Monday, June 18 , 2018, 7:17 am | Fair 50º


Cinema in Focus: ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’

The coming-of-age story is told in comic book style with Greek mythology

3 Stars — Wholesome

In Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson is a precocious teenager who’s about to find out that he’s not the son of normal parents. While touring a museum with his school class, he is confronted by other-worldly spirits that reveal to him that he possesses more power than he ever knew.

Although he had been protected by his mother for years, Percy (Logan Lerman) is a demigod — the offspring of a human mother, Sally (Catherine Keener), and Greek god Zeus (Sean Bean). Percy’s identity is revealed to him by angry spirits who believe he is the prime suspect in the theft of Zeus’ lightening bolt, a source of supreme power.

The story is told in a comic book style with fights with demons, a love interest who battles for control of the universe, a cross-country adventure and an odd assortment of heroic and comic characters. Most impressive is Medusa (Uma Thurman), whose head is covered with snakes. Whether alive or dead, her stare can turn you into stone — which happens with regularity (including in the credits).

Since Percy is suspected of stealing the lightening bolt, there are many competing gods that covet the power it provides. Much of the story is about these other gods and demigods who are after Percy in hopes of stealing it from him.

One competitor, Hades (Steve Coogan), the god of the underworld, holds Percy’s mother hostage in hopes that he can lure Percy into making a trade of her for the lightening bolt. Percy’s quest throughout the land of the living and the dead is to free his mother.

While Percy’s story is matinee entertainment, it is built around the moral theme of good vs. evil. There is little exploration of why these Greek gods would fight one another or why a god would pursue aims in this world that are so unlike a god. As a morality play, though, it portrays a positive value. There are some scenes that might frighten younger children, but for the most part Percy Jackson would be a good friend to have over for a fun story time.


» Greek mythology portrays the god as having the same foibles and desires as humans. As such, they fight and scheme over power and dominance. How do you see these gods as different from the God portrayed in such literature as the Bible?

» Percy discovering his true identity is a classic coming-of-age film. Have you ever imagined that you were someone far more powerful or important? Why do you think you or others might imagine this?

» It is the nature of a good story that we can see ourselves in the characters. Did you identify with any of the characters in this film. If so, which one?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >