Eric Takes The Hero's Journey With Percy Jackson

I know what you’re all thinking. Here we go again - another movie based on a young adult fantasy book series. And you would be partially correct. This movie will draw comparisons to Harry Potter, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Seeker, and any of the other films of that nature. But there’s a big difference-this seems very targeted to your everyday normal teenager who is rebellious or feels misunderstood. In my opinion, it’s much more realistic.

Where Harry Potter seems eager to be accepted and seeks the approval of his teachers, Percy Jackson comes across as trusting no one, not trusting any authority figure, and basically doing what he believes is in his best interest. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but I find Percy easier to identify with because of the way I was when I was a teenager. Potter seems concerned with being proper, whereas Jackson wants to be hip, individualistic, and cool. Jackson is Potter’s rough-around-the-edges American cousin who comes to visit him at Hogwarts and stir up trouble.

Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, right? “So is the movie any good is what I want to know” is your question. My answer would be yes. I found the film to be well-paced and very focused with a youthful sense of humor. Everything it needs to be to draw in a teen and tween crowd.

The storyline was easy enough to follow. It had just the right amount of stops along the way of the “journey” and a nice climax. The diehard lovers of the book might get upset by some of the changes and omissions, but I don’t feel it affected the overall adaptation. I feel that they added a nice little motivation to push the movie forward and, give it more of a “hero’s journey” vibe by making the several stops they have on the road to their destination the pick-up points for Persephone’s pearls. That addition of motivation kind of helped to tie the whole film together and put the plot in focus.

Some might say that the acting at times was hammy or possibly kind of sketchy. I think it was perfect for the tone of the film and where the “newer” actors seemed a bit rough, it was still forgivable. The actors who played the gods performed the way they should -overdramatic and taking themselves way too serious. Isn’t that how you would imagine a bunch of self-centered Greek gods to act?

The visual effects looked great. Pierce Brosnan’s upper half seemed to flow perfectly into the bottom half of a horse’s body. The hydra blowing fire at Percy and his gang melded together the CGI and live-action convincingly. Even the special effects done with digital water looked great. Anyone who’s seen The Mummy movies knows that can be hard to pull off.

Veteran director Chris Columbus does what he does best. He puts normal kids in incredible situations and has them take a journey to learn life lessons, while not forgetting what it means to be young and carefree. It’s what he’s been doing for a long time and I truly believe he knows his craft and executes it well. I certainly look and hope for the next chapter in the Percy Jackson film saga. (Review by Eric Shrey)