Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: movie review

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Inspired by Greek mythology, ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ is a fun, fast-moving adventure spun around the life of demigod kids.

20th Century Fox/AP
In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, Logan Lerman is shown in a scene from, 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.'

Chris Columbus, who directed the first two “Harry Potter” films, takes on similar material with this adaptation of the first of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series.

Percy (Logan Lerman) is a high school misfit, who discovers that his absentee dad is Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), thanks to an Atlantic City fling with Mom (Catherine Keener). Zeus thinks Percy has stolen his lightning bolt, so the boy is whisked off to Camp Half Blood to train with all the other demigod kids. Soon he takes off on a quest to both save his abducted mom and convince Zeus that he’s innocent, accompanied by his satyr best friend (Brandon T. Jackson) and Aphrodite’s hot spawn (Alexandra Daddario).

The story’s connections to Greek myth are not exactly consistent, but often amusing, nonetheless. Percy is Perseus, Medusa (Uma Thurman) sells statuary at Auntie Em’s Garden Emporium, the Land of the Lotus Eaters is Las Vegas, and Hades... Well, why spoil it?

Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Sean Bean, Joe Pantoliano, and a bunch of other familiar faces are used effectively. Percy sometimes acts like a bit of a jerk, but he gets over it. The whole thing is piffle, but it moves fast enough to stay entertaining. (Be sure to stay through the first couple minutes of the credits to catch a nice payoff scene.) Grade: B- (Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language.)

Peter Rainer, the Monitor's movie critic, is on vacation.

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