Sunday, February 14, 2010

Film Opinion: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Work's been keeping me. It sucks that I don't have much time to notice life's details. I haven't had an ultimate relaxation for the past couple of days, but I'm taking it in stride. I'm not alarmed though, this stuff happens and it makes life more colorful. Being able to lose time for everything is exciting at some extent. Challenges make life worth living and work stress makes me look forward to upcoming vacations.

So before I get warped and have my last remaining minutes stolen by work again, I will just share my views on Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, which I watched in very surprising circumstances.

I found myself in Fort Bonifacio last Friday attending to a sort of "career change" and was made to stay until 6:30 pm. Instead of going back to work and cook up a massive excuse upfront, I decided to call a few people and just kill time there. I had lunch at Fridays and with my laptop, intended to surf the day away until my head began spinning and my stomach churning. I didn't even finish my lunch. I had it packed and quickly moved to the mall to rest. Clearly, I can not lie down and close my eyes n the restaurant.

I took the advise of a friend to watch a movie since I have more than 4 hours to spare. I walked towards Market Market Cinema and was faced with fair choices. The movie list wasn't entirely hopeless. There were couple of romantic cheesy movies that would be perfect for DVDs and there was Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

I'm quite familiar with the title and the premise. I've seen it displayed in Fully Booked for couple of months. From the cover and the summary it greatly targets young adults who are always hungry to learn new adventures and glorious explorations. It's cool that after a lot of wizardry, sorcery and medieval thing going on, someone is imaginative enough to reintroduce Greek Mythology to modern readers with modern taste. At least it's something covered by literature or history that somehow we've learned in school. I admit I am a mythology geek. I am so attuned and in love with Edith Hamilton or Bulfinch's accredited mythology interpretations for me to still give more importance and attention to mythology told in a mild and sugarcoated way just to tickle young readers' imagination. Not yet being able to read the book, I've survived the Harry Potter and Twilight series to know what to expect. I know Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief would have something to do with a normal human, a specifically with an initial loser type quality, with ties to the Mythological Gods and Goddesses at the beginning of the movie is unknown to him. He would come to face his fate due to some drastic circumstance, embrace it and in the end, come out with a banner of importance and a new purpose in life. At least that's what I thought I would expect when I bought the movie ticket. Other cinematic effects and action sequences were still left to speculation. With a throbbing head and sore feet, I went in, got the best seat in the house, and surrendered myself to entertainment.

After almost two hours, I was able to get my much needed rest and luckily had myself entertained for a bit. All I can say is that the movie didn't entirely fail nor did it break lousy expectations. If the Gods and Goddesses were watching, they might have reserved a couple of nods. If the viewer was gravely disappointed, I believe the fault lies with him because he should know better than to expect something grandiose, authentic and performance shattering. For instance, I didn't expect too much and maybe that's the reason why writing this post isn't a pain in the ass. I don't have passionate hatred up on my sleeves either.

The movie is bursting with special effects. That is a thumbs up sign that even the likes of Hephaestus or Zeus would approve. As Hydra and Medusa attack the protagonists, we expect imagination and effects to coincide. Visual effects are the great strengths of the movie, but not necessarily the best you've seen so far. The effects may be required and entertaining, but not entirely new especially on a more cultured movie discretion.

The actors delivered what they're supposed to deliver. But no Oscar moment here. Even the sidekick is fun, but forgettable. What struck me as interesting are the mentoring scenes of Chiron played by the old, but still appealing Pierce Brosnan, short-lived screen time of Hades, a cool post-Rockstar era enterpretation, which makes you want to say happily "Whatever Happened to the cool, English dude Steven Coogan?" And of course the tantalizing eyes of Alexandra Daddario who played Annabeth Chase, the daughter of Pallas Athena, goddess of Wisdom, War and Strategy. Alexandra Daddario steals the scenes from time to time. Her eyes are simply magnificent, her stature so commendable for the role and her performance is forceful. Forget about who would play Athena, Alexandra Daddario is Athena. While Percy Jackson, played by Logan Lerman is predictable. He clearly reminds me of Sam Huntington though. There is a lack of rawness on how he interpreted his character. Being the son of the powerful Poseidon didn't make him interesting either. Probably in the book he is given more depth, but in the movie, it seems the time was crunched for Percy Jackson to develop and react odd circumstances. Luke, the son of Hermes, who served as the antagonist is more recognizable.

Now what about the plot? Well, I don't know if I like it or not, but I'm sure reading the book is a better experience. Even though I haven't read the material, I know the book is better. The movie obviously had a time constraint on their necks, which affected how the characters developed. Some scenes were badly edited and there is still a feeling of a low-budget quality. The transition of emotions was missing. It was like seeing the movie in a flash card and if the scene gets too cheesy or pointless, they move it to the next as if the characters were just pulled out of their trailers with lines to deliver. Even the killing of Medusa was horrible. And being a fan of Mythology, no matter how unrealistically godly the situations may be, there must be an explanation on why things are happening. A connection should always be present. No monster could just appear out of nowhere with no particular reason. Even mythologies have a point, which should not be made into a collage to support sequences in the movie. And I just have to mention the existence of Camp Half-blood for demigods. It cracked me up. Clearly that's imagination right there. Hogwarts to Camp Half Blood.

But I say this movie is okay, fair enough, A+ for creation and effort. It's enough to entertain you and relive whatever knowledge you have about the glorious Greek Mythology. It tickled my interest on how I once wished to be up there in Mt. Olympus sharing the audience with the powerful 12 Olympians. But the story is tamed. Even Gods and Goddesses have to go with the sophistication of the 21st century in the eyes of young readers. If you want a clean, young-adult and entertaining movie, go watch Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. This is not for people who want action and authenticity. If you want a die-hard, authentic Mythology with in-depth interpretation for a more mature audience, go watch the upcoming Clash of the Titans, which I'm more excited about. But of course that is a different story.

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