Movie Review

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief also known as “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,” “Percy Jackson,” “Percy Jackson—Diebe im Olymp,” “Percy Jackson—Salamavaras,” “Percy Jackson e gli dei dell'Olimpo: Il ladro di fulmini,” “Percy Jackson e os Olimpianos: O Ladrão de Raios,” “Percy Jackson y el ladrón del rayo,” “Percy Jackson y el ladron del rayo,” “Percy Jackson: Le Voleur de Foudre”

MPAA Rating: PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Teens, Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy Family Kids Adaptation
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
February 12, 2010 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: June 29, 2010
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures

Lightning in the Bible

WATER: The Miracle of Nature


Greece

Greek

Grecians

Athens, Greece

Ancient idols and idolatry


God

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer


Hades

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer


Teen Qs™ - Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

Featuring: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson)
Rosario Dawson (Persephone)
Uma Thurman (Medusa)
Pierce Brosnan (Chiron)
Sean Bean (Zeus)
Kevin McKidd (Poseidon)
Steve Coogan (Hades)
Catherine Keener (Sally Jackson)

[more]
Director: Chris Columbus
Producer: 1492 Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Imprint Entertainment, Michael Barnathan, Thomas M. Hammel, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary, Mark Radcliffe, Karen Rosenfelt
Distributor: Fox 2000 Pictures

“Some heroes are made and some are born of the gods!”

Sequel to this movie: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a struggling student who suffers from ADHD and severe dyslexia. His mom is loving, but Percy cannot understand why she puts up with his deadbeat stepdad. But there’s some good in Percy’s life; he’s close friends with Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and always manages to find peace whenever he’s in water. His mundane life suddenly changes when a substitute teacher turns into a fury and viciously shouts for him to return the lightning bolt.

Now that’s he’s been located, Percy is finally told that he is a demigod—half human, half god. His father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. And Zeus, his uncle, believes that Percy is the one who stole his lightning bolt, the most powerful weapon in the world. To prevent a war between the gods, Percy has until the summer solstice to locate and return the lightning bolt before catastrophic events occur.

“… The Lightning Thief” is based on the best-selling series by young-adult author Rick Riordan. While changes are expected to occur whenever adapting a book to the big screen, this film can hardly qualify itself as a successful adaptation; it’s almost a completely separate entity. Where as the novel was made for the tween range, this film aims to find success in the teen demographics. In place of the novel’s witty twelve-year-old hero is a hotheaded seventeen-year old with awesome hair. And Grover, Percy’s protector, is now more hip and girl crazy. The film moves quickly, too quickly, in my opinion, in its rush to cram in as many CGI battles as possible before the final destination of Mount Olympus. While it’s never boring, time is never taken to create well-developed characters.

The performances are quite good. Lerman carries the role of Percy well, and Pierce Brosnan makes a pretty cool centaur and instructor. Upon viewing her scenes, I must say Uma Thurman makes a great Medusa, using an alluring voice to tempt potential victims to simply take a peek at the hideous snakes which inhabit her head. Hades and Persephone are played by Steve Coogan and Rosario Dawson, an interesting pair that brought some humor. Detrimental to the plot, however, was the complete exclusion of the characters Ares and his daughter Clarisse. With that elimination, the film’s plot varies greatly compared to the novel.

Objectionable Content

Violence: Parents should heed the PG rating, as the film contains heavy amounts of violence which young children might find scary, especially when viewing the mythological creatures. In one scene, a fury viciously attacks Percy. In two other scenes, he battles a minotaur and a fire-breathing hydra. There’s also an ancient Greek version of capture the flag where the demigods have a lengthy battle scene. Annabeth attacks Percy and cuts him several times with her sword until he collapses. Medusa gets decapitated (off screen), and her head is pulled out on a few occasions. Hades enormously appears out of a fire, resembling a demon. On one occasion, Percy’s stepdad pushes him against the wall, and Grover hits him with his crutches.

