DVD Release Date:  June 29, 2010
Theatrical Release Date:  February 12, 2010
Rating:  PG (for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material and mild language)
Genre:  Adventure/Fantasy
Run Time:  119 min.
Director:  Chris Columbus
Actors:  Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Melina Kanakaredes, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman, Kevin McKidd, Joe Pantoliano 

At first blush, it's probably tempting to simply dismiss Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as a poor man's Harry Potter

After all, the three protagonists are a destined-for-greatness guy, a whip-smart, know-it-all girl and a goofy, loyal sidekick just like Harry, Hermione and of course, Ron Weasley. But aside from the obvious (like director Chris Columbus' involvement, the man behind the lens of the first two Harry Potter films and Home Alone), the story, which is based on the first of author Rick Riordan's best-selling books for kids, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, definitely has its own action-adventure thing going on. 

Instead of wizards, witchcraft and duking it out with He Who Must Not Be Named, Percy Jackson & the Olympians is the story of a misfit kid (he's got dyslexia, suffers from ADHD and is more comfortable in the swimming pool than anywhere else) who just happens to be a demigod living in New York City. 

Raised by a loving mother who cared enough to spare him the truth about his father (Catherine Keener, essentially reprising her recent role in Where the Wild Things Are) and his obnoxious, abusive stepfather (Joe Pantoliano), Percy (Logan Lerman from 3:10 to Yuma, My One and Only) isn't exactly loving his life right now. 

Not only is school difficult because of his aforementioned maladies, but he can't figure out why his mom would stay with a man who's so cruel. Thankfully, he's got a great friend in Grover and an outlet in swimming, otherwise the day-to-day would be downright unbearable.

But then on a school field trip, everything changes when one of Percy's teachers turns out to be a fury, which his basically a scary, shrieking flying monster. Accusing him of stealing the lightning bolt, something he knows nothing about, of course, a new life is eventually set into motion for his protection.

Turns out, many of the people in Percy's life aren't quite who he thought they were. His wheelchair-bound teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur (half man, half horse) and his BFF Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) who's always walked with crutches is really a satyr (human with goat legs) who's been assigned to protect him. And before long, he's no longer safe going to his regular school, so it's off to Half-Blood Camp, the Hogwarts of the demigod set.

Before heading to Half-Blood Camp, Percy's mom finally ‘fesses up about his real father Poseidon. Not only does that help explain Percy's fascination with water, but provides a reason for why he's never been allowed to meet his real dad. Since the gods aren't allowed to interact with their human children, Percy's mom felt she needed to shield him from that reality (and coincidentally, it's the reason she's living with such an ogre, to protect Percy).