Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Life hasn’t been easy on Percy Jackson. He’s never known his dad, his step father is a sleazy jerk, he’s dyslexic and suffers from ADHD, and he’s going through puberty to top it all off! Percy’s struggling at school, at home, and the only place he finds solace is at the bottom of a swimming pool.

But on top of all of that, Percy is about to learn a very unusual fact about himself. He’s a demigod. That just made life a whole lot more complicated, because along with this revelation comes the accusation of being the lightning thief, which means that Percy is now under the condemnation of the gods, and being sought out by all sorts of monsters who want Zeus’ lightning bolt for themselves.

Trouble is, Percy doesn’t have the bolt, and he doesn’t know who does. But he’s going to find out, because his Uncle Hades has kidnapped his mother and is holding her for ransom. The price for her life? The lightning bolt. So Percy has to team up with his friend Grover, a satyr, and Annabeth, another demigod, to get back his mother and save humanity from the wrath of the gods.

Positive Elements

Percy loves, respects, and tries to protect his mom. This was an endearing aspect of the story for me, as there are so few stories now-a-days that present the love of a son for his mother. Especially a teenage son. Percy demands respect for his mother as well, loathing his stepdad because fo the way he treats her. His mom is also very devoted to Percy, and has sacrificed much for him; more than Percy ever knew.

Poseidon, Percy’s father, also loves his son, and would have chosen to become mortal in order to stay with his wife and child, if not for his domineering brother Zeus. Forced to abandon his son as a baby, Poseidon has guilt over being the reason why Zeus forbade contact between all gods and their children.

Negative Elements

Poseidon, despite loving his family, is a coward in my book. He should have stood up to Zeus and stayed with Percy anyway. In the end of the movie he tells his son that just because he couldn’t see him, didn’t mean he wasn’t there looking after him. Just because it was from a distance, Poseidon doesn’t want Percy to think of it as any less significant. I think that’s malarkey, to be honest, but the moment is played up to be emotional and help keep Poseidon as a good guy that got a bad rap.

Obviously this movie explores the world of the demigods and Roman gods quite a lot, pulling from the book series. However, while that is true, the movie doesn’t really deal with the subject. The gods and demigods are really just a title, and they supposedly are rulers and protectors of the earth, though they wreak more havoc than anything. For my family, we approached this aspect the same way we did the books. My 15 year old brother reads and loves the book series, and we as a family have discussed how ridiculous the stories of the Roman god’s were, validating the God of the Bible so much more. The Roman and Greek gods pale in comparison, and they are fraught with inconsistencies and petty human vanity. It is amazing what a teaching tool studying the gods can be.

Power is something dealt with a lot in the movie. The god’s powers are rather new-agish, as Percy pulls power from the water, summoning its life-giving force from natural sources, and even uses the water’s power to heal himself. Gods also are able to telepathically communicate with their children, it seems, becoming the little voice inside their heads. And of course, we have the whole Hades and the Underworld thing, but do I really need to go there (although, I must confess, I got a good laugh out of Hollywood being the portal to hell)?

Gods are said to “hook up” with mortals and Gabe is seen slapping Sally’s bottom. Grover is a bit female crazed, and is a big fan of Aphrodite’s multiple daughters. He winks at Percy over them being the daughters of the love goddess. In a Casino, Grover is sprawled out amidst doting females wearing short lingerie-like dresses. The most seductive character in the movie, however, is Hades wife, Persephone, who takes a fancy to Grover and makes several suggestive comments. When Grover has to remain behind in hell, the audience knows exactly what will follow.

Most of the violence is low key, and a lot of it is at the hands of a water wielding Percy. The most disturbing element, which really wasn’t disturbing, was when Medusa get’s decapitated by Percy. It’s bloodless and off screen, but Grover does carry it around in his pack to be able to use later for turning things into stone. Gabe also grabs Percy’s hair and threatens him, backing him against a wall.

God’s name is abused multiple times, a centaur jokes that he has a “horse’s a– ” and the same word is used again by a son in reference to his demigod father.

In Vegas we see an eager Grover ready to get at the tables, and the teens steal a car that’s on display in the casino, racing it through closed doors and speeding off to Hollywood.

Conclusion

I found this movie to be very entertaining.  It’s certainly not going to make you think or give you a profound truth in the end, but it was a fun ride.  However, it has a lot of issues and junk. Junk which was not featured in the book series we own. Because of that, we did not add it to our family library and I can’t, in good conscience, recommend the movie as family friendly.

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