Sex/Nudity: There’s quite a bit of sexual content in the film, considering its rating. When getting her husband a beer, Percy’s mother gets slapped on the butt. At Camp Half-Blood, the daughters of Aphrodite all wear bikinis and call for Grover. In Lotus Casino, most of the women wear very short dresses with large amounts of cleavage showing. In one scene, Grover is surrounded by women who flirtatiously rub him. Persephone, the wife of Hades, is also shown to be a flirt and does suggestive gestures and comments towards Grover. Afterwards, Grover comments that he feels Persephone might like him, since they wined and dined.

Alcohol and drugs: Percy’s stepfather is shown drinking beer and gambling; however, his character is always shown negatively. While at the Lotus Casino, Grover, Annabeth, and Percy all consume flowered appetizers which make them high and giddy.

Language: There are 3 misuses of G*d, about two uses of the word a*s, and 2 uses of “hook up” (slang for sex). The word “hell” is used when referring to Hades or his underworld. In one scene, the song “Highway to Hell” plays after a reference is made to it.

The movie is based on Greek mythology; however, the Greek gods are not shown in positive light. As in their mythology, the gods are short tempered, adulterers, and untrustworthy. The film could serve as an opportunity to have a parallel discussion on how superior our Savior is compared with these man-created idols. The gods would often come down to Earth and have numerous affairs with humans producing several illegitimate demigods. After fearing being overthrown, Zeus required that all of the gods abandon their demigod-children. In the complete opposite, God wants us to accept Christ in order for us to be adopted into his loving family. John wrote in 1 John:

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.”

Though the law was created, Poseidon never wished to abandon Percy or his mother, but was forced to. That is why I’m so grateful there’s only one supreme Lord of everything. John 10 is an excellent parable of how Jesus is the shepherd, and Christians are his sheep. He will always guard us, protect us, and even willingly gave up his life for us (v. 17-18). And in verse 28, Jesus said:

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

I definitely recommend not allowing young children to see the film. If parents permit their older kids to watch it, I feel there’s a definite need to have an after-movie discussion. While discerning kids would know that this is just a work of fiction, it’s always good to use every opportunity to teach children Scripture and how great our Lord truly is.

Violence and scariness: Heavy-to-extreme (for PG-rating) / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy (for PG-rating)

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—No one who has read (and enjoyed) the classics of Western literature should find anything to be surprised or offended at here. Nor, for that matter, should Christians who champion the work of C.S. Lewis dismiss a film like this as mere paganism. As J.R.R. Tolkien once put it: “The heart of man is not compound of lies, but draws some wisdom from the only Wise, and still recalls him. Though now long estranged, man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Disgraced he may be, yet is not dethroned, and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned, his world-dominion by creative act.” In other words, yes, mythology is checkered with the signs of man’s fallen nature (adultery, lust, religious confusion), but don’t think for a minute there aren’t still rich veins of spiritual truth to be mined by a discerning audience.

For example, more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John Stanifer, age 24 (USA)
Positive—First off, this is not a Christian movie, written by Christians, with Christian only actors to entertain Christians or woo non-Christians to the light. This is entertainment.… No, my friends this is entertainment, based on MYTH. …I read the book and the movie veers from it a bit. I don’t care; I like the book and the movie and so did my son. Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief was full of action and violence and just a little sexual tension, killing, faith, honor and valor….mmmhhmm… just like the bible. So I give it four thumbs up and encourage you to read the books and watch the movie for fun and entertainment…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—John, age 42 (Canada)
Positive—First of all I want to thank Thaisha on her desire to view and rate movies. Sometimes it is a hard task with much of the junk that is out there. I have read many of her reviews and would take her advice in most situations. I do have to disagree with her on this movie though. She gave it only 2½ stars, and I really think it deserved at least 4. I noticed from her review that she based her review in part on the books. That is almost always a bad idea. Too many movies do NOT live up to the book, and I can only think of a few that turned out well.

This movie had all that is needed in a movie of this type. At no point did I find myself asking any questions about who was who or who did what. I felt that I was well informed and without being told that someone was missing would have never known it. I truly enjoyed this movie and was captivated the entire time.

