Saturday, October 22 , 2016, 10:16 am | Fog/Mist 60º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

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

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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.

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 >