Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010) – Movie Review

Percy Jackson and the Lighning Thief - pic 17

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010)

Directed by Chris Columbus

Starring:
Logan Lerman
Brandon T. Jackson
Alexandra Daddario
Jake Abel
Rosario Dawson
Steve Coogan
Uma Thurman


I originally watched this film because my daughter wanted to see it. That usually means she thinks the ‘boy’ star is cute (Logan Lerman). I was just happy that she wanted to watch a film that included Greek Mythology, a subject that I loved to study, portray in artwork, and read about when I was young. I had watched the many classic films (and some not-so-classic) pertaining to the subject throughout my years. This film made it fun for both of us, mixing the mythological characters with modern times in a new contemporary story. A kid, falling in love, a single mom with lousy boyfriend: not exactly a mythological topic. But percy jackson the lightning thief -poster-artwork 1Medusa, a Hydra, Hades, The River Styx, Zeus and Perseus: My type of film!

It was a fun flick with some great monsters. The effects were well-done with quality CG. An outstanding 5-headed hydra, and a wicked Medusa (played by Uma Thurman) and a giant Minotaur, pleased the monster fan in me. The film stayed true to the mythology world created by the ancient Greek storytellers. Having the Gods and Beasts still alive in this day and age left some creative blending to be tackled but it was handled well. For example: Medusa’ s stare still turns one to stone, so naturally she owns a garden & stone-statue dealership and wears dark shades most of the time.

Someone has stolen the Sacred Lightning bolt of Zeus and the Gods are ready to declare war on each other and mankind, if it is not returned by the summer Solstice in 2 weeks. Percy’s mother is Percy Jackson and the Lighning Thief - pic 1kidnapped and held ransom by Hades for exchange of the Zeus’ Lightning Bolt. All the gods and deities are after Percy because they think he stole the powerful weapon. At Camp Half-Blood, Percy learns he is a demi-god and trains for his quest to find the bolt and save his mother from Hades. Percy is teamed up with his friend, Grover Underwood, a Satyr (half goat, half man). At the camp he meets, Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, also a demi-god and a master archer. They set out on their journey to find three pearls, using an ancient map. The Pearls will enable them to enter and leave Hades, save Percy‘s mom and find the Lightning Bolt. Along their Journey they battle a really nice 5-headed fire-breathing Hydra, Medusa and the Lotus Eaters. Near the Hollywood sign they find a secret pathway to the river Styx. They’re taken to Hades home. There’s some nice depictions of hell and tortured souls in these scenes.

The film is based on a novel by Rick Riordan titled, The Lightning Thief, the first in a series known as Percy Jackson & the Olympians. Overall it’s a fun movie that both young ones and adults can enjoy. While it didn’t have the monster charm of Harryhausen’ s mythological creature creations, it had its own visual style for this era.

Percy Jackson and the Lighning Thief - pic 16

It’s an action packed movie with fun special effects, some cool monsters and a light mythology mash-up in a modern setting.

I give it 3.2 magic pearls out of 5 on the mythos scale of Greek Gods and monsters.

Texas Chainsaw – 3D (2013) – movie review

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texas chainsaw 3DTexas Chainsaw – 3D (2013)
Lionsgate Films

(spoiler alert – but I don’t think it really matters)

This movie is a direct sequel to the 1974 original. It begins with actual scenes from that film (in 3D nevertheless – don’t remember if it was 3D), with the young lady escaping Leatherface in the back of a pick-up truck. (Do the Leatherface ballet).  New footage starts and the townsfolk arrive at the house as an angry mob, shoot up the place and burn it to the ground. They save a baby which one young couple quickly adopts as their own. Everyone else is presumed dead, even Grandpa. Now its 20 years later (and its 2012 – fuzzy math) and we see a 20-something young lady, Heather, working in a butcher shop… in full make-up (first sign that things were going down the sh*tter) She inherits a house, so she, along with her three friends (and one hitchhiker) go to the town of ‘Newt’ TX, to stake her claim. She fails to read the letter her grandmother had left her that explains about her half-wit, violent, cousin locked in the basement and which states, she can live in the house but has to take care of him – and don‘t let him out of the cellar. One of the idiot friends unlocks the basement door – chainsaws, machetes, axes and hammers start swinging. The violence is harsh and graphic as blood splashes, heads roll, and body parts fly, all in glorious 3D. This part of the film is enjoyable for the horror fan. Its a gory intensity that fans of the genre expect. Unfortunately, after about twenty-minutes, its back to the lame storyline.

texas-chainsaw-3d pic 5OK, so Heather finds out the townspeople killed her real family and now the townspeople are after her to keep her quiet, permanently. Leatherface finds out that Heather is ‘family’. The townsfolk trap Heather in an abandoned Meat Factory – so, ok, wait for it…. Leatherface becomes the HERO and saves Heather from the evil townsfolk! They embrace. All is right with the world – wait a second Heather, did you completely forget that this masked man just killed all the friends you ever had in the world? I guess its ok now, cause we’re family (I’m gagging, swallowing hard to keep from throwing up).

Alexandra Daddario does a decent job acting, and we will see her later this year in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Tania Raymonde, as the best friend, Nikki, may get best supporting actress, just because of the red hot-shorts and well placed camera angles – in 3D, may I remind you. The three buff guy actors were just there to be chopped, diced and sliced. (nobody has average looking friends anymore?) After a while, I actually enjoyed making fun of all the stupid actions of the characters – getting my own MSFT3000 kinda’ vibe going and having the whole row in the theater chuckling.

texas-chainsaw-3d pic 2This latest installment of the franchise failed to capture the character likeability of the 2003 remake, or the psycho-shock, bizarro feel of the original. But, I’m no prude that says only the original has merit… If you want some violence and gore in 3D (the 3D was cool), then go ahead and see it. If you can get over the dumb characters and the sappy ending, you may have fun watching this. Hey, Friday the 13th had no-brain characters and we all enjoyed that, didn’t we?

Three important things I learned from this film:

1) If you see a guy wearing a mask and wielding a chainsaw, standing in a cemetery, don’t ask, “Hey, what are you doing?”

2) If you hide in a barn from a guy chasing you with a chainsaw, don’t use a piece of wood as a barricade. (He has a chainsaw, duh)

3) When being chased by a psycho killer, don’t hide in a coffin.

texas chainsaw 3D pic 6 Texas-Chainsaw-3D pic 7