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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review

Movies.com Critics

2.0

Dave White Profile

Thou Shalt Not Ask Why Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    47

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Has all the CGI sorcery of a Harry Potter pic, but none of the magic.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    So has "Percy Jackson" successfully cracked the "Potter" code? In terms of overall quality, not even close. Still, the film's carefully calibrated mixture of CGI-enhanced spectacle, diverting (and blood-free) action sequences and adolescent angst could make it a modest hit with the eight to 12-year-old set.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Director Chris Columbus has fun with this goofy premise, but as always I am distracted by the practical aspects of the story. Does it bother the Greek gods that no one any longer knows or cares that they rule the world? What are the genetic implications of human/god interbreeding?

    Read Full Review

  • See all Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Too scary for younger fans of the popular books.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is an aged-up version of the Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief book that Common Sense Media recommends for readers 9 and up. Young hero Percy is now in high school rather than middle school; his satyr friend Grover loves the ladies; and a trip that Percy, Grover, and Annabeth take to a casino has a nightclub, a full bar, and trippy lotus flowers that all the patrons ingest (in the book, they play video and arcade games endlessly). Plus, the violence level is high for a PG-rated movie: Monsters are very frightning, especially the demonic ones -- like Hades aflame with skeletal wings and a fury sent to destroy Percy -- characters (monster and human) are impaled and slashed at with swords, and Percy's mom is crushed by a minotaur and taken to the underworld. After Medusa's head is severed, it's dragged along on the road trip to Hades.

  • Families can talk about the book vs. the movie. So much was changed here -- the characters' ages, the plot, the places they visit, etc. Was it still the movie you were hoping for?
  • Talk about the scare factor. Did anything make you hide under your chair? What mythological monsters would you least like to see in the real world? Does fantasy violence have the same impact as more realistic violence?
  • Who are your favorite hero characters? Do they usually have humble beginnings, thinking they're nobody special, or do they always know what they're destined for? How many of your favorite heroes are girls? Boys?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Along with all the positive messages of family loyalty and perseverance, comes the negatives: absentee parents, disobedient teens, teens who express dislike of their parents, and some rewards for negative behavior. The underworld depicted seems like a place of torment for everyone. There's also some very reckless teen driving -- Grover falls asleep at the wheel and almost gets hit by a semi, and later teens speed down the freeway in a sports car.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Percy is a poor student coping with dyslexia and ADHD who discovers his heroic qualities. He also adores his mom and does everything to save her. While Grover is a good friend, he's also played as a womanizer. Annabeth is a strong female character who's great with a sword. But the fierce friendship that these three forge makes a much stronger impression in the book.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Battles with some mythological monsters are quite frightening. Some creatures are also demonic-looking -- like a gruesome fury, a giant Hades with skeletal wings coming out of a campfire, and scores of tormented fiery souls. Others are just large and violent, like a minotaur and a hydra with many snapping, fire-breathing heads. Medusa's head of snakes is severed and carted around. A car is thrown, limbs are hacked by swords, and two characters -- one monster, one human -- are impaled violently. There's lots of fighting amongst campers, with some blood (though Percy magically heals in water).

  • sex false2

    Sex: Gabe slaps Percy's mom's behind in front of Percy. Grover is all about the ladies -- he has a horde around him at a casino and asks jokingly, "Which one did I propose to?" after he tells Percy he's getting married. Persephone kisses Hades passionately, then turns her attentions to Grover saying, "I haven't had a satyr [pause] visit before."

  • language false2

    Language: "Ass" a few times. "Highway to Hell" plays on the radio as the characters head for the underworld. A few uses of "God" as an exclamation. Plus insults like "bald-headed freak" and "little brat" exchanged between Percy and his stepfather.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Converse All-Stars should have their own credit (even though the kind with wings that the movie's characters fight in aren't for sale). An iPod is also an important part of the story. Also shown: a Mac laptop and a sports car. Plus shout-outs to The French Connection (original) and Mick Jagger.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lotus flowers at the Lotus Casino are offered constantly to guests; they have a mind-altering effect that make patrons loopy and unaware of the outside world. Gabe drinks beer or asks for a beer in every one of his scenes. There are fruity-looking drinks at a bar in the Lotus Casino around teens.

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