What do you get if you cross Clash of the Titans with Harry Potter? You get this – a great mix of ancient Greek deities and modern sensibilities in a kids' film that is really an awful lot of fun.
Percy Jackson (Lerman) is your average 17-year-old high-schooler who lives with his mum (Keener) and his rotten stepfather (Pantoliano). He's never actually met his real father, because his real dad is actually Poseidon (McKidd), the god of the seas. Poseidon is involved in a skirmish with Zeus (Bean), whose lightning bolt has been stolen, and he's convinced Poseidon's son is the thief.
When his life is threatened by a fury, Percy is moved from home to a training camp for demi-gods, the offspring of the Greek legends. He is helped by his best buddy Grover (Jackson), a satyr, and falls for pretty Annabeth (Daddario), the daughter of Athena, while being mentored by Chiron, a centaur (Brosnan). They embark on a quest to recover the lightning bolt to prevent a war between the gods that could devastate the world. Their journey becomes a cross-country road trip from New Jersey to Tennesee, Las Vegas ... and hell itself. Along the way they behead the evil Medusa (Thurman), battle the deadly Hydra and confront the dastardly Hades (Coogan) before finally making their way to Mount Olympus, situated high above New York City.
As a kid, I loved reading about Greek and Roman mythology, and was entranced by those wonderful Harryhausen films such as Jason and The Argonauts, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief is a terrific family film in the same vein as those classics. Like Harry Potter, it's based on a popular series of childrens' books, and it revels in playing around with the magic and mythology. Everyone involved seems to be having a good time, from Brosnan playing the front half of a centaur to Thurman vamping it up as a to-die-for Medusa. There are great special effects, and enough smarts in the script to keep both children and adults entertained.
EXTRAS ★★★ This is the Triple Play Edition, which gives you three copies of the film: Blu-ray, DVD and a digital version (for computers and iPods and such). The extras themselves are decent enough if not outstanding: eight deleted scenes; Secrets of the Gods, an interactive "lesson", if you will, about Greek mythology; a "Discover Your Powers" quiz; the five-minute featurette Inside Camp Half-Blood; the five-minute behind-the-scenes featurette On Set with Brandon T Jackson; and the three-minute featurete Meet The Demigods. Plus there are Live Extras, accessed online if your Blu-ray player has an internet connection: the theatrical trailer; plus the featurettes Demigods at Work and Play: Inside the Lotus Land Casino, and The Book Comes to Life.