As the first of a possible five adaptations of the Percy Jackson & The Olympians novel series, The Lightning Thief does its job of giving putting things in context for the audience. In theory, the filmmakers hope, people will leave the cinema longing for the sequels. Whether this will work remains to be seen.
The story begins as the characters in Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts come to life: they suspect Percy has stolen Zeus' lightning bolt. As Percy finds himself caught between furious gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.
The movie is significantly different from the book. For instance, the characters in the book are 12 years old, whereas those in the film are young adults. And in the book, the quest that the three demigods embark on has a totally different purpose. It's obvious that some new adventures have been made up to suit this two-hour movie.
Fortunately the visuals are extremely well done, and the fledgling stars playing the main roles do an ample job of engaging the audience throughout the film.
Some say this series follows in the footsteps of Harry Potter. But it seems Percy Jackson & The Olympians discovers a whole new way to tell a story, and a fairly effective one, especially for younger audiences.