Friday, November 18, 2011

Movie Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians


Percy Jackson & The Olympians

The Rating and Cautions
PG; for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.

The Credits
Directed by Chris Columbus, starring Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, and Steve Coogan. 

The Summary
It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves. Written by 20th Century Fox

(courtesy of imdb.com)

The Director's Take (Pros and Cons being technical things.)
Okay, okay. 

Even though I've read all the books, loved the books, and knew that the movie was a fail of an adaption, I still had to see it. 

And to be honest........ I know someone out there's gonna kill me for saying this....

...I mostly sorta liked it. 

-Pros 
For starters, I thought the scene in the garden emporium with Medusa was brilliant. Even though I knew how it turned out, when Percy, Anaabeth, and Grover are running around looking for each other, I totally was on my toes, freaking out like I was there with them. :P

I also really dug the capture the flag game sequence, particularly the start of it- that was the closest connection to my memory of the book and it made me smile. 

Another scene I particularly liked was right when the Fury flies away in the beginning in the museum. I seriously liked Percy's reaction. It tickled me.

In fact, I think I burst out laughing a total of five separate times- which I wasn't expecting to do. I don't remember when, though, except for when Grover's mocking the ferryman about "dying and coming back" and "burning money, we're in a recession, it's treason" line. *laughs*

Also, the CG, while a little obvious, wasn't in-your-face and distracting. 

Honestly, I liked the casting as whole: I was surprised by Logan Lerman and Jake Abel (who played Luke), I thought they were great- and Brandon T. Jackson's character reminded me of an old friend from school, except for the... um..... womanizing thing.... *disgusted face* Yeah. I can't remember how close that was to the books, but I wasn't cool with it. 

But back to the positive things. 

The scripting has some great strengths: one of them was the dialog. Except for Persephone's, though part of that may have been delivery, the dialog wasn't cheesy, overdone, or underdone for that matter. 
Another was pacing. It kept me on my toes, and I felt like it wasn't too rushed. 

-Cons
The casting except for McKidd and Coogan I didn't like for the gods- and even Poseidon could have been better cast I think. Basically, I thought the overall representation of Olympus and the gods in general was a fail. 


Yeah. I liked these guys:



These guys?



Yeah, didn't do so much for me. 

Except for the underworld- it gave me the creeps- probably because I was able to put those images into the context of real hell- and I swear, right in the middle of that movie, seeing that first sequence in the underworld, I started praying for people I knew were unsaved because it freaked me enough. 

Yes, as a matter of fact I do have an evangelical gift :P

I also felt like there was ample room to divulge deeper into 1) character and character development 2) all the intricacies of being a demigod and little quirks that made the books special (i.e., I was waiting for Percy to experiment with his pen/sword, and maybe chucking it off into the forest and then reaching into his pocket and pulling it out and making some "This is awesome!' face :P), and 3) keeping the plot closer to the book, that they didn't use. It would have still worked, people.

There was a lot that made it through the translation from page to screen- and I'm grateful for what did. But it could have definitely been more. 

It helped to have read the books because I could fill in so many gaps xD

Last thing: I didn't like Persephone's outfit. Too revealing. *blech*


Oh, last last thing: I didn't really dig the (brief) suggestive humor in the Parthenon in Nashville. (I'm talking about Percy climbing up the statue, for those who have seen it.)
I mean, I could deal with it because hey, did seem like a plausible occurrence in that instance, but still....  so not necessary.  

The Cameos (Biblical Application)
The parallels between the gods and the true God were few and far between.... but I could find a few, and were encouraged by them. 


For instance, all the times the demigods can hear their parents speaking to them, and the possible paralleling of the spiritual battle to all the stuff that they encounter like the Minotaur and the Lotus Casino- things that aren't in order with normal life- things that could be examples of challenges in the spiritual battle. Of course, that may be going a little too deep considering...


Of course, I was even more encouraged by the things that were not similar between the Olympians and God. 


It is noted by Luke, I think, that the gods are selfish and are only care about themselves. Our God died to save us :)


These gods can fall for the same fleshly lusts that people fall for: that's why there are demigods. But our God is righteous and cannot sin. 


And as I noted before, the sight of the underworld in the film made me think of two things: the reality of hell, and the fact that in that Greek mythology universe (among others), you had to work and be good to achieve an afterlife better than that hell- and that even now, people believe that lie. 