I do agree that the violence and sex were a little much for a PG movie but that rating in this day and age says “parents watch first” all over it. This movie is also a good discussion starter on the selfishness of man-made gods. It was plain that the gods were all about themselves and not about saving the world. Yes, they wanted to save the world but only for themselves. Good thing OUR God is for us and not himself, He LOVES us!!!…

Once again the movie deserved a higher rating but be sure to watch it BEFORE the kids do so YOU can be the one to make the decision on who watches it. God Bless!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Larry Barber, age 47 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—First, I want to say that this was entertaining and had many humorous moments, some not written as such, but the audience was laughing just the same. The movie is based on a book for young people centered around Greek Mythology, so, of course, it defiantly went against scriptures regarding our relationship with our Creator and only true God Jesus Christ. They described the gods as selfish, self-serving, and uncaring abandoning their demigod children on earth, etc. I actually believe that you will either be confusing your child regarding their understanding of the God of the Bible or it would be a teaching tool to discuss why the living God is superior to the mythological gods represented and a great way to discuss the realities of the true heaven and hell.

The movie also might scare younger viewers for they visually shown you hell or Hades and the demon looking god Hades looking very scary. There are also many other scenes like the decapitation of Methuselah and many intense monsters are seen throughout the movie.

There were several sexual innuendo, one pretty offences regard bestiality between the women who lives in hell with Hades and the goat protector guy. Most kids will miss her remarks, but it was very forward.

Also in the Las Vegas scenes they eat these flowers that make them become in an altered state of mind and its portrayed as fun and appealing and most of the kids in the audience were laughing at their behavior, which was like promoting drug us. (I live in a town that is very pro drugs.) Although it was used to keep them captive in LV in a spell, it was not emphasized enough that eating them was a bad thing. This could be an opportunity to discuss how drug use keeps you in bondage.

Now that I have written this, I am going to change my opinion to offensive as a warning to parents that they should go with their child to have a good moral God centered conversation about this flick.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sharon M Usltad, age 49 (USA)
Neutral—This film is obviously targeted at adolescents and the trailers, as usual, promise more than is delivered. The story is moderately entertaining at best, but that’s from my perspective. My 11 year old daughter enjoyed the movie more than I did. With the high cost of admission to the theater these days, tell your teen to wait until the DVD comes out. This will teach her patience and save you money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Bob C, age 46 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I took my 11 year old son to see this movie. There were several things in the movie that were objectionable. If your child is not biblically and spiritually grounded this movie would not be a good choice in my opinion. I agree with the fact that the movie did not portray Greek gods in the best light, however in my personal opinion it equally failed to portray them as fantasy. A child who is old enough to read the book ought to be able to handle the movie, but parents beware this movie is no Harry Potter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jean Volpe, age 35 (USA)
Negative—My negative review has nothing to do with the moral value in this movie (there’s nothing severely negative or positive, morally speaking). What I can say is that it is an absolutely terrible movie in moviemaking respects, and would not recommend it to anyone. The acting is awful, the dialogue is awful, the story is episodic and uninteresting, and the visual effects are so in-your-face that you wish everything would calm down for a second. And for having such an excess of visual effects, you’d think the effects would be great, considering the producers' apparent need to flaunt them. Well, they’re not any good.

This movie has the “High School Musical” mentality of glamorizing teenage life for children under ten, so it has constant “witty” punch lines and hints at boyfriends and girlfriends, but it is all inaccurate and cringe-inducingly cheesy for anyone older than its target audience. As far as its appropriateness for young children, it’s too intense.

But really, I can’t stress enough the fact that it is such a horrible film that I strongly recommend everyone to avoid it at all costs.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Sam, age 18
Negative—Having never read the books that this movie was based on, I can’t say whether it was accurate. Overall, I liked the movie quite well, but unfortunately, trusting the PG rating was a mistake. My 6, 7 and 10 year olds saw the movie and were very scared in many parts. My 6 year old begged us never to let him see it again, and I especially didn’t like the depiction of the lost souls in hell. There were multiple scenes that were very intense and should have been rated PG-13. My kids have seen the Narnia movies and Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, but the scary in this was different and somewhat “horror-ish,” and they were afraid.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rebecca, age 37 (USA)
Negative—There were few positive ideals I made up in my head after watching this film. The first how the story gave the protagonist a positive way to feel good about his absent father. Also, they turned his learnibg disabilities to gifts. But that is where it stops. The special effects were horrible, the plot very trivial, and the twist was a disappointment.

