Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-ray]
by Directed by Chris Columbus
Review by Charles Mohapel
Fox 2000 Pictures Blu-ray ISBN/ITEM#: B002ZG98J6
Date: 24 July 2010 List Price $39.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
If you don't know the name of Percy Jackson, you must not have school age children at home. The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series of children's books written by Rick Riordan is to Greek mythology what the "Twilight" series is to vampires and werewolves and the "Harry Potter" books are to magic.
Even though I think this film is ideally suited as family fare in the pre-Christmas or Summer time slots, it was released on February 2, 2010. On the other hand, choosing to release it after Christmas meant it would not be going head to head with more hyped movies and risking being crushed.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on Blu-ray doesn't take itself seriously, nor should you take anything you see as being canon when it comes to Greek mythology in the film, but it sure is a rollicking good time.
Director: Chris Columbus
Writers (WGA): Craig Titley (screenplay)
Rick Riordan (novel)
Cast (Cast overview, first billed only):
Logan Lerman ... Percy Jackson
Brandon T. Jackson ... Grover Underwood
Alexandra Daddario ... Annabeth Chase
Jake Abel ... Luke
Sean Bean ... Zeus
Pierce Brosnan ... Mr. Brunner/ Chiron
Steve Coogan ... Hades
Rosario Dawson ... Persephone
Melina Kanakaredes ... Athena
Catherine Keener ... Sally Jackson
Kevin McKidd ... Poseidon
Joe Pantoliano ... Gabe Ugliano
Uma Thurman ... Medusa
Maria Olsen ... Mrs. Dodds/ Fury
From the moment I saw the trailer for Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief on the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Blu-ray Combo Pack I reviewed in December 2009, I knew that I wanted to see it.
As much fun as viewing Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief in the theater was fun, the crowd was having so much fun that it was easy to miss some of the choice one liners. Being able to watch it on Blu-ray was great because any time I was laughing so hard I missed these gems, I could immediately backtrack and watch them again and again.
One thing that struck me about the film was that unlike many recent films, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief actually had recognizable songs such as "Highway To Hell" by AC/DC on way to Auntie Em's Garden Emporium in Leeds Point, New Jersey. This was followed up by "A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)" by Elvis Presley when they enter the Lotus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed immediately by "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.
Did you know that the official emblem for the Maserati they used to escape the Lotus Eaters is a trident?
Hades is in Hollywood, California underneath the "H" in the Hollywood sign in the hills. I noticed how the ferryman of Hades in this film is listed on IMDB.com simply as "Ferryman", not by his name which is "Charon", and I suspect this was to avoid confusion with "Chiron" the centaur, played by Pierce Brosnan.
I loved the final scene where Percy's stepfather Gabe reaches for his last beer - you hear a loud dry crackling sound and the credits finish scrolling.
When it comes to the extras, they're a mixed bag. "The Museum - Grover photographs Aphrodite" was a bit weak. In "The Infirmary - Percy meets Annabeth", Annabeth throws down the gauntlet to a flabbergasted Percy. Regarding "Auntie Em's - Medusa chases Percy", it's too bad it was cut down. In "Int. Pickup Truck - Grover talks about Zeus' daughter", I was sorry it was cut since it showed us a different (thoughtful) side of Grover. "Lotus Land Casino - Percy, Annabeth, and Grover fight the guards" was a riot and it's a real shame it was cut down since it showed their skills as fighters, but on the other hand this is supposed to be family entertainment and they made a wise decision to remove what some people might consider excessive violence. Annabeth rocks! I'm sad that "Hades' mansion - Hades talks to Percy" was edited the way it was since we got to see a shockingly human side of Hades. As for the others, no loss.
"Secrets of the Gods" is Greek Mythology for Grade School Kids, as is "Discover Your Powers Quiz".
"The Book Comes To Life" with Rick Riordan, Jake Abel, Brandon T. Jackson, Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, and Chris Columbus sharing their thoughts was fun but WAY too short!!!
In "Inside Camp Half-Blood" we learn that Chris Columbus and his team went with the concept of a summer camp with Greek huts and where demigods learned how to develop and control their skills. Columbus talks about how they looked for people with Olympian skills like gymnastics, swordfighting, and archery.
"On Set with Brandon T. Jackson" shows that he and Grover have a lot more in common than one might suspect - here Brandon comes across as a kid on a sugar rush.
"Meet the Demigods" with Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, and Jake Abel is a fun featurette where the actors talk about the physical training they went through to play demigods.
In "Composing for the Gods: A Conversation with Christophe Beck", Beck speaks of having worked with Chris Columbus once before and of using classical themed music to set the tone throughout the film, including separate theme music for each major character. I enjoyed this featurette almost as I emjoyed his music.
Theatrical trailers should make you want to see a movie, or go back and see it again (and again and again...). This trailer succeeded famously for me.
In my opinion, the combo pack with Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and Digital Copy is by far the best way to enjoy a fum movie and the Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Blu-ray combo pack comes under the "Must Buy" category.