Who’s In It: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Kevin McKidd, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman, Sean Bean, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Melina Kanakaredes, Joe Pantoliano
The Basics: Struggling high school student Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) gets a big surprise when he learns he’s the bastard son of the Greek god Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), which explains why Percy has a thing for swimming pools and, apparently, why he’s dyslexic. (He’s hardwired to think in ancient Greek, see?) When Percy is framed for the theft of Zeus’s all-powerful lightning bolt, he hides out in a summer camp populated by “Xena, Warrior Princess” stunt doubles to learn more about his otherworldly heritage. But before he can come to terms with his daddy issues and complete his demigod training at Hogwart’s School of Witchcr- I mean, “Camp Half-Blood,” Percy sets off with his satyr BFF Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, on a cross-country trip to free his mother from the clutches of Hades (Steve Coogan).
What’s The Deal: Though it moves from scene to scene at a workmanlike clip, Percy Jackson feels like a boat without a captain. Blame director Chris Columbus (helmer of Home Alone and two *cough* Harry Potter films *cough*), who never quite gets comfortable juggling the film’s myriad characters, grandiose-but-stale CGI effects, and PG-friendly battle scenes, speeding headlong through endless plot points rather than taking the time to make any of them matter. Worse, he fails to rein in more than a few of his veteran actors while letting others give embarrassingly wooden performances. But I’ll tell you why none of this matters: Logan Lerman is yummy. My inappropriate crush on the just-turned-18-year old brings out the giddy middle schooler in me, and I’m not ashamed to tell you that simply watching Lerman on screen for almost two hours made the modern-day Perseus-meets-ancient monsters of myth silliness (i.e. go-go-gadget pen-swords and flying Converses), the unsound circular logic, and the psychedelic Vegas trip-out set to the sounds of Lady Gaga all completely worth it.
More on Logan Lerman, Cougar Bait: I’ve had my eye on the teen actor since he starred on the WB show “Jack & Bobby,” and in films like The Butterfly Effect, 3:10 to Yuma, and last year’s Gamer. He resembles a slightly younger Ian Somerhalder, another pretty boy who’s got that charismatic-mischievous thing down pat and is a much better actor than you’d think. As the incredulous hero of Percy Jackson, Lerman brings a roguish-yet-innocent sparkle to the proceedings, the kind that could get audiences to follow him into a full-fledged franchise – if only said franchise was the future Spider-Man reboot instead of novelist Rick Riordan’s Olympians series.
By The Beard Of Zeus, Things In Percy Jackson That Amused Me That Will Probably Escape Younger Viewers: Brandon T. Jackson’s sex-crazed satyr, Steve Coogan’s version of Hades by way of Ed Hardy, Rosario Dawson’s Persephone as a horny underworld housewife, teen-on-teen sword fighting as foreplay, the idea that the Greek gods sired hundreds of illegitimate demigod children who all have child abandonment issues.
The Single Craziest Performance In The Entire Film: Uma Thurman as a Gloria Swanson-esque Medusa, who lives in the real world as a garden decorations retailer and cackles and drools all over Logan Lerman when he refuses to look her in the eyes. Thurman not only chews the scenery, she devours it, digests it, poops it out, and eats it again in her campiest role since Batman & Robin’s Poison Ivy.