x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Step aside Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is in town

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief fills the void left by Harry Potter.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lightning Thief 

Director: Chris Columbus Starring: Logan Lerman, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman 

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The void soon to be left by the Harry Potter franchise is no doubt an area that the studios are frantically searching for a way to fill. Enter the five-book Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, which centres around a 12-year-old boy with, er, supernatural powers, which he, er, doesn't yet know he has. 

Not exactly a million miles, then, from our bespectacled friend. 

Perhaps to blur the similarities and in order to appeal to a wider audience than the best-selling books' mainly 10-year-old fanbase, Percy's screen version is 17. Percy (played by Logan Lerman) is a demi-god, the son of a mortal mother (Catherine Keener) and the god of the seas Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). His uncle Zeus (Sean Bean) mistakenly believes he has stolen his all-powerful lightning bolt which makes him the gods' most wanted. 

In the tussle to catch him, his mother is abducted by the god of the underworld, Hades. Percy then sets off on a road trip with his new demi-goddess friend, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and protector, a satyr named Grover (Brandon T Jackson) to find her. 

This is enjoyably watchable stuff. The characters may be paper thin and the reasoning often nonsensical (Percy, for instance, can't read English because his brain is apparently "hard-wired for Ancient Greek". What? ) But the story is good and pacey with plenty of fun, hammy performances from Pierce Brosnan as a wise-cracking centaur and Steve Coogan as a leather-clad Hades. As a lesson in Greek mythology, it's no Clash of the Titans. But then that's no bad thing.