( Max score: 100 )
Based on the popular book series by Rick Riordan, the film follows trouble-prone Percy Jackson who finds himself having problems in high school but that's the least of his challenge. It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus have walked out of the pages of his Greek mythology texts and into his life, and they're not happy - Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Learning he is the son of Poseidon, the young teen finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, and embarks on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.
This film is an adaptation based upon the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning thief. In the story Percy is introduced as a seemingly typical teenager that struggles a bit in school (due to dyslexia) and at home with a deadbeat stepfather that isn't nice to him or his mother Sally. It is obvious to Percy that he is somehow different but he sees it as a sort of disadvantage/handicap that he can't specifically ascribe to. Things come into focus while Percy is on a class trip to a museum in the city. During a tour of the Greek Mythology wing Percy is attacked by a Fury, a mythical flying creature that demands he return Zeus' lightning bolt. The creature is driven off with the help of Percy's best friend Grover and wheelchair bound teacher Mr. Brunner. It is at this point that Percy learns that he is a demigod, the fruits of a union between a Greek god and a human. He learns that Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen and that he is the suspected thief. Grover reveals that he is not only Percy's best friend but is in fact a satyr (part human part goat) in disguise that is his assigned protector. Mr. Brunner informs Percy that the only place he will be safe until the lightning bolt is recovered is Camp Half-Blood a secret training facility for demigods. They make their way to the camp but not before facing a few challenges, the biggest of which involves an encounter with a large and rather nasty Minotaur (mythical horned beast). It is imperative that the true thief be discovered and that the master lightning bolt is returned within 14 days or there will be a cataclysmic battle between the gods. The problem is that no one knows who the thief is. This is compounded by the disappearance of Percy's mother Sally who is later found to be the prisoner of the Greek god Hades, master of the underworld (hell), who seeks to exchange her for the lightning bolt. If Percy is to find the thief, save his mother, and return Zeus' lightning bolt before the deadline he will need to rely on his as yet untapped abilities as the son of Greek God Poseidon, and the assistance of protector/buddy Grover along with new found friend and demigod Annabeth, the daughter of Greek Goddess Athena.
My wife frequently tells me that I am a big kid especially when it comes to my fondness for fantasy themed films. Growing up I liked movies based or focused on Greek mythology. The original Clash of the titans remains a personal favorite. Prior to the release of this film I had never heard of Percy Jackson. He was born from writer Rick Riordan's need to come up with an original bedtime story for his son. Rick loves Greek mythology and had run out of existing material so at his son's insistence came up with Percy's adventures. Like the books this film is aimed at a fairly specific target audience however it can easily appeal to anyone that enjoys fantasy based adventure stories. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have but as noted earlier this stuff is right up my alley. The modern day spin works pretty well although its elementary nature is apparent. Those expecting a complex narrative, extravagant/graphically depicted battles or deeper themes will be disappointed. What you do get is a good baseline of primary characters and a host of decent secondary characters that support the story's elements. I think that the attempts at drama feel forced and the dialogue can be a little trite but things rarely descend to what I would describe as cheesy or corny. The action sequences are fun and there are varying levels of peril to keep things moving. Fox seems to have spared no expense on the production as there are lots of special effects and a decent array of well known actors that fill in smaller yet integral roles. I tend to like Chris Columbus' directorial style and this was no different. The film moves along quickly but the pacing isn't frenetic or hurried and the visuals and cinematography are engaging and purposeful. With this being based on the first book in the series there is obviously room for a sequel (s). I think this came off well enough to warrant consideration but who knows? Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The lightning thief probably won't satisfy diehard action/adventure fans but it held my interest for two hours and based upon the quality of it's high definition presentation I will more than likely revisit it again soon.
The rating is for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material and mild language.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The lightning thief comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This is an excellent video presentation that that boasts image quality that is indicative of a newer release film coming to Blu-ray. Resolution is generally strong as images have crisp definition and lucid clarity. Objects onscreen appear dimensionally strong with exquisite rendering that discloses subtle minutia captured by the camera's lens during close ups. The level of sharpness fluctuated some however this is attributable the extensive CGI used and I never felt it adversely affected the quality of what I was seeing. The range of colors used appears vibrant with warm vivid hues and delineated textures that look great in high definition. Fleshtones are naturally rendered with warm accents that give them lifelike tonality. Blacks are inky and noise free with discernibly deep and variant shades that enhance the films many dark sequences. Contrast is elevated slightly which gives the image a dynamic quality that occasionally overdrives whites but rarely infringes upon fidelity. The deep shadows, gradational grays, delineated colors, and inky blacks looked terrific on my large screen. I didn't see any overt signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise.
I often hear from many enthusiasts who rate the quality of an action based movie soundtrack by the amount, level, and depth of the bass it produces. There are a select few titles that are considered to be the go to for reference quality bass. I suspect that after experiencing this lossless DTS-HD soundtrack there will be a new kid on the block as this presentation rocked, literally. I just love the film's opening moments which begin with a short barrage of cloud based thunder/lightning strikes that traverse the room and are accompanied by deep, authoritative bass. The following segment begins with Poseidon rising out of the ocean depths near a pier. He stands around 50 feet tall and as he exits the water his giant footsteps produce some of the most tactile low frequency effects I have ever felt in my room. This type of palpably rich and room shaking bass was the case throughout the film. Bass heads will have a new demonstration disc to show off the capabilities of their subwoofers. The response in my room during several sequences attained infrasonic depths that could easily be classified as skin tingling. The fight sequence with the giant dragon creature in the Parthenon replica in Tennessee is a blitzkrieg of swirling effects and rafter raising LFE. This soundtrack will not only test your subwoofer's ability to handle sub hertz content but how well it handles those frequencies at higher level SPLs because the LFE channel is mixed on the hot side.
In addition to the noteworthy bass response this is an aggressive sound design that makes extensive use of the entire surround platform. There is a wealth of discrete and ambient related effects that envelope and revolve around the listening position. It generates a sound field that is aurally stimulating as you are transported into the onscreen action. Christophe Beck's more traditional (orchestrated) music score is a perfect mate for the spirit of the film as it is often blended with action sequences and sounds superb. Dialogue is clearly rendered and variably distinctive. Occasionally I would have preferred that it be a bit more prominent within the mix but there was never an issue with intelligibility. This is an invigorating and dynamically potent surround mix that features high level detail, excellent directional correlation, and prodigious (but slightly overdriven) bass extension that is guaranteed to break your lease. If you have a system that you think is it up to the task, crank this one up to reference, but remember I won't be held responsible for any damage to your system
Based on the novel by Rick Riordan Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The lightning thief is an enjoyable modern day spin on the Greek God mythos. Its elementary storyline and tame action elements may not appeal to diehard genre fans but its big budget production and well placed cast help make it a bit more fun. Speaking of fun, those that enjoy rip roaring surround sound are sure to get a jolt out of its lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on Blu-ray which features prodigious levels of bass and room filling effects that make for great demonstration material. Add solid video quality along with an average bonus feature set, which includes a digital copy and DVD version of the film and this makes for a worthwhile rental that may just finds its way into your collection.