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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Reviews

A.O. Scott
At the Movies
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I thought it was mischievous and witty and amusing and I was just sort of drawn into it.

Full Review Source: At the Movies

February 16, 2010

Time Out
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It's not enough to compensate for the computer-game-style plotting, which is largely based on us picking up narrative nuggets that mechanically slot into place later on.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 2/5

February 16, 2010
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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Director Chris Columbus has brought together the modern and mythical spheres with sharp pacing and a nifty sense of fun that atone for the film's dippier moments. It's his most enjoyable effort since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

February 12, 2010
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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Dutifully Potteresque it begins, and dutifully Potteresque it ends.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

February 12, 2010
Adam Markovitz
Entertainment Weekly
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Has all the CGI sorcery of a Harry Potter pic, but none of the magic.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C+

February 12, 2010
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Percy Jackson, you are no Harry Potter. You are not fit to walk in a hobbit's wake.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: D+

February 12, 2010
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
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Harry, Ron and Hermione: Relax. You could whip Percy Jackson and his pals with your wand hands tied behind your backs.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2/4

February 12, 2010
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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The film toggles between high camp and deadly earnestness, all the while threatening to drown in an ocean of not-so-special effects.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

February 12, 2010
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
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Likable as Percy may be, it's not lightning he's stolen.

Full Review Source: Newsday

February 12, 2010
Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
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This is a kids' movie: Parents can either get into the silly-suspenseful spirit of it or play Rummikub on their iPhones.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: 3/5

February 12, 2010
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Like its stars, the film is genial good company.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 12, 2010
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
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Unfortunately, the movie lacks that good old Potter charm, trading Harry's dark whimsy for a handful of CGI magic beans.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 12, 2010
Mary Elizabeth Williams
Salon.com
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When the movie slows down to catch its breath, there's very little of the heart and soul -- and wry wit -- that make the Riordan books so beloved.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

February 11, 2010
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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Although the standard allegorical bases for mythical-quest movies are dutifully covered, the obvious similarity of Percy Jackson to the Harry Potter movies inevitably makes it feel somewhat secondhand.

| Original Score: 2/5

February 11, 2010
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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You don't even have to be familiar with the first book in Rick Riordan's popular fantasy series to enjoy Chris Columbus' energetic adaptation.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

February 11, 2010
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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This is generic filmmaking at its most banal, a simple-minded simplification of a not overwhelmingly complex book.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

February 11, 2010
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The fireballs are great but the story feels confused in its tone and direction.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 11, 2010
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Kids may well enjoy the adventures of The Lightning Thief on screen, but I think most readers will prefer the movie in their imaginations.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

February 11, 2010
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
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An attempt to steal some of Harry Potter's thunder that also stands on its own as a well-made large-scale adventure that works well enough to entertain the teens it's hoping to strike.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 3/5

February 11, 2010
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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With great effects (and a few surprises) it's a fun, Saturday-matinee adventure.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

February 11, 2010
David Plotz
Slate
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Columbus directs with his usual frying pan to the head. Music is forever swelling majestically. Characters are always opening wide their eyes and mouths to gaze in wonder.

Full Review Source: Slate

February 11, 2010
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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Percy Jackson & the Olympians sounds like an Otis Redding cover band. It is, instead, an unofficial cover of the Harry Potter franchise.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2/4

February 11, 2010
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
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The movie feels like a cut-rate Potter knockoff with a dash of Ray Harryhausen.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

February 11, 2010
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
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In Columbus' hands, it once again all breaks down into a series of rushed, breathless special-effects setpieces, in a thrill ride that isn't headed anywhere new.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: C-

February 11, 2010
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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The Lightning Thief makes the idea of a sequel seem like an inviting proposition.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 11, 2010
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The Lightning Thief isn't electric, but it generates some spark when it varies the Grecian formula.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 11, 2010
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Even with all its computer-generated fireballs, it's lukewarm medium-budget blockbustering.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

February 11, 2010
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Uma Thurman demonstrates she can wear a snake-covered head as gracefully as Pierce Brosnan can trot around with a horse's netherlands.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

February 11, 2010
Peter Debruge
Variety
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Action movies of this scale often start off strong and wind down to forgettable finales, but Percy Jackson is the opposite, overcoming a clunky setup to deliver nearly all its thrills in the last half-hour.

Full Review Source: Variety

February 11, 2010
Ethan Alter
Hollywood Reporter
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What's really lacking in The Lightning Thief is a genuine sense of wonder, the same thing that brings viewers back to Hogwarts over and over again.

February 10, 2010
David Germain
Associated Press
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It's more a list of ingredients than a movie-magic potion to enjoy from start to finish.

February 10, 2010
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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Percy Jackson isn't a great movie, but it's a good one, trotting out kernels of Greek mythology like so many Disney Channel references.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 3.5/5

February 10, 2010
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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For what it is and for whom it is intended, it's not a bad movie, just an indifferent one.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 2/4

February 10, 2010
David Jenkins
Time Out New York
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Chris Columbus returns to his comfort zone for this mirthless, episodic fantasy saga based on the young-reader book series by Rick Riordan.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

February 10, 2010
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