There are plenty of reasons to hate on Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, so it would be an easy slam review. But if you like big pretty toy commercials, it's plenty of fun.
Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) finds out he's a demigod son of Poseidon. He goes to Camp Half-Blood to train with his sidekick (Brandon T. Jackson) and meet a hottie (Alexandra Daddario). Then they have to find three pearls that will get them out of the underworld when they go to rescue Percy's mom from Hades.
The story may be convoluted, but it's full of good action. The battles are really intense, sort of like Troy with teenagers. At the camp, you get to see all the extras training in the background. There are big armies of running soldiers. Fights with mythical creatures are real threats. Uma Thurman is so hot as Medusa that you really believe they can't look away.
The film touches on enough of the Greek myths that viewers can learn a little bit along the way. The film explains how gods often procreated with humans. You'll hear about how the non-dead can get into the underworld, just like Hercules and other heroes before Percy. If you read all the Greek myths in high school, then it's bonus easter eggs.
The visual depiction of Percy's dyslexia is good and could hopefully show some young viewers that they're not alone. It might also make them think their learning disability is actually a superpower like Percy's. Let's hope they get the right message.
The film is definitely long. Let's call it epic. It covers a lot of ground, from introducing the gods to explaining Percy Jackson's character and crossing his path with the Hydra and Lotus Eaters.
It's one of those fantasy stories where they keep vaguely explaining to Percy what his backstory is. So he goes to another creature to hear a little bit more about his backstory. Then to another creature to hear a little bit more. If you have a problem with that, then you should have a problem with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, too, because that's the structure they all use. If someone could just catch Percy up all at once, there'd be no movie. They do talk a lot.
The CGI monsters look like CGI monsters, so there's no fixing that. I guess kids love CG cartoon monsters. The satyr doesn't even look as good as Mr. Tumnus in Narnia.
The hip African-American sidekick is not cool or funny at all. Whether Mr. Jackson improvised or the screenplay updated his dialogue with hip banter about the current recession, it doesn't work. Joe Pantoliano's evil stepfather character feels like a good spoof of the cliché, only I think it's supposed to be real.
Now, I don't know about you, but all of the above sounds like a great time at the movies to me. What's wrong with a little action, visual effects and exposition? It serves its purpose for solid entertainment.