[Contains lonely thunder-clouds and SPOILERS!!!]
Ch4 were showing Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief (2010) on Sunday, and I was tricked into recording it by the stacked cast list… Bean! Brosnan! Coogan! Dawson! Keener! Pantoliano! Thurman! Winstone! Names, names, names!!!
Sadly, the opening scenes were so achingly dull, with such lame, stilted dialogue, I ended up fast-forwarding through most of it, only stopping to check out the contributions of the major female cast members, who were totally wasted in thankless supporting roles. Catherine Keener plays the rundown, emotionally-abused mother of the eponymous demigod, who’s eventually nabbed by ‘Hades’ (Lord of the Underworld), and held hostage in return for a magickal “Master Lightning Bolt” that everyone believes ‘Percy’ stole from ‘Zeus’ (King of the Gods). Uma Thurman plays ‘Medusa’, a Gorgon with a chip on her shoulder and CGI snakes for hair, who gets beheaded by the movie’s hero. And finally, Rosario Dawson plays ‘Persephone’, the supposed “wife” of Hades… in the sense that he abducted her, and tricked her into eating food from the Underworld, thus dooming her to remain there for six months of every year, for all eternity (according to classical mythology, I mean).
As I say, I didn’t watch the movie properly, so it would be foolish of me to try and critique the way women are treated in this movie overall… but I did watch all of Persephone’s scenes, and couldn’t help feeling she got rather a raw deal. From the moment she’s first mentioned, she’s depicted as an abused, imprisoned woman who takes in “secret visitors” behind her husband’s back… but weirdly this situation is played for nudging, winking laughs, rather than the tragedy it really is. When she first meets the hero and his sidekicks, she makes a saucy comments about “having” his Satyr friend (‘Grover’), and keeps eye-f*cking him for the rest of the scene. After a lot of blah, Hades finally gets his hands on the Bolt, and decides to go back on the ransom deal by feeding Percy and his friends/mother to the flaming