Percy Jackson & The Lightening Thief

Now I am told this is a movie based on a children’s book, so I am trying to be kind about it. But if I were to have my way, I would ban kids from watching this movie.

They managed to assemble an interesting cast. Pretty boys, blue-eyed teen girls, the horses, actors who have been known to do some fine work. They managed to get the money to blow up cars and buildings. What they forgot was that this is based on mythology. That means they cannot squeeze in those monster legends in nooks and crannies of NewYork. It might’ve worked with Harry Potter in London but it really, really missed the target here.

So you’ve Percy Jackson – who is apparently supposed to be a loser but all you see him doing is sitting in a pool for apparently 7 minutes – and has no loser traits. And then you’ve Poseidon and Zeus fighting because oops, someone has stolen Zeus’ lightening bolt and the God is mad mad mad. Of course, being a God, he cannot see who has stolen the little bolt and is ready to start a war for it with all the other gods, though none of the other gods are actually able to steal it because of their own laws. Who CAN steal it is the semi-mortal kids of the Gods. You see, apparently these Gods came down to earth once in a while to have a fling with mortal women. And then the women get pregnant and the Gods have to return because they can’t see the kids. Another law.

So before you know it, Percy – who aptly is in a museum on a field trip about all these gods – with the professor being an unshaved Pierce Brosnan (what has Mr.Bond come down to!!!) lecturing and calling upon Percy for all answers – is attacked by some creature who wants the bolt.

Percy runs, along with his friend (who turns out to be a Sader – half goat, half man) and they manage to get his mom as well, who is busy serving beer and nachos to her second, stinky husband and his pals “can’t you see your mother is servicing me and my friends” (Was that line intentional?)

So while they are escaping on a nice peaceful meadow road, the mom thinks it is finally time to tell him that his father was a God and she gets kidnapped by a minotaur. And Percy goes into “camp for the half gods”. Welcome to summer camp. And there you have people practising sword fights – because maybe swords can do what a bullet cant, like chop your head off – and archery and certain archaic things like that.

Of course, the mom forgot to tell Percy his father’s name (such a minor detail) and so Percy learns 1) his father is poseidon, which is why he could stay underwater for hours 2) His mom stayed with drunks because “his stink was so bad that it hid the heavenly aura of Percy” (Watch out Axe, you’ve competition!)

So Percy has a very Bollywood-realization moment “meri maa meri waje se uske saat thi?!” sob sob

Well, in english then “My mom was with him because of me” Sob Sob. Sounds better in hindi.

And he learns all of this from hey! the wheelchair Brosnan, who is actually a centaur but somehow managed to hide that whole horse’s body in a small wheel chair. But we aren’t really looking into the details.

So cut out some other things, in about an hour (which is 5 minutes in the movie), Percy discovers his heritage, that he is an incredibly skilled sword fighter who can handle anyone without training, that he heals with water and his mom is being held alive in Hell and that he has to go rescue her. Naturally, the Sader and the love-interest, blue-eyed Athena’s daughter, go along. And of course, the question is how do they get to hell.

Easy, ask Luke (is the hint to Lucifer again a coincidence?) who is the son of the messenger – because apparently gods need messengers too. Luke hates his daddy as well and is into all the latest tech stuff, and of course, he also managed to break into his dad’s house once – nobody explains how exactly you break into a God’s house, even if you manage to find it – and steal a few things. Like Converse shows with wings (I see the Gods do follow fashion) and a shield and a map which apparently has 3 pearls which help you to return from Hell.

So the threesome find the pearls – running into Medusa by the way – Uma Thurman in what is possibly the movie’s best moments. The creepy snakes around the head beat anybody’s imagination. Creepy to the core! So our dear, brave Percy manages to chop her head off by looking at her reflection in an iPod. I knew those shiny things were useful for more than music! He defeats a 3 headed monster and beats the ‘plan’ of someone who wants to stop them from getting to Hell by giving them some Lotus flowers. Slick but hey! he has a God for a protector, so the guy does make it to Hell.

Which, by the way, is just next to that big board in Hollywood which read “Hollywood”. Yep. The entrance to hell is in Hollywood.

And they meet Hades. And the God to the underworld was apparently so impressed by Mick Jagger that he stole his clothes when he ran into him wherever such people meet up in the other world. And Jagger’s hairstyle. And some slob’s accent and bracelets. Of course, Percy rescues the mom, finds the lightening bolt hidden in the shield Luke gave him (oops Luke) and now has to get back to Olympus to meet Zeus and stop the war.

Of course, as Gods do, they have no idea about what was happening, so they happily sit in their throne room fighting. Percy zaps himself and his mom and the girlfriend, leaving the Sader/protector with Persephone (who looked more like sultry forests and wet monsoons rather than the fresh spring goddess she was supposed to be playing). And he zaps himself onto the Empire State Building.

Where is Olympus? Apparently, IN the Empire State Building. My friend (who read the book) tells me that the book says Olympus moves to wherever the centre of arts and learning is, which used to be Athens during those days and now… Uh huh… US? Empire State Building? Okay. Let’s move on.

And Luke appears – yes – the lightening thief. He apparently is tired of their dad’s ruling (the sad part about being a son to an invincible king) and wants to take over. So he wants to start a war and hence as Percy was going down to Hell for a visit anyway, he figured he’d get the bolt to Hades who could use to kill everyone etc. Of course, he never explains who was attacking Percy or trying to stop them from getting to hell. So Luke is banished and the others get into the elevator – yup, all you need to do is press a few buttons and the doors open to Olympus ¬†– of course, i think the price to pay for that was the mother because she just disappeared by the time Athena’s kid and Percy appear in front of the council, return the bolt to Zeus, nods to Athena and has a heart-to-heart with Poseidon asking questions like “so you did abandon us? The rule was passed after Zeus got scared you might end up spending more time with us? I mean it isn’t like I want to see you everyday, just like once in a while.”

Yeah apparently abandonment issues aren’t any different for demi gods but Kevin McKidd didn’t really care because someone had put him a metal shirt and a skirt, which made him stiffer than Zeus’ lightening bolt.

Did I make this sound like a spoof? Nope. I absolutely cannot capture the humor of the movie here. The expressions which are supposed to be intense but fall so flat, compared with dialogues like “Keep this pen. It will protect you in times of great need”. You don’t need to spoof this movie. It is already a spoof of every great fantasy movie ever made. And a lesson why you should never, ever, ever, ever try to bring in Greek gods into the 21st century.

Song of the day: Evanescence: Bring Me To Life

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