Review: Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief DVD

STUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus | CAST: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Alexandria Daddario, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Joe Pantoliano, Rosario Dawson
RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, quiz
SPECS: PG| 118 min. | Fantasy | widescreen 1.85:1 | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish and, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video | Overall

Based on Rick Riordan’s wildly popular book series, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief will tide over young readers and fantasy fans as they await the next Harry Potter film – and without dispensing the angst and dreariness of the Twilight series.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefIn Riordan’s world, the Greek gods exist as more than statues and influencers of art.  They walk among us when they choose to, squabble as siblings often do, and enlist emissaries to educate and protect their half-human progeny. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), a teen afflicted with dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder, learns he’s not only one of them – the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) – but also the prime suspect in the theft of Zeus’s (Sean Bean) source of power.  His entry into the mythological training ground begins his quest to rescue his human mother from Hades (Steve Coogan) and avert a cataclysmic war among the gods. Like all young fantasy film heroes, he’s aided by his best friend (Brandon T. Jackson) and a beautiful young woman (Alexandria Daddario), both of whom are undercover from the world of the Greeks.

Directed by Chris Columbus, who knows a thing or two about serving up fantasy tinged with nightmare to family audiences, The Lightning Thief is mostly a fun ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously. How can it, when Percy’s best friend reveals his goat’s legs and dances up a storm in a Las Vegas nightclub? Or when the daughters of Aphrodite – bikini-clad vixens in a hot tub – beckon our male heroes? And as portrayed by Logan Lerman, Percy displays sufficient incredulity as a stand-in for the audience.  The script might not make a whole lot of sense, but neither do the events unfolding in front of Percy’s eyes.

The DVD delivers a wide palette of colors nicely, and the scenes set in darkness are fairly clear. The Dolby Digital track is sprinkled with sonic zings, particularly in the film’s last half-hour when the heroes enter Hades’ underworld lair.  You’ll be immersed in the action.

Extras are comprised of a very short featurette on author Riordan’s inception of the novel and astonishment at its popularity, and five handful of deleted scenes (as opposed to 10 on the Blu-ray edition), including more of goat-boy on the dance floor.

The kids will enjoy this and movie, and their parents will tolerate it without much trouble.


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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.