Now these are what I call heroes: (L-R) Grover, Percy and Annabeth.
With the success of Harry Potter, it was inevitable that more family-friendly fantasy series would come into being and several have come and gone, but Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books have won acclaim from critics and readers, and now the first film adaptation has hit. I'll cut straight to the chase and tell you that I went into PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF having never read the books, but after what I got when I saw the movie, you can bet your sweet ass that I'll be reading them as soon as possible.
As anyone who's ever read Greek mythology can tell you, the Greek gods were a randy lot who spent a lot of time lusting after and seducing mortal women (or, more honestly, raping them, if you read the less-family-friendly recountings of the stories), and the fruits of those unions often became great heroes who slew horrifying monsters. That was back in the days of yore, but now it's the 2000's and the gods are still up to their priapic ways. Young Percy Jackson (the very good Logan Lerman) discovers the hard way that he is the result of his mother's passionate relationship with Poseidon, god of the oceans, and in no time his mundane world of high school angst gives way to potentially deadly confrontations with deities and monsters straight out of Edith Hamilton. Y'see, Percy unwittingly finds himself the chief suspect in the theft of Zeus' thunderbolt and if it is not returned within a certain period of time, the "Big Three" of the Olympian pantheon, specifically Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, will go to war for supremacy, a conflict that would lay waste to most of the world. So it's a race against time for poor Percy, who must save his mom, the world and his own ass, all while discovering the awesome details and perks of his hitherto unknown birthright. Luckily for him, he's far from the only mythic being or demi-god to be found in the Tri-State area, and aided by his best friend, the "handicapped" Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), and the beautiful and highly-skilled warrior Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario, certain to become a hero to little girls everywhere), Percy embarks on a quest to plead his innocence to the lord of the Underworld and free his kidnapped mother in the process. The way is fraught with danger (that may be a tad too scary for the under-eights) and loaded to the gills with monsters and situations that are sure to delight the mythology-cognisant, all of which adds up to give the audience a rousing, compelling equivalent to a modern day Ray Harryhausen film, and that's a compliment that I do not hand out lightly. It hits all the right mythic notes and that just makes me feel good all over. And how can you not love Uma Thurman as Medusa? I mean, seriously that rocks!
To be blunt: I fucking loved every second of PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF and intend to see it again as soon as possible. Oh, and don't walk out when the end credits start to roll...