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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chris Columbus
Cast:
Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman
Writing Credits:
Craig Titley, Rick Riordan (novel)

Synopsis:
Modern and mythical worlds collide in this thunderous fantasy-adventure starring Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd and Uma Thurman as you’ve never seen them before! Percy Jackson is no ordinary teenager ... he’s just learned he’s the son of Poseidon and is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt - the most powerful weapon ever created! With storm clouds brewing, Percy embarks on an incredible cross-country journey to prove his innocence, recover the bolt and prevent a war amongst the gods that could destroy our world!

Box Office:
Budget
$95 million.
Opening Weekend
$15.254 million on 3396 screens.
Domestic Gross
$88.743 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
Cantonese
Mandarin
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/29/2010

Bonus:
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• “Secrets of the Gods” Interactive Feature
• “Discover Your Powers” Quiz
• “The Book Comes to Life” Featurette
• “Inside Camp Half-Blood” Featurette
• “On Set with Brandon T. Jackson” Featurette
• “Meet the Demigods” Featurette
• “Composing for the Gods: A Conversation with Christophe Beck” Featurette
• Trailer
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 30, 2009)

Based on a successful series of fantasy novels and directed by Chris Columbus, 2010’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief clearly was meant to be the first in a big movie franchise ala Harry Potter. And perhaps that will occur, but the film’s tepid reception makes it unlikely. While the first Potter earned more than $300 million in the US and launched a super-successful run of flicks, Thief struggled to a mediocre $88 million. That’s certainly not a terrible take, but it’s also not a great launching point for a new series.

So don’t be surprised if Thief is the beginning and the end of the Jackson “franchise”. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) seems like an average teen, though with dyslexia and ADD, he encounters academic challenges. He does possess an amazing ability to hold his breath and stay underwater.

We learn a good reason for this: Percy is actually the son of the Greek god Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). Supernatural beings don’t tend to change Pampers or attend school conferences, so Poseidon hasn’t had any involvement in his kid’s life, though Zeus (Sean Bean) suspects otherwise. The Greek gods can’t steal each others’ powers, but their children can, so when Zeus’s lightning bolt goes missing, he accuses Poseidon of putting his son up to it.

Who is this demigod? Percy, of course. When Zeus’s minions come after the teen, his protector Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) spirits him away to Camp Half-Blood, the training ground for demigods. Percy learns how to embrace his powers and deal with the threat from Zeus and others.

In addition to the first two Potter flicks, Columbus boasts mega-hits like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. His filmography also includes super-duds like Stepmom, Bicentennial Man and I Love You, Beth Cooper.

Columbus’s hits have seemed to be the exceptions to the rule. Granted, it seems hard to argue with the man’s success, but I will. I’d argue a chimp with a monocle could’ve made money with the Potter franchise, and Home Alone struck paydirt due to John Hughes’ story and Macaulay Culkin’s crowd-pleasing performance. As for Doubtfire? Robin Williams in a dress seemed good enough for the masses.

Did Columbus do anything special to benefit those films? Not as far as I can tell. Indeed, I believe they succeeded in spite of the director. At best, Columbus is a competent filmmaker, while at worst he tends to be workmanlike, sentimental and uninspired.

For the most part, Thief lacks Columbus’s mawkish tendencies, but it definitely shows off his general lack of flair. Not that the movie totally lacks any style or pizzazz; a sojourn in Vegas has some fun moments and acts as probably the flick’s highlight.

Otherwise, however, the end result tends to be awfully mediocre. I suppose it’s a positive that Thief never falls to the level of Columbus’s crummier efforts, but that would seem to be faint praise. The movie offers just enough action and adventure to keep us with it, but not enough to really excite or entertain us.

Thief plays like a combination of the Potter series and Clash of the Titans. The plot plays like a computer adventure game in which you must work through a series of quests to achieve your goals; these events don’t tie together especially well, and they give the movie a rather episodic feel. Some decent action sequences come along for the ride, but the overall impact remains modest, as the tale never quite ignites.

At least it boasts a pretty good cast. I’ve heard Lerman’s name bandied about as potential Spider-Man for that series’ reboot, and based on what I see here, I’d be fine with that. Lerman shows a nice ability to play action, drama and comedy here. He has the appropriate heroic qualities while he also can demonstrate reasonable heart and personality. Lerman helps make Thief feel more substantial than it is.

Lerman certainly gets excellent support. In addition to the performers already listed, the cast also provides talents like Catherine Keener, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, and Pierce Brosnan. Like Lerman, they can’t turn the movie into a winner, but they add life to it.

On the negative side, Thief suffers from generally dodgy visual effects. This seems to be an issue with Columbus’s flicks, as the first two Potter movies also came with iffy computer imagery. Of course, the effects of Thief look a lot better than those, but that’s mainly because it’s been almost a decade since Columbus directed his two Potter movies and the effects field has come a long way. When compared to other recent film, the visuals of Thief seem mediocre at best.