As far as the moral content, the sub-par gods goes without saying. The horn-dog side-kick was EXTREMELY annoying and worth walking out over. I wish I would’ve walked out. We had all our kids there, 5, 7, 8 and 9 year olds, a discussion afterwards was a must, and a good conversation at that. I wish I would’ve read the review about it on here first.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Cameron, age 30 (USA)
Negative—For the target market of this movie, I found it to be quite offensive. The book was targeted towards young teens and preteens, and it can be assumed, as the book series was very popular, that fans of the books would want to see the movie. My problem was not with the mythology, foremost.

I was reading the Iliad and the Odyssey and the legends of Hercules and Perseus when I was 12, and I do not think that simply presenting ancient mythos to children is a danger so long as they are old enough to understand that it is myth and not confuse it with truth. (As studying myth can not only bring out basic moral lessons such as courage and honor, but also provide opportunity to compare the failings of polytheistic worldviews compared to the unchanging and moral character of God.)

What I found dangerous was the rampant sexual overtones throughout the film, innuendoes, flirtations, seductions, and the like. I also did not appreciate the film’s excuse that the mother stayed in a dangerous situation for the sake of her child—thematically, that is not the sort of thing that should be presented to young children. (A mom staying with a man who sexually harasses her and uses her, who she is not married to, etc. supposedly to “protect” her kid. A child could infer that in domestic abuse cases the mother is somehow protecting her child by keeping them both in the situation.)

Quality wise, the plot was rushed and haphazard. A poor lesson was taught in that it was better to go off on your own to solve problems than to trust authority figures. Regardless of whether it was correct or not in that instance, Percy’s teacher generalized the lesson out to imply that acting on instinct, not respect for elder’s, was the correct course in any situation.

In short: This film should be rated PG-13, for sexual content and thematic material. Even then, it failed to bring any real moral lesson to the table that could out weight the more subtle moral twists it threw in.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jenai, age 26 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This was a coming of age movie. Teaching that your weaknesses are sometimes your greatest strengths.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Kevin, age 16 (USA)
Neutral—I’m a big fan of the Percy Jackson series, I’ve read all of the books, and when I found out that someone was making a movie, I was really excited! But when I found out that my school was going to have a field trip to see it at Trillium theatres, I was even more ecstatic! Attention all parents! If you have kids with sensitive ears, wait until the DVD release! This movie was louder than “Speed Racer,” which is pretty loud! But I’m just a kid, so it’s your choice.

Here’s the thing: If you are a huge fan of the book series, more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Joey, age 11 (USA)
Positive—I know most Christians won’t want to see this movie because of the whole “Greek gods” thing, but if you’re not picky this is a pretty cool movie. So if you don’t mind the “gods” thing, and you just have older children, this is a good movie to see. DO NOT TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN! This violence in this movie borders on PG-13, with one or two beheadings; and while the beheading of Medusa isn’t shown onscreen, they do carry her severed head around afterwards, and that’s kinda gross. Otherwise this movie was pretty funny and exciting. I don’t know how it compares to the book, because I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kadie, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I have read all the books in this series and many things were left out!! For one thing… Annabeth is a blonde in the books!!!… But all in all, I think they did a pretty good job adapting it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Hannah Peters, age 13 (USA)
Positive—This is an awesome movie. But the only things offensive in this movie is the suggestive material in it, the violence of cutting heads off of monsters, the scary images, and the language as in a** many times. Plus, there is only one God in reality and no goddess. I read the book and it was better than the movie, but the movie is amazing! It is worth your money if your looking for a movie with a lot of humor and action! I am definitely buying it on DVD!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Diego, age 12 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie very much. I am a huge fan of the books. The movie is really not like the book at all, but it is still good. I would not take any young kid to see this movie, barely any blood is shown except for one scene when little is shown. There is a scene of a women gesturing towards Grover in a bad way… but nothing is shown. The cursing is very mild, only three words. Even though it is dealing with other gods besides the one true God, it is still very, very good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Braden, age 13 (USA)
Neutral—All in all, it was a decent film. Although some of the violence could be intense for younger viewers, it had a well-deserved rating of PG. The Greek gods are nearly always shown negatively, and their offspring (the demigods) were more human than they were god. They weren’t cocky or full of themselves, or even abuse their powers, which was refreshing to see. I didn’t find it offensive to Christians, and it was worth the twenty bucks to take my younger sister for a treat.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Blaire Rose, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—I went to watch this movie with my family and overall we enjoyed it. A couple of parts had some funny humor in it, but I thought the acting was horrible. The effects weren’t bad and I wouldn’t take anyone 12/11 and under for the violence, language and for the greek god stuff. The greek god stuff I think you would just have to explain it to the younger ones for them to understand that the gods weren’t real and how there is only one real God etc.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Hope, age 15 (USA)
Neutral—My sister has read the Percy Jackson books and liked them a lot. Well, this is nothing like the book. “Book is waaaayyyyy better” says my sister. The movie was ok, not that boring to me. In my opinion this movie should’ve been rated PG-13 for suggestive material and violence. There was a lot of cleavage and talk of “hooking up.” It’s appropriate for 13 and up, ok for Christians, the gods were seen in a negative light.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Nathan Kieffer, age 16 (USA)
Positive—“…The Lightning Thief” is now probably one of my favorite movies. Young or sensitive children might find this film scary…but other than that it was clean (except for a few minor profanities).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lili, age 12 (Canada)
Positive—I’m 12 and me, my mom, dad, and fourteen year old sister both went to see this movie. My mom and dad liked it, but my sister and I just completely loved it!!! This movie is suspenseful, funny and a real treat for those who aren’t too young. I will say that there are some scary scenes that would probably be frightening for kids under 12, unless your kid doesn’t mind that. I’d say the age range for people who would like this movie the most is around 12-18 years.

