Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)


This is my worksheet from Video Review # 20, for those that prefer reading for some reason.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)There really was no reason for today’s movie to come around.  No one requested it and I didn’t particularly want to see it.  But RedBox forced me to see it with my eyes when they put it up on the screen while I was perusing their selection, and then my finger forced me to click it because that mother fucker is haunted.  Then my car forced me to see it because it drove me home.  I think the biggest blame should be place on my DVD player, who decided to play it after I put it in.  It had the option to not play it.  I’ve seen it do it before.  But they did make a sequel to this movie that I also have no interest in, but I’m well aware of the fact that I’ll RedBox that one as well when it comes out.  So let’s talk about Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, based on a novel by Rick Riordan, written by Craig Titley, directed by Chris Columbus, and starring Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, Catherine Keener, Steve Coogan, Pierce Brosnan, Joe Pantoliano, Uma Thurman, and Rosario Dawson.

On top of the Empire State Building, Zeus (Sean Bean) and Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) meet to discuss the theft of Zeus’ lightning bolt.  After checking in the cushions of the couch, Zeus decides that Poseidon’s demigod son, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), must’ve stolen the lightning bolt, and unless Percy returns the lightning bolt before the summer solstice, a war between the gods will erupt.  Problematically, Percy has no idea that he’s related to Poseidon.  At least not until he is talked by a Fury disguised as his substitute teacher and rescued by his teacher, Mr. Brunner (Pierce Brosnan) – who reveals himself to be a centaur – and his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) – who reveals himself to be a satyr, and Percy’s protector.  Percy’s mom, Sally (Catherine Keener), tells Percy about how Poseidon knocked her bottom out and left her with Percy, since the gods aren’t allowed to interact with their demigod children, and then promptly gets killed by a Minotaur while dropping Percy off at Demigod Camp.  Percy must team up with Grover and the daughter of Athena, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), to find out who actually stole the lightning bolt, and then he must decide if he wants to return the lightning bolt to Zeus, or give it to Hades (Steve Coogan) to save his mother.

When the movie you’re watching is preceded by a commercial for Space Chimps 2, you can kind of get an idea of what you’re in for.  This wasn’t a horrible movie, but it struck me as really dumb.  Maybe it was poorly conceived, maybe it was poorly written, or maybe I just know too much about Greek mythology to let some things stand.  This movie has the line, “Omnipotence has blind you,” right in the opening scene.  I know omnipotence doesn’t technically mean all-seeing, but my first thought was that he was saying, “Seeing everything has made you not see things.”  They also have a scene where Percy’s mom starts telling his backstory when they get into a car, and then cut to the end of the story as they pull into their destination.  Might we have been able to hear some of that information?  It probably would’ve been super boring, but it might have had some pertinent information.  And when they get started on their adventure, it’s all about finding three jewels to go into the underworld.  What a bloody waste of time.  My recommendation for how to get to the underworld?  Suicide pact!  There’s also a whole useless section of this movie where they get trapped in a casino because they’re made to think they love it there with some hallucinogens (a lotus flower) and underage gambling.  Drug use and gambling.  Fun for kids of all ages!  The biggest problem with this movie was the whole reason for the movie: the theft of the lightning.  None of the big gods seemed to even entertain the idea that anybody but Percy could have stolen the lightning!  You could’ve looked in on him and found out that he has no clue that gods are real and yet you think he was the only possible person that could have stolen electrostatic discharge somehow?

One thing I took a lot of issues with in this movie was the fact that Percy knew so many uncommon things about Greek mythology, but was completely unaware of the things everyone knows.  I would wager that most people don’t know what a demigod is like Percy knows (before he knows that he is one, mind you), but who doesn’t know what a centaur is?  And when they’re neck deep in Greek mythology and they walk into a place filled with stone statues of people, how do they not put together that Medusa is comin’ around?  They even know the tactic that Perseus used to defeat the Medusa, but they did not bother to explain how Medusa survived it the first time.  I’m not sure, but I think this movie came out after TWO version of Clash of the Titans, so they could’ve thrown us that.  And then Percy doesn’t know how Hydras work, being totally happy with himself for cutting off all of its heads before someone tells him that this makes two grow back in their places.  Isn’t that fairly common knowledge, especially for someone who knows a thing or two about Greek mythology?  Of course, no one in this movie really seems to have great knowledge on the subject.  His teacher announces that it’s exceedingly rare for someone to be born of one of the big three gods (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades).  Are you kidding me?  Zeus got his dick wet more than anyone in written history (Ironically since you’d think Poseidon was the one with the wet dick).  Zeus was the Wilt Chamberlain of Greek mythology!

