It's no secret, really. Ever since the wild success of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series every entertainment consortium on the planet has been puzzling over how to reproduce the event. One approach is to deconstruct it, reduce each of the elements to its simplest form, and then synthesize something synonymous (albeit less alliterative.) The problem with this approach is that what it produces will always look like Harry Potter's shadow, and if you're clumsy enough people will even be able to see the lightning bolt.
So just put the lightning in the title AND on the posters.
I saw Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on Wednesday night, and I went into it with no knowledge of the books beyond their existence, and with low expectations thanks to my brother Randy's Twitter post about the film:
Wow, Percy-Jackson-Lightning-Thief-movie, what did I ever do to you? Whatever it was, let's call it even. K? Truce?
Low expectations, though... those totally saved this film for me. Thanks, Randy! I'm embarrassed to admit that I had a great time. It was formulaic, predictable, ham-handedly corny, and home to a roundly mediocre set of performances from actors who should know better, but it wanted me to have fun, and I wanted to be entertained. So... here are the rankings for 2010:
1) The Wolfman
2) Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
3) Book of Eli
1 jillionty-five) Legion
I should take a moment here to point out that this list is not about which movie I think is best. This list is about which movies were the most entertaining and/or enjoyable for me when I sat in the theater. Also, this is a completely different list from the one I'd make if I were recommending films to, say, my neighbors and their kids, and that's a different list from the one I'd make if I were suggesting evening entertainment to a friend and his date. Parents? You'll find better moral parables in #1 and #3 on the list above, but the gruesome, explicit context of both The Wolfman and The Book of Eli will likely obscure the message. Percy Jackson, then!
Be warned, though... our protagonist never meets a hair brush, and that crime goes unpunished. Of course, as long as you're really asking my advice... I bet the books are better, and I suspect that your kids will get more by reading.