I personally LOVED this movie mostly because of the action and suspense. If your kid can handle “The Spiderwick Chronicles” easily, they should enjoy this movie, considering “The Spiderwick Chronicles” is about or less scarier than “Percy Jackson….” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” was a real hit!! I hope this was helpful to you!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Anna, age 12 (USA)
Neutral—In a word Okay. First of all to be noted, I have read the book series many times, and I really do like it, and have been raving about the movie to my sister and parents. With that said, WARNING to anyone who has read the books--If you compare this film adaptation to the book you will be very, very, very disappointed. But if you don’t, you will like.
more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ian, age 16 (USA)
Positive—I saw the movie and read the book. The book was amazing, the movie wasn’t as good but certainly not bad. It did not fallow the book very well, which I don’t mind, when they do the movie isn’t that great. To the sexual content. Well, I didn’t see a whole lot of it. just some stuff that is in pretty much every movie. it should not be taken as if it is real. If you do its easier to be offended. I am a follower of god, therefore I don’t believe this is real.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joey, age 15 (USA)
Positive—I watched this movie with my little sisters after reading the books, and I have to say I thought they did a really good job with it. If you totally don’t agree with talking about and playing around with the story lines of the Greek gods, this probably wouldn’t be your cup of tea, because of the fact that they referenced mythology through out the whole movie. The movie making quality was good, and the story line was fairly accurate of the book, though some stuff was changed (like Percy’s age).

I do have to say, I was very pleased with the fact that they didn’t heavily rely on the boy/girl relationships that are so big in movies and our culture today. It was a like a breath of fresh air. Altogether, I think it is a good tween to teen movie. (It has some scary stuff for kids probably younger than 10.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sara, age 17 (USA)
Negative—I found this film piontless and disturbing. …And I found, believe it or not, this film more offensive than Harry Potter. …This movie isn’t worth your time or money.…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jessica, age 17 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—My negative comments are only based on my experience with this movie. My husband and I took our 7 and 8 years olds last night. My son, 7, repeatedly mentioned he was scared and halfway into the scene with Medusa he wanted to leave. He and I left the movie at that point. My daughter and husband finished the movie but on the way home cried, that she wished she didn’t watch it because she is scared. I feel that this should have a PG-13 rating. The dramatic are different from movies such as Star Wars, Prince Caspian. The description of the movie on this site is correct. Although the violence wasn’t the problem I should have heeded the notation of “scary”. Because of Jesus we don’t have to live in fear. We have claimed the promises of peace in Jesus and we slept in peace.
—Laura, age 44 (USA)