I suppose the cast did fine enough in their performances.  Logan Lerman did fine, but Percy got on my nerves.  They give him a pen that turns into a sword early on in the movie, and he didn’t even go for the joke that he should just use it in pen form, since it’s mightier that way and all.  And he didn’t even try to write the Minotaur a citation or something.  Also, he finds out in the middle of the movie that he can absorb water to heal wounds and power himself up and he doesn’t spend the rest of the movie chugging Dasani like he was breathing?  And since he’s the son of the god of the sea, I’ll allow this movie that he can heal himself with water, but how is he able to pour water on other people to heal them?  They’re not the spawns of the sea!  She’s the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom.  You should heal her by hitting her in the face with a dictionary or something.  Also, he got over the death of his mom pretty quickly, didn’t he?  Grover just apologizes for sucking at his job and Percy moves on.  Kevin McKidd wasn’t in the movie very long, but I still managed to have problems with Poseidon as a character.  If they wanted us to like this character, they probably should’ve thought of a decent reason why he left his family beyond just he was losing his powers.  Would that have been so big of a sacrifice to spend the rest of your life with your family?  How about something like if you weren’t there to watch the oceans, shit started going crazy.  The Exxon Valdez, the Titanic, etc.  Also, they probably should’ve chosen someone other than Rosario Dawson to play Persephone.  If Hell is an eternity spent with Rosario Dawson, I’m about to go on a murder-suicide spree.  I’d probably get the suicide out of the way first, just because it seems easier, but then some people are getting all killed up.  Uma Thurman was WAY over the top in this movie, but thankfully she wasn’t acting in it very long before she became a prop.  Also, I thought it was just adorable that they made Joe Pantoliano’s character’s last name Ugliano.  Just in case our writing doesn’t express that you’re not supposed to like him, let’s toss Ugly into his name.  Then everyone will hate old Aidsrape Hitler Ugliano.

Find the video review here.

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

The Three Musketeers (2011)


We Live in a Kingdom Controlled by Fear

Have you ever wanted to see a classic novel like The Three Musketeers designed like Wild Wild West?  Yeah, me neither.  But that didn’t stop them from making one.  In the past, I’ve found myself less than impressed with the work of Paul W.S. Anderson, but I’m usually happy about the fact that his involvement generally brings Milla Jovovich, who I am always happy to watch.  And, what’s more than that, I love a good sword fight.  So I guess what made me have any interest in potentially watching Anderson destroy a story I love was the hotness of Jovovich and the promise of sword fighting.  Let’s see what happened in my review of The Three Musketeers, loosely based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas, written by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, and starring Logan Lerman, Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, Milla Jovovich, Christoph Waltz, Freddie Fox, Orlando Bloom, Juno Temple, Mads Mikkelsen, Gabriella Wilde, James Corden, and Til Schweiger.

For no particular reason, the Three Musketeers – Athos (Matthew MacFadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans) – and Athos’ lady friend, Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), are trying to steal plans for an airship designed by Leonardo da Vinci.  Having gotten a better offer, de Winter drugs the Musketeers and gives the plans over to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).  A year later, D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), leaves Gascony for Paris to become a Musketeer.  When he gets to Paris, a series of misunderstandings lead to him having consecutive duels with all three Musketeers, but it’s broken up by the guards of Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), the diabolical priest-y dude that’s trying to take control of France from King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox).  The Musketeers find out that Cardinal Richelieu is trying to take over France with an elaborate plot to make it seem like Louis’ queen, Anne (Juno Temple), had been banging the bejesus out of the Duke of Buckingham.  I don’t know how that will help him take control of France, but you just go along with it.  The Musketeers have to stop the plot, D’Artagnan starts wanting a piece of the Queen’s lady-in-waiting Constance (Gabriella Wilde), and that airship comes back into the movie.

