Marie Phillips' amusing novel Gods Behaving Badly had Olympians slumming and causing trouble in modern London. Turns out in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief — a family-friendly adventure based on the first novel in Rick Riordan's fantasy series — the Greek gods still are making mischief by coming to Earth and "hooking up" with humans, resulting in demigods.
Our hero, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), a dyslexic high school student, finds out that he is the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and that Zeus (Sean Bean) thinks he has stolen a lightning bolt required to wield absolute power.
Suddenly, he finds himself among centaurs — including his classics teacher, Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) — and other mythological creations, including hot demigod Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), the doe-eyed daughter of Athena, and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), a satyr (a man-goat hybrid) who is charged as Percy's protector.
After training at a camp for such gifted types, Percy, Grover and Annabeth hit the road to prove his innocence and prevent a titanic battle among the gods.
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Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter movies and Home Alone, directed the PG-rated film. The effects are large but not likely to give anyone much of a jolt.
Columbus is rarely inventive in this story. The teens are bland, although the script by Craig Titley doesn't give them much to work with. Only the adults who pop in occasionally, including Catherine Keener as Percy's mom, bring verve to the proceedings.
It's doubtful that any members of the young audience are going to learn much mythology or even remember it for long. Percy Jackson could have used more mischief.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief retails for $29.99 or $39.99 on Blu-ray.