NOTE: There are major spoilers in this review, so if you really want to spend 106 minutes of your precious time on this earth watching it and you don’t want to find out what happens, exit now. If you don’t mind, read on…
I saw the first Percy Jackson movie (Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief), and I liked it very much. It’s got a great concept: It’s based on Greek mythology, and all the illegitimate kids of gods and humans (known in the series as “half-bloods”, although they were technically demi-gods in ancient Greek mythology) gather together in a training camp overseen by the centaur, Chiron (played by Anthony Head, otherwise known as Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), in which they learn battle skills. Percy has a couple of trusty friends, a boy (Grover, a satyr) and a girl (Annabeth, daughter of Athena), and there are quests to save the world, yadda yadda.
Anyway, it’s a good concept, even though it sounds an awful lot like Harry Potter, off the top. The characters are likable, and the special effects are done well (Chiron’s horse body and the goat legs of the satyrs are exceptionally realistic CGI). I also like the fact that the cocky bully character (there’s always one of those, right?) is actually a female (Clarisse, daughter of Ares). It’s kind of obviously a kid’s movie, and of course based on a YA (young adult) book series, but it’s not bad entertainment.
Well, the first one wasn’t. THIS one made me yell at the screen at least a dozen times throughout the movie. Thank heavens we’d rented the DVD, so only my husband had to hear it. REPEATEDLY, people were just ridiculous. The first ultra-stupid thing occurred when the camp was invaded by a mechanical, steampunk-meets-transformers, fire-powered bull. The graphics were excellent as the bull rampaged through the camp, but ultimately the bull chased Percy away from the main camp, and he faced it completely alone. At some length. Completely alone. Not only did the other campers, including his friends, not rush to his aid, they didn’t even seem mildly curious as to where this powerful threat had EVEN GONE. Percy walked back after defeating the mechanical monster to find everyone going about the business of cleaning up, and NO ONE EVEN ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED.
Another wildly ridiculous bit of stupidity occurred when Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson, Percy’s newly-discovered half-brother by Poseidon, asked Poseidon for assistance, whereupon a seahorse (not a seahorse so much as a giant HORSE with fins and whatnot) appeared to help them pursue the bad guy’s yacht. Percy, who had been talking to his father with no response during the movie, was surprised and disconsolate that Tyson got the aid he’d asked for where Percy hadn’t. But later in the movie, Percy uses his powers over water to command a GIANT WAVE that he RIDES to escape the bad guys. Why didn’t he just use a giant wave to transport his friends? And why didn’t he use his giant wave to move the boat his friends were in after Tyson accidentally dropped the outboard motor into the drink? Instead, they use the canister of gale-force wind that Hermes gave them, which Tyson also managed to drop overboard.
How did they manage to find the island of Polyphemus without help from Grover, the satyr, who was supposedly the only one able to guide them? Why was there still electrical power at the abandoned amusement park? Why did Tyson and Percy HAVE TO STOP AND HAVE A BONDING MOMENT while the Golden Fleece was in the process of resuscitating the dead Titan Cronos, who was set to destroy the world? Why did the bad guys want to destroy the world, anyway–where did they think THEY were going to end up? Why did the fleece take its sweet time raising Cronos and Annabeth, but respond IMMEDIATELY when placed on Thalia? Why in the WORLD did they NOT kill the giant werewolf-scorpion thing while it was SLEEPING, instead of later, after it killed Annabeth? What were the island of Polyphemus and the whirlpool Charybdis doing in the BERMUDA TRIANGLE, instead of in the Aegean Sea, or wherever it was Odysseus stumbled across them? (Nobody is sure of its location in the modern world, but it’s not THAT far from ancient Greece!)
I blame crappy writing, whoever green-lighted the script, and the director who didn’t see the GLARING bullsh*t moments in this film. I’m sure they will make another one (it was overly obvious they were setting up a sequel), but it had BETTER not be THIS bad!