Thursday, February 18, 2010

MovieSet: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Nope. No more, Chris Columbus. You are I are no longer cool. I was just indifferent to you for the longest time, but now we are enemies. Everybody mocked me for looking forward to Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which wins the award for the most bloated title. The trailer had some cool shots and Greek mythology is always awesome. So where did it all go wrong?

I have not read the books, but I have heard a lot of critically positive things about it. Ultimately that is irrelevant considering adaptations have to stand on their own. If something doesn’t make sense in the movie, then it’s the movie’s fault. You must either fix the books or just properly tell their story. What is the story? Percy Jackson appears to be just a normal kid. As we all know, normal kids can sit at the bottom of a swimming pool for 7 minutes and mentally translates every line of English into Greek. It turns out he is a demigod which means his mother (the bored Catherine Keener) was intimate with the god Poseidon. I found this fact to be amazing. She is now hooked up with Joe Pantoliano who is the most exaggerated bad husband ever. We know this because almost all of his lines are “Get me a beer!” (I do not believe that Pantoliano knew the camera was rolling though.) Why doesn’t Catherine Keener’s character just occasionally scream “I had sex with a god! Get your own beer!” Clearly I would have written this character differently.

Back to the plot, Zeus is so angry. It turns out someone stole his lightning bolt and he instantly blames Percy Jackson. Why? Well…that’s a good question. He says that Percy has 14 days to get it back to him or he shall declare war against…everybody I think. Why 14 days? No matter. So everyone thinks Percy is the lightning thief which means various mythological creatures are after him. One murders his mother! Back to me for a second. I was the only one in the theatre who reacted to this. I looked around at all the kids, families, and my friends to make sure we all saw the same thing. The movie just acted like this was no big deal and so did everyone else. Percy is not even fazed. He immediately goes from the crime scene to Camp Hogwarts to play capture the flag. Why in the world would Columbus not want this to be a sympathetic moment? It’s simple: he does not care at all about characters or story. He’s just like Michael Bay except not obviously sexist and racist.

This entire movie is lazy and lifeless. That is aggravating because this could have been wonderful. The cast is awesome: Steve Coogan is Hades, Sean Bean is Zeus, Rosario Dawson is Persephone, Uma Thurman is Medusa, Kevin McKidd is Poseidon and Pierce Brosnan is a centaur! Even the kids have charisma. Their performances aren’t very good, but I blame Columbus for that too. Look at the Harry Potter films. He made the first two, which I consider to be bad films. Those leads were young, but once a real director came in they suddenly became really talented. Not a coincidence!

This film was ruined. The dialog is pathetic and there are way too many plot holes to comprehend. Clearly Columbus doesn’t care. He has no imagination. There is a scene when our leads are in a casino. (Just…don’t ask.) Guess what song is played when they drive into Vegas? Of course it’s Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation” because we’ve never seen that connection before. Don’t worry, “Poker Face” showed up minutes later despite the fact the characters were playing craps. Why have a poker face for that? This movie is riddled with cliché after cliché. Any other director would have treated this with respect. If this was a first time offense, it may be acceptable. No more Columbus. We’re through.

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