I watched Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief last night. If you are thinking about watching it, then I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers. It is a good movie but the basic plot is a rehash of The Clash of the Titans which is more or less the story of Perseus and some feats he accomplishes as told by various ancient Greek sources. Of course that is kind of the whole point so I guess it isn’t right so poke fun at the fact that this plot is totally hijacked. The obstacles that Percy must overcome, though, are not limited to those that Perseus faces. They mix in various encounters form Herculean and Odyssean myth. This makes the rehashed story feel more fresh and new.
It does do a pretty good job of blending it into a modern American tale though. Throughout the story various mythical creatures make appearances and most blend into their setting well. For example, ***Spoiler Alert*** Percy must overcome the cult of the Lotus eaters (from the Odyssey) in a Las Vegas casino. End Spoiler There are several other examples of these new versions of ancient myth set in America. Many are picking at American culture in a light and fun way so I really enjoyed the movie.
One word of caution. This is ancient polytheistic mythology. There is, in my opinion, no tie in to Christian theology. In the first 5 minutes of the film Poseidon comments to Zeus about them being omnipotent. This is a serious breach of the proper understanding of the word. Percy is not even remotely a Christological type and should not be thought of in this way. Paul, when addressing the scholars on Mars hill, does not try to use their myths to try and explain Christ. He uses the setting and their religious mind set as a point of common ground to introduce them to the One true God.
For strict entertainment purposes I feel that this was a good movie, but not something I would let my young children watch. It did have some scary moments and the theological perspective is not what I feel my kids are ready for. In a couple of years when I can sit down and talk these issues through with my oldest in a more logical manner then I wouldn’t see this as being problematic, but for a 6 year old it just doesn’t fly with me.