Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Movie Review
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Movie Review by Stacey Tuttle
The pervasiveness and potency of the “Daddy issues” throughout the movie really surprised me –especially in a movie geared toward teens. It seemed they handled so casually, even flippantly, a topic which to me is of grave import and significance…and also sadness. Admittedly, there was at least some positive resolution coming from Percy’s matured perspective. But, almost if not all of the teens are hurt, confused and even bitter toward at least one of their parents. In fact, it was either Luke or Grover who said, “We all got Daddy issues.”
Significantly, these teens are having issues with their Olympian god parent, which means, not only do they have issues with their dad (or mom), but they also have issues with their god. Most often, they feel abandoned and unloved by their god-parent. Hard enough to take from a parent, but all the more difficult when it’s someone who is supposed to be god-like. We may cut some slack for mere mortals, but we have much higher expectations for gods.
The gods in this movie are not very godlike, however. The only thing about them that is like god is the super human powers they possess. In terms of character and personality they act completely human. Not only that, but even their powers, while great, are still limited. It is because of this limitation that Percy’s dad was forced to disassociate with his son, though it was entirely against his will. (Compare to God of the Bible: Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)
It is important to realize that many people view God in much the same way as in this movie. They see God as flawed, attribute human need, emotions and limitations to him and are hugely disappointed in him. While man was made in God’s image, God was not made in man’s image. While the gods in this movie may share some similarities to earthly parents, they share no similarity to our Heavenly God.
The resolution that Percy has in his issues with his parents comes from a change in his perspective. Percy never could understand why his mom wouldn’t leave the horrible man they were living with. He saw it as a weakness in her. Later, when he realized that she stayed with that man for the sole purpose of helping hide and protect him, he realized that she was actually using incredible strength and self restraint. She was acting from love, not weakness. She was secure, not insecure. “Mom sacrificed so much for me,” he says. Perspective put things in a whole new light and changed an issue of disrespect into a point of profound respect and appreciation for his mother.
Percy also found some healing in his relationship with his father through a similar paradigm shift. He always felt his Dad had abandoned them. As he began to understand more of the circumstances, he began to understand that he was protected, not abandoned. Percy had made a lot of harsh judgments based on the information he had. It had never really occurred to Percy that his understanding could be limited, incomplete.
Percy’s shifts in perspective are an interesting point of discussion on a couple of levels. First, consider areas where you have a beef with someone. Someone has wronged you (or wronged themselves or someone else…etc.)—it is possible that you don’t know the whole story. It is possible that if you were seeing things from their perspective, you might not be so offended by their actions. Even if what they did was still wrong, you might at least be more understanding of why they did it. Compassion goes a long way toward forgiveness. Second, consider if possibly that wrong was done by a family member, or even a parent. How many times do parents withhold information to protect their children? A lot. And because of that lack of information, kids make judgments based on incomplete facts—just as Percy did. And that false perspective can sure inflict a lot of unfair wounds, to both parties.
Third and perhaps most significant, if you’ll remember, Percy’s dad wasn’t just a dad, he was an Olympian god. Percy felt abandoned, wronged, hurt by a god. How many people feel that God has wronged them? Whether they believe in the God of the Bible, or simply have a vague idea that there is a god out there—how many people are angry at God? This is HUGE! There is a monstrous opportunity to help people change their perspectives about God and the wrongs they perceive they have received from Him.
Questions for Discussion:
- Are there people that feel you have wronged them? Did you feel falsely accused? That they didn’t understand?
- Who are people who you feel have wronged you in your life? Is it possible you don’t have all the information? Have you tried to understand or give them the benefit of the doubt?
- Do you feel your parents have wronged you? Do you have “daddy issues”?
- Do you feel God has wronged you? If so, what does that indicate about your understanding of the character of God. (i.e. If you feel God deceived you, then you believe God is capable of deception.) What does the Bible say about the character of God in response to that? (i.e. God is truth and there is no deceit in him, John 16:7, I Pe. 2:22.)