And that remains my general assessment of the movie. It’s certainly not a bad flick, as it packs enough adventure to sustain our attention. However, it never really grabs us, as it simply fails to deliver a dynamic fantasy.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C-

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Very few issues materialized in this generally excellent presentation.

Sharpness was quite good. No softness ever crept into the image, as the movie looked crisp and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws also remained absent.

Thief stayed with a fairly earthy palette. Some scenes went with a chilly tone, but most offered reasonably warm natural colors that looked solid. Some sequences boasted more dynamic hues – especially when the characters hit Vegas – and those tones appeared fantastic.

Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows were usually good, though a few shots seemed a bit dark. I suspect that this occurred to hide some lackluster visual effects; low-light scenes became too thick only when various CG creatures filled the screen. This slight murkiness knocked my grade down to a “B+”, but the film usually looked terrific.

I felt even more impressed by the excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Thief. The soundfield was consistently active. As expected, the movie’s many action scenes created the greatest impact. From flying objects to thunder to lightning, the soundfield used all five channels to excellent effect. The elements swarmed all around us and firmly placed us in the action.

Quieter scenes also worked well. These formed a nice sense of atmosphere, though they also produced some involving effects. At all times, the mix used the different speakers to their full advantage.

Never did the quality of the audio disappoint. Effects remained concise and robust. They presented great dynamics and lacked any distortion or other problems. The score occasionally threatened to get buried under the onslaught of action effects, but the music managed to stay lively and bright nonetheless. Speech was crisp and distinctive and bass response seemed terrific. Really, I found a lot to like and virtually nothing to criticize from this superb soundtrack.

Most of the movie’s extras come from a series of featurettes. The Book Comes to Life goes for four minutes, 24 seconds and includes notes from Jackson, author Rick Riordan, director Chris Columbus, and actors Jake Abel, Logan Lerman, and Alexandra Daddario. Riordan tells us a little about the origins and development of his novel series, and we also hear about the adaptation. Riordan throws out a few decent notes, but “Life” remains thin and superficial.

During the five-minute, nine-second Inside Camp Half-Blood, we hear from Lerman, Jackson, Columbus, Daddario, Abel, screenwriter Craig Titley, property master Bryan Korenberg, producer Michael Barnathan, and production designer Howard Cummings. “Inside” looks at the design of the movie’s camp as well as aspects of the fight training. The latter area is pretty dull, but we do get some good thoughts about set design.

Next we hang around with one of the film’s lead actors as we go On Set with Brandon T. Jackson. It runs five minutes, 56 seconds as it takes us around a few days during the shoot. This program stays on the fluffy side of the street and lacks much merit.

Meet the Demigods occupies three minutes, 49 seconds, and features statements from Lerman, Jackson, Daddario, and Abel. They simply describe the story and a few characters. If you’ve seen the movie, “Meet” is a complete waste of time – and it’s pretty useless even if you haven’t watched the flick.

Finally, Composing for the Gods: A Conversation with Christophe Beck lasts three minutes, 28 seconds. Beck talks about the score he wrote for the flick in this quick program. Despite the intense brevity, Beck offers a pretty good overview of his work.

10 Deleted Scenes take up a total of 14 minutes, three seconds. Grover becomes the biggest beneficiary of the extra time, as he sees more action and reveals more of his backstory. We get a little more of the Medusa sequence and extra fighting in Vegas as well as a few other expository moments. This means more from Hades, too. The various scenes are all actually pretty decent, but none of them seem essential, and they probably would’ve slowed down an already semi-lethargic film.

For an interactive feature, we go to Secrets of the Gods. This lets us learn more about six of the film’s gods: Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Athena, Hermes and Persephone. It also digs into mythical creatures like minotaurs, Medusa, and hydras and characters Percy, Chiron, Luke, Annabeth and Grover. The clips run only about 30 seconds apiece, so they don’t tell us much. If you want to get background about these topics, go to Wikipedia or some other online resource; this set is pretty useless.

A quiz entitled Discover Your Powers pops up as well. This asks a few questions to which you need to answer with an emotional response. When you finish, you get assigned to a particular “house”; actor Brandon T. Jackson delivers the news. It’s painless but not very exciting.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for The A-Team, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Marley & Me: The Terrible 2’s, The Tooth Fairy and the Percy Jackson series of novels. The disc also includes the trailer for Thief.

A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Thief. This appears to be the same disc that you’d buy commercially, not a “dumbed down” one intended just for this set. If you want to own Thief but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good bonus.

Finally, a third platter provides a Digital Copy of the movie. This allows you to transfer the film to a computer or portable gadget. And there you go!

It seems unlikely that Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief will span a movie franchise. Based on what I saw, I can’t say that upsets me. Thief provides a competent adventure but not one that ever threatens to become especially exciting or involving. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a pretty dull compilation of supplements. Thief ends up as a mediocre fantasy flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main