Boy, am I grateful that my salvation isn't in my hands. And the one marked thing this movie did for me was to remind me that I need to make today a day of salvation for someone, be it by prayer or direct evangelizing. 

-Overall Opinion
Truly, I was glad I watched it, and while it's not a movie I would want to watch all the time, I definitely wouldn't mind seeing it again in the future. 

However, I have a serious issue with what they did to Grover's character- he was epic except for the womanizing thing (NOT COOL). 

The language was definitely way less than I was excepting, though, which was a plus. 

The fact that they were toting Medusa's head along everywhere may gross some people out. I personally am a strong objector of decapitation and avoid seeing it if I can, but because it was Medusa and all, I was actually able to deal with it this time. 


It was pretty exciting overall, though was a bit of a letdown at the end. The climax was rather.. un-climax-y. :|
And they could have at least hinted at a "to be continued" like Eragon did, and Jurassic Park and other films. I was waiting for the "Yes, there's a sequel!" hint, but it never came. 


And also, I felt like even though the reactions of our demigods (especially Percy's) were realistic, and they did a fair job of portraying our heroes in general, I wasn't reeled in and thrust into the shoes of Percy and his comrades. I felt like an outsider watching instead of being with them and feeling their emotions. I only felt nervous when they were running around avoiding Medusa xD

The Closing Line 



Against the movie: lame adapting, shallow backstory/plot, weak ending; plus extra-lame scene in the middle of the credits (it shows how Gabe got turned to stone by Medusa's head: the one thing I strongly objected in the book. I skipped through the credits so I wouldn't have to watch that part. -_-).

In favor: great pacing, definitely action packed but not overwhelmingly so; great score and overall casting; generally strong dialog and editing. The SFX weren't bad either. 

So, while I wouldn't recommend to just anyone, and it's certainly not a remarkable film in any respect, those that are interested in this sort of thing would like it. And if you like an action/fantasy-ish movie, and you can get past the irritating flirt-aspect of Grover and the Gorgon head being toted around, then you'll probably enjoy it. 

6 comments:

Amaranthine said...

XD

I burst out laughing when I saw that they were making a SEQUEL. Or crying. Whatever.

I agree with your dislikes, but the casting was fine in appearance, he looked like how I imagined Percy, except he couldn't act at all. And neither could "Annabeth".

And there was way too much suggestive material for a book that was marketed to ELEVEN YEAR OLDS.

And they took out all the awesome people and things that made the books so funny. You saw the video I posted on the adaption, right?

RR had no part in the making of the movie, he didn't even see it. :( If AF turns out like this, my life will be over.

That is, if they make an AF movie. There hasn't been an update in the past five years.

(goes to bang my head against the wall)

The Director said...

Yup, I saw your video. And I excepted to feel the same way you did.

But I didn't. Probably 'cause I haven't read the books in a year.

Corey P. said...

Cool review. I've never seen this one (nor have I read the books), and and I'm not sure that I really want. Still, who knows? Perhaps I'll pop it in the queue sometime. At any rate, your review = awesome. :)

I had to laugh when you said you were a "strong objector" to decapitation. LOL! Isn't everybody? I mean, who wants to lose their head? :D

Just messin' with ya; I know what you mean. I don't particularly have an issue with watching it (in a movie), but no, it's not exactly a pleasant sight.

Speaking of which, I once overheard one person saying she preferred widescreen when watching Braveheart because you get to see a decapitated head fly farther across the field during one of the battle screens. When I watched it, I saw what she meant... yeah... not pretty... :D

Corey P. said...

Ooops... that's supposed to be "battle scenes"...

The Director said...

@Corey
Thanks!

You'd probably like the books, not sure about the movie... but it wouldn't hurt to give it a go someday ;)

Yeah, after watching/reading too many things a few years ago (i.e. C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength and a few French Revolution-themed films, I've been seriously scarred by head severing. It literally makes me sick :|

And the Braveheart head thing is sick too.... some people, good grief...... *grimaces*

Hannah Joy said...

Oho, lucky you about That Hideous Strength. TOTALLY know what you mean. I actually really really liked That Hideous Strength, but yeah....the head part....*wipes brow*