Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief (PG)

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The Independent Culture

So here is how the dread Chris Columbus intends to fill the franchise-vacuum once Harry Potter finally departs the screen.

It's the same kind of deal: an unassuming schoolboy, Percy (Logan Lerman), discovers that he's got magical powers, what with being the son of Poseidon and therefore a demigod. The plot involves him trying to rescue his mum (Catherine Keener) from the jaws of Hell, though it's your own jaw that might need fixing as Hollywood does Greek mythology like you've never seen before. "A Fury, concealed in our school – I should have known," says Pierce Brosnan, playing a Chiron the Centaur, an all-in-one panto horse. Sean Bean glowers as Zeus, Steve Coogan camps around as "Hades", and Las Vegas does duty as Lotus Land. Percy, dyslexic in English, turns out to be a whizz at Ancient Greek – not that you'd know, given the level the screenplay is pitched at ("Beat it, nymphs!"). If they'd played it for laughs it might just have worked, but in fact its earnest tone and digimation effects stick pretty close to the Potter model. We could be in for a very long haul.