Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) for Rent on DVD and Blu-ray, Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this movie is an aged-up version of the Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief book that Common Sense Media recommends for readers 9 and up. Young hero Percy is now in high school rather than middle school; his satyr friend Grover loves the ladies; and a trip that Percy, Grover, and Annabeth take to a casino has a nightclub, a full bar, and trippy lotus flowers that all the patrons ingest (in the book, they play video and arcade games endlessly). Plus, the violence level is high for a PG-rated movie: Monsters are very frightning, especially the demonic ones — like Hades aflame with skeletal wings and a fury sent to destroy Percy — characters (monster and human) are impaled and slashed at with swords, and Percy’s mom is crushed by a minotaur and taken to the underworld. After Medusa’s head is severed, it’s dragged along on the road trip to Hades.
Gabe slaps Percy’s mom’s behind in front of Percy. Grover is all about the ladies — he has a horde around him at a casino and asks jokingly, “Which one did I propose to?” after he tells Percy he’s getting married. Persephone kisses Hades passionately, then turns her attentions to Grover saying, “I haven’t had a satyr [pause] visit before.”
Battles with some mythological monsters are quite frightening. Some creatures are also demonic-looking — like a gruesome fury, a giant Hades with skeletal wings coming out of a campfire, and scores of tormented fiery souls. Others are just large and violent, like a minotaur and a hydra with many snapping, fire-breathing heads. Medusa’s head of snakes is severed and carted around. A car is thrown, limbs are hacked by swords, and two characters — one monster, one human — are impaled violently. There’s lots of fighting amongst campers, with some blood (though Percy magically heals in water).
“Ass” a few times. “Highway to Hell” plays on the radio as the characters head for the underworld. A few uses of “God” as an exclamation. Plus insults like “bald-headed freak” and “little brat” exchanged between Percy and his stepfather.
Along with all the positive messages of family loyalty and perseverance, comes the negatives: absentee parents, disobedient teens, teens who express dislike of their parents, and some rewards for negative behavior. The underworld depicted seems like a place of torment for everyone. There’s also some very reckless teen driving — Grover falls asleep at the wheel and almost gets hit by a semi, and later teens speed down the freeway in a sports car.
Converse All-Stars should have their own credit (even though the kind with wings that the movie’s characters fight in aren’t for sale). An iPod is also an important part of the story. Also shown: a Mac laptop and a sports car. Plus shout-outs to The French Connection (original) and Mick Jagger.
Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol
Lotus flowers at the Lotus Casino are offered constantly to guests; they have a mind-altering effect that make patrons loopy and unaware of the outside world. Gabe drinks beer or asks for a beer in every one of his scenes. There are fruity-looking drinks at a bar in the Lotus Casino around teens.
Not an issue
Depends on your kid and your family
Not appropriate for kids of the age most likely to want to see it
After discovering that he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon (Kevin McKidd), teenage Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) strikes out on an action-packed odyssey to rescue his mortal mother and negotiate a peace treaty between his father, Zeus (Sean Bean), and Hades (Steve Coogan). Directed by Chris Columbus, this family-friendly tale of adventure also stars Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson and Uma Thurman.,