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”
Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Family, Teens, Adults
Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy Family Kids Adaptation
Year of Release:
February 12, 2010 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: June 29, 2010
Lightning in the Bible
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
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
“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.
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:
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 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.