This isn’t what I would call a “good movie”, but it was decently fun for all of it’s stupidity.  I think that what I didn’t like about this actually had nothing to do with Paul W.S. Anderson.  It was mainly the story.  Yeah, it’s LOOSELY based on a fantastic novel, but it kind of fucks of what made the novel good.  The novel was a lot of fun, and the movie is as well, but they started to lose me when they brought in the giant airship, which was basically one of the boats from Pirates of the Caribbean with a balloon on the top.  My mind instantly went back to watching Wild Wild West and seeing that big, ridiculous, mechanical spider.  The airship was slightly more plausible than the spider, but still pretty ludicrous.  So ridiculous was it that, when the Musketeers were escaping from their pursuing airship by flying into some storm clouds, I half expected the response to “You’re never going to find them in there” to be them activating the medieval radar, which would essentially be them pulling a lever and dropping a whale out of the bottom of the ship and using it’s echolocation to find the other airship.  It wouldn’t have been that farfetched to me when contrasted with the flying pirate ships.  My remaining complaints on the story require ::SPOILER ALERTS::  First, one of the most memorable things about the Three Musketeers what the fate of Milady de Winter, and this movie pissed on that well and good.  In the novel, it’s a very memorable part when Athos is forced to have de Winter executed for her betrayal, even though he loves her.  It’s a very poignant scene.  They go for it in a sense here, but then put it under the glass coffee table and shit all over it’s chest.  It takes place on the airship and Athos is going to shoot her, but she dives off the airship into the water – easily ten stories above the water – in order to save Athos from the regret of killing her himself.  Naturally we assume, understanding physics as we do, that falling from that height and hitting water would be roughly the same as hitting concrete and de Winter would be pulverized, so I was okay with the way they decided to stick to the book.  At the end of the movie, the Duke of Buckingham fishes her out of the water, alive but a bit confused.  And she walked pretty well for someone whose BONES WOULD BE POWDER!  And that’s not even mentioning the unlikelihood of someone actually being able to locate someone adrift in the ocean.  Athos also was going to kill her because she betrayed France and it was his duty, not something stupid and selfish like his own hatred.  I also didn’t understand the idea of letting the Cardinal get away with his attempted betrayal, but I can’t really shit on it because I don’t remember what happened to him in the book.  ::END SPOILER::

One could argue that Paul W.S. Anderson had at least some control over the script, but since I don’t know his level of involvement, I can’t really blame the story on him.  The parts that I would expect a director to be in control of were actually pretty enjoyable, with a couple of complaints.  The main complaint comes from the answer to this question: what do you think of when you think about the Three Musketeers?  For me (and probably most people) it’s sword fights.  There isn’t an actual sword fight until about a half hour into the movie.  That’s not to say there isn’t action for the first 30 minutes, but they made the characters that I think of as iconic examples of sword fighters into people to whom swords were fairly secondary to pistols or fists.  And, in the case of Porthos, baskets he’s found laying around.  Some solid swordplay comes up later, but it bothered me that they would rather give the Musketeers some fantasy contraptions instead of having them sword fight.  And the action scenes were pretty fun, although they did use slo-mo a little much for my tastes.  I was a bit confused by Athos because he stabbed a guy in the chest and then headbutted him.  Why would you do that?  He’s already dead.  If you wanted to hurt your own head, you could’ve just face-planted after stabbing him.  Another thing that made me dislike the giant airships in this movie was that it was more time where they were doing action without the sword fighting I came to see.  It was just like Pirates of the Caribbean cannon battles in midair.  At one point, de Winter has to steal some jewelry from the Queen, and they tried really hard to fit in the overused classic of red lasers in a hallway that you can only see by blowing some powder down the hall.  To do that, they used thin, nearly invisible razor wire.  It worked well enough.

The performances were very hit and miss in this movie.  The person who could be considered the main character, Logan Lerman as D’Artagnan, did not work for me.  He reminded me of Keanu Reeves in his delivery, and that’s not really a compliment.  His delivery was quasi-surfer dude in a time period that didn’t support that.  I also didn’t like a couple of things they did with his character, like how he would defend his horse’s honor … to the death!  This also happened right before another stupidity on his part.  Moments before, his father warned him that his opponents might not be as honorable as him.  Then, the first thing he does when he gets into a fight is to turn his back on his opponent.  He gets shot for it, but sadly it was only a flesh wound.  Also, when he finally kills Rochefort, he stabs him in the chest with his heirloom sword that his father gave him and then lets him fall off of the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral with it still in his chest.  I know that you could go and take it from his corpse on the floor, but you also could have kept your fuckin’ sword by just pulling it out, dumbass.  I thought all three of the main Musketeers did very well, but did nothing particularly standout.  Milla Jovovich did a fine job, but I was mainly looking to see her be hot, so I got that.  Gabriella Wilde as Constance and Juno Temple as the Queen were also very beautiful.  Christoph Waltz did an the job you’d expect from a great actor like him, but you do begin to wonder about his choices in movies now that he’s getting to be a big name in America. Orlando Bloom seemed much more gay than usual in this movie, even though he was trying to be a badass.  Also, James Corden as Planchet, the fat comic relief, was annoying, and in the film far too often.

The Three Musketeers was exactly what I expected it to be.  They took a good story and wiped their asses with it, but had some decent action that was perhaps a bit light on the swordplay for my tastes.  Altogether it was a dumb movie, but fun enough that I don’t regret the dollar I rented it for.  I’d say it’s worth checking out from the RedBox, but you’ll also do alright if you never get around to watching it.  It’s the dumb fun for a night of shutting off your brains, or making fun of it with your friends.  I still like the Kiefer Sutherland/Charlie Sheen/Oliver Platt movie a lot better.  This version of The Three Musketeers get “Are you always this cocky?” out of “Lower the whale!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.