Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visual: 6/10

Fun for younger kids

Derivative of Harry Potter and not as well done

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief

Studio:  1492 Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s):  February 2, 2010 (Canada)/February 12, 2010 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


I bet it is real awkward when you have to go, sir…

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a teenager struggling at a new school and at home with his mother (Catherine Keener) and her verbally abusive husband Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano).  When Percy is attacked by a Fury, Percy’s principal Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) and his best friend Grover Underwood (Brandon T. Jackson) reveal to Percy that his life isn’t what he thought it was.  Percy is a demigod…the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd).  Percy is forced to go to a camp for the mystical creatures and demigods when he’s accused of stealing the lightning of Zeus (Sean Bean).  As the gods threaten to go to war, Percy finds himself, Grover, and Athena’s daughter Annabeth Chase (Alexandra Daddario) seeking out Hades (Steve Coogan) to get Percy’s kidnapped mother back…and finding the stolen lightning might be the only key to stopping a war between the gods.


Hades…you really aren’t making a good first impression

Directed by Chris Columbus, Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief adapts the 2005 young adult novel by Rick Riordan.  The movie was met with mixed reviews and heavy comparisons to the Harry Potter franchise.

I loved mythology growing up.  I can remember checking a mythology book out before I could read and of course Clash of the Titans was a big release when I was young.  With this in mind, I have a bit of predisposition to liking Percy Jackson, but could easily tell the film was derivative…much like the book which was released after Harry Potter shot to popularity among young adults.


I bet it is really hard to lay down without getting bite marks all over your face

Percy Jackson does have some advantages over Harry Potter.  The movie immediately skewered to older teens by aging Percy from twelve to seventeen, and the film does move quite quickly.  It also has some more immediate action and adventure that took more time to build up in the Harry Potter series.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief does have tons of Harry Potter-esque plot points and moments.  There is the horrible home life, the girl “friend” (who is more of a romantic lead than Hermione), the fun friend (the satyr), and a camp for kids like him.  The story feels a bit more adult than the earlier Harry Potter films (which makes sense due to Chris Columbus directing those as well…also the least visually interesting of that series), however, and it also lacks much of their charm.


Oh no! Computer animated dragons!

Despite that, I still do enjoy aspects of this kids’ film.  With decent lead actors, much of the film’s credit comes from the good supporting cast.  Katherine Keener is always solid as Percy’s mother and Joe Pantoliano always plays a good “jerk” character.  “James Bond” Pierce Brosnan wheelchair bound Brunner is revealed to be the centaur Chiron, and Uma Thurman is a scene sealer as Medusa.  The gods and goddesses are made up of Sean Bean (Zeus), Kevin McKidd (Poseidon), Steve Coogan (Hades), Dylan Neal (Hermes), Rosario Dawson (Persephone), Melina Kanakaredes (Athena), Stefanie von Pfetten (Demeter), Erica Cerra (Hera), Dimitri Lekkos (Apollo), Serinda Swan (Aphrodite), Conrad Coates (Hephaestus) and Ray Winstone (Ares).

Percy Jackson isn’t a bad film, nor is it a great film.  As a kid, I probably would have enjoyed it, but I think even a kid would start to draw Harry Potter comparisons…and probably pick Harry Potter over Percy.  The film was a moderate success and Percy Jackson was granted a sequel in 2013 with Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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