems Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen, and he accuses Poseidon's son of stealing it. (Where he got this idea, I have no bloody clue.) So he sets a deadline for the bolt to be returned to him, or there will be war between the gods. Meanwhile, there's this high school kid named Percy Jackson, who has no idea he's Poseidon's son, or that the ancient Greek myths are in fact true. He just knows he's never met his dad. (And he knows he loves being in water.) And... his mom, Sally, is married to a total jerk, for a reason Percy doesn't understand, but the reason is revealed eventually. And Percy has a best friend named Grover Underwood. And one day on a class field trip to a museum, Percy gets attacked by a Fury. It's after that that Grover reveals that he is actually a satyr, who has been assigned to Percy as a protector. Grover and Sally take him to Camp Half Blood, and they're attacked along the way by a minotaur. His mom is apparently killed in the attack, but Percy manages to kill the minotaur after that.
It's in the camp that Percy learns he is the son of Poseidon. And that one of his teachers is actually a centaur named Chiron (Pierce Brosnan), an instructor at the camp. And that there are hundreds of other demigods (half human, half god) who've been training at Camp Half Blood for years; none of them have ever met their, um, god parent. Of course, there are three main gods: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. And it's very rare (these days) for any of them to have a child, so I guess Percy is currently the only one. (I think this is the reason he wasn't told about his true parentage.) Anyway, he quickly develops a crush on Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena (goddess of wisdom and battle strategy), who is apparently the best fighter in the camp. (As a side note, I find her name interesting because several years before this movie came out- but around the same time the book came out- I watched a TV show called Close to Home, on which the main character was also named Annabeth Chase.) The only other demigod we meet is Luke Castellan, son of Hermes (messenger god), who is like camp captain, or something (kind of like class president). Chiron's plan is for Percy to go to Mount Olympus to explain to Zeus that he's innocent, but not before getting some training at the camp. However, Hades believes Percy has the bolt, and says Sally was only abducted, not killed, and will be returned to Percy if he gives Hades the bolt. So Percy decides to go against Chiron's orders, and embark upon a quest to the underworld, to try to convince Hades he doesn't have the bolt, and let his mother go. Grover and Annabeth decide to join him on this quest. They receive some helpful advice from Luke before they go.
Basically, they have to find three pearls, which are hidden in different locations, which would allow them to escape the underworld after they get there. So... finding each of the pearls is quite an adventure. So that's three adventures before they even get to the underworld. I don't want to spoil any details of those adventures, or of what happens in the underworld, or what happens afterward. But they do eventually find the lightning bolt, and learn who the real thief was, and basically save the world. (As if there was ever any doubt.) Oh, and there's an amusing bonus scene a little way into the closing credits. And I guess that's all there is to say. Cool movie.
Followed by Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters