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PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: Episodes 1.1 and 1.2: “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher” and “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom”

"Mythological Mish-Mash"

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What You Need To Know:

PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS is a live action fantasy adventure series on Disney Plus. After losing his mother to a minotaur, 12-year-old Percy Jackson is thrust into a world where Greek mythology is a reality. Percy is bullied by his peers but strives to prove his worth. He takes on a dangerous quest to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt before war breaks out between the Olympian gods. Can Percy save the world in time?

Based on the popular children’s book series, the first two episodes of PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS leave a positive first impression. The characters, comedy and cinematography are well done. The series stresses redemptive, moral values of bravery, self-sacrifice, and staying loyal to one’s friends. On the flipside, episodes celebrate Greek mythology and several pagan rituals from Ancient Greece. For example, characters offer food and prayers to Olympian gods. Lastly, the action scenes contain intense sword combat, monsters getting stabbed, and certain figures disintegrating into dust. There is no blood, but the violence pushes the limits of a TV-PG rating. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for children and teenagers.

Content:

(PaPa, C, B, FR, VV, AA, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong pagan worldview mixes Christian and Greek ideals, the main character fights to protect his family from danger, a boy remains loyal to his closest friends, a mother sacrifices herself to save her son from a monster, a boy displays persistence despite the demigod children belittling him, the demigod characters offer prayers and food burnings to their Greek gods, an oracle foretells a prophecy, the demigods practice self-defense with Greek weapons and armor, and the Olympian gods are shown to be neglectful and uncaring;

Foul Language:
No foul language in Episode One or Two;

Violence:
No blood, but moderate action violence throughout, two scary monsters are stabbed to death and disintegrate into piles of dust, a woman is crushed into a sphere of golden light, teenage demigods engage in sword-to-sword combat, a boy receives visible sword cuts on his arms, a boy stabs a minotaur through the head, and three characters survive a major car crash;

Sex:
No sex;

Nudity:
No nudity;

Alcohol Use:
No onscreen alcohol consumption, but a boy’s stepfather is implied to be a drunkard, and the sarcastic god Dionysus briefly states how he lost his godly privilege to magically produce his own wine;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs, but a son of Poseidon heals his wounds by the way of water magic; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
An abusive stepfather argues with his wife and his stepson, a father uses an online gambling website, three demigod teenagers physically intimidate the main character twice, a girl leaves the main character out of the loop with her game plan, a boy urinates in a forest, the main character’s allies gaslight him into believing he did not fight his teacher-turned monster, and the camp mentors withhold crucial information regarding the fate of a human mother.

More Detail:

PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS is a 2023 live action fantasy adventure series on Disney Plus. After losing his mother to a minotaur, 12-year-old Percy Jackson is thrust into a world where Greek mythology is a reality. Percy is bullied by his peers but strives to prove his worth. He takes on a dangerous quest: to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt before war breaks out between the Olympian gods. Can our hero save the world in time? This Disney Plus original series is based on the children’s book series of the same name.

In Episode One, “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher,” sixth grader Percy Jackson begins to question his reality. Over his youth, he saw glimpses of supernatural creatures. His peers treated his anecdotes as crazy gobbledygook. Fast forward to the present. Percy and his class head to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art to study the Greek exhibit. However, the weirdness has just begun.

A female bully teases Percy for his dorkiness. Angry, he accidentally shoves her into the water fountain. He then attracts the attention of Mrs. Dodds, a human teacher who transforms into a winged monster. By instinct, Percy activates his school pen and turns it into a golden sword. The monster lunges for him, but his blade seals the monster’s fate. Percy looks around for witnesses, but everyone acts like the fight never occurred. Moreover, the school principal expels Percy for “pushing” his rowdy classmate into the water fountain.

Later, Percy explains these strange events to his mother, Sally Jackson. Sally reveals the truth. He isn’t crazy. The monsters and gods from the Greek stories are real. Moreover, Percy is half-human and half-god. She warns him that the scent of demigods attracts the bloodlust of nearby monsters. The mother and son duo quickly drive to a secret training camp for demigods. A minotaur picks up Percy’s scent and crashes the car. Sally makes Percy a promise that she will stay behind and distract the monster. The minotaur claims Sally’s life. Outraged, Percy’s instincts engage, and he stabs the monster into dust. The episode ends with an injured Percy being transported to Camp Half-Blood.

The first episode of PERCY JACKSON performs the amazing feat of introducing the world in under 40 minutes. The acting is strong, the bonding between mother and son is charming, and the minotaur action scene is exciting. The only issue with this pilot is the heavy exposition dump within the beach cabin. It somewhat derails an otherwise well-paced episode. Percy’s journey is further elevated in Episode Two.

In Episode Two, “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom,” Percy enrolls as a student at Camp Half-Blood. The camp is a training ground for “half-bloods,” people who were born of human and godly parents. Percy struggles to fit with the other demigod children, who are skeptical of his “beginner’s luck” in defeating the minotaur. However, Percy tries to invoke the attention of one of the Greek deities. If Percy can prove himself as a capable fighter, he might be able to be “claimed” by his true Olympian father. Will Percy be able to stomach the ugly truth of his fate?

The second episode of PERCY JACKSON offers great character development for Percy and the supporting cast. The episode plants the seeds for Percy’s persistence, proving his detractors wrong, and being proactive in his goals. The episode also fleshes out his main companions Grover and Annabeth. Grover is a clumsy satyr who has Percy’s back while Annabeth is a smug Athena child with real wits. Moreover, there are several laugh out loud moments with Grover and the other camp counselors. There is also a thrilling sword fight between Percy and the Ares children.

The last thing to note is comparing the show to its source material. The show retains the “middle school adventure” spirit of the book and stays true to the characters’ personalities. It doesn’t talk down to its audience or beat them over the head with “THE MESSAGE.” The author of the much loved Percy Jackson book series is an executive producer on the Disney Plus adaptation. As such, the show will appease both newcomers and longtime fans of the books.

The first two episodes of PERCY JACKSON leave a positive first impression. The characters, comedy and cinematography are well done. The series stresses redemptive, moral values of bravery, self-sacrifice, and staying loyal to one’s friends. On the flipside, the main character celebrates several pagan rituals that originated from Greece. The characters offer food and prayers to the Olympian gods. Lastly, the action scenes contain intense sword combat, monsters getting stabbed, and certain figures disintegrating into dust. There is no blood, but the violence pushes the limits of a TV-PG rating. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for children and teenagers.

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