Based upon the novels, "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" ("Percy Jackson" from here on out) is likely an attempt to start up another "Harry Potter"-esque franchise. The result is a film that's sometimes bizarre, sometimes quite inspired, sometimes goofy and generally rather enjoyable.
The film stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, a young man who finds that he thinks best when sitting underwater for as much as several minutes at a time. While apparently no news crews have become aware of this, his friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) cheers him on.
After being attacked by a substitute teacher that turns into some sort of demon, Percy soon finds out that he's the child of Poseidon and that Grover is his protector. It also turns out that Zeus (Sean Bean) and Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) have recently met in order to discuss the fact that Zeus has realized his lightning bolt is gone and he's accusing Percy of taking it (a weird note: it's never explained why the Gods believe it's Percy who's taken it, and if they're Gods, you would think they would know.)
Anyways, Percy is taken to to a camp ("X-Men"?) where he finds out that his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. Percy takes the fact that his friend is half goat and his teacher is half horse awfully calmly. He also meets Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), the daughter of Athena, who - of course - initially doesn't like Percy very much, then warms up to him.
On a quest to get his mother (Catherine Keener) back from Hades (Steve Coogan), Percy, Annabeth and Grover head across the country to collect pearls that will allow them to return from the underworld (the start of their journey has "Highway to Hell" on the soundtrack).
The various stops around the country picking up the pearls are rather inspired (although a moment in Vegas where the characters eat drugged lotus flowers that keep them having fun in Vegas is a little surprising to see in a family film, although this is a film where the kids have to visit Hades, so...) In another stop, Medusa (Uma Thurman) appears to have taken up residence in an abandoned garden store.
The performances are fine enough, although Lerman is a little flat as Percy. Daddario is a little more dynamic, while Thurman, Coogan and others offer fine supporting efforts. While rather sizable patches of the film are pretty entertaining, the film as a whole rushes past, with a number of plot holes and story points that are brought up and then forgotten. The film's visual effects are also mostly satisfactory, but there are a few FX moments that are a little rougher.
Overall, "Percy Jackson" manages to be - despite its flaws - mostly entertaining and enjoyable family entertainment.
VIDEO: "Percy Jackson" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) by 20th Century Fox. Sharpness and detail often impress, as the picture looked consistently crisp and detailed. Small object detail and depth to the image were also usually above-average. Aside from a touch of grain and a slight instance or two of edge enhancement, the presentation looked pristine. Colors looked clean and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 audio presentation certainly provided a lively and aggressive audio experience throughout the picture. Surround use was effective, with discrete effects and ambience coming from the rear speakers creating an exciting, enveloping experience. Audio quality was terrific, with crisp, well-recorded dialogue and tight, punchy sound effects. Overall, this was one of the more thrilling audio presentations I've heard in recent months.
EXTRAS: Surprisingly, there are no commentaries offered with the film. Instead, we get a series of minor supplemental features, starting with " The Book Comes to Life", discussing adapting the book. "Inside Camp Half-Blood", "On the Set With Brandon T Jackson", "Composing for the Gods: A Conversation with Christophe Beck" and "Meet the Demigods" are other short featurettes included on this edition, as well. We also get a set of deleted scenes, a digital copy edition of the film and two interactive features: "Secrets of the Gods" and "Discover Your Powers".
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Percy Jackson" manages to be - despite its flaws - mostly entertaining and enjoyable family entertainment. The Blu-Ray edition offers excellent audio/video quality, as well as a handful of minor supplements.
The Film B