Combustible Celluloid
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With: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Melina Kanakaredes, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman, Julian Richings, Bonita Friedericy
Written by: Craig Titley, based on a novel by Rick Riordan
Directed by: Chris Columbus
MPAA Rating: PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language
Running Time: 119
Date: 02/10/2010

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

1 Star (out of 4)

Gods and Ponderous

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Yet another in a desperate attempt to create another Harry Potter-style franchise, this one even manages to snatch up the man who helmed the original hit, Chris Columbus. Though it should be remembered that Columbus' reverential, lifeless adaptations left that series for dead, and it was up to others to breathe some life into it. Based on a book by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a little bit worse than lifeless; it's clueless, like a Medusa running around with her head cut off.

Overwritten, overacted and over-effected, these elements butt heads at every turn, rather than working together. Even the wondrous Catherine Keener, who can usually save a bad movie, gets lost. As Medusa, poor Uma Thurman even conjures up reminders of her "Poison Ivy" character from the infamous Batman & Robin (1997).

Typical teenage screwup Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) learns that he's actually the son of Poseidon, born of a human mother (played by Keener). Unfortunately everyone thinks he has stolen Zeus's lightning bolt, prompting the start of a war in just 14 days' time. Why 14 days? That's just the first of a series of simple, stupid questions that the movie never answers. Then comes an ad-hoc road trip through Nashville and Las Vegas, accompanied by hottie Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and a comical black sidekick (Brandon T. Jackson), who might have escaped from a Jack Benny sketch. Eventually they discover the entrance to hell, and it's the place where crappy movies are made.

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