If volume of queries received at Movie Moron Towers can be considered a reliable indicator, then anticipation is most certainly building ahead of the release of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
. A teaser trailer has surfaced this week, signalling the intentions of 20th Century Fox to stake a claim for the teen-sorcery market which is currently buoying Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
towards the worldwide box office top spot.
Based on the first entry in author Rick Riordan’s recently-concluded five-book series, The Lightning Thief
chronicles the adventures of the titular young Master Jackson (played in the movie by Logan Lerman) when he discovers he is the demigod son of lord of the seven seas, Poseidon himself (whose filmic physiognomy will be provided by Trainspotting
actor Kevin McKidd).
Although the trailer reveals as little as one might expect from a mere scene-setter, Riordan’s book sees troubled youth Percy discovering his Olympian heritage and being subsequently inducted into Camp Half-Blood, a Long Island summer school for demigods. As well as hooking up with primary cohorts Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, and a Satyr named Grover, Percy also becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the theft of Zeus’s thunderbolt.
Like a kid-friendly version of Marie Phillips’ Gods Behaving Badly
, which saw the down-on-their-luck Greek deities transposed to London (Aphrodite taking up occupation as a telephone sex operator, Apollo finding employment as a TV psychic), Rick Riordan gives his Immortals a contemporary spin, with Mount Olympus being situated on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, and the underworld kingdom of Hades (who will be played by Steve Coogan) recast as a Hollywood recording studio.
Also starring Pierce Brosnan as Camp Half-Blood tutor Chiron, Uma Thurman as the monstrous Medusa, Ray Winstone as Ares, Rosario Dawson as Persephone, and Sean Bean as Zeus, The Lightning Thief
was shot in Vancouver under the direction of Chris Columbus, whose prior engagement as helmer of the first two Harry Potter
flicks will only serve to emphasise the parallels between those films and Percy Jackson
. As well as the magic academy milieu, ominous foe lurking in the background (here in the form of elder God Kronos), and boy & girl best pals, even the title font at the tail of The Lightning Thief
teaser looks rather Potter
Following the success of Warners’ Potter
and New Line’s Lord of the Ri
ngs franchises, movie studios have been scrabbling around as they search for the next literary fantasy-derived licence to print money. But Disney’s Narnia
movies, while profitable, have not quite captured the public imagination in the manner of the cinematic tales from Hogwarts and Middle-Earth, while New Line’s Golden Compass
, derived from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
trilogy, came a cropper with audiences and critics alike (possibly due in part to star Nicole Kidman resembling a pale and skeletal Peter Crouch). Whether The Lightning Thief
can step out from the shadow of Potter
remains to be seen, but the February 2010 release date does mean it will get to steal a march on Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans
, the altogether rather different take on the Olympian legends scheduled to hit cinemas in March.
Sources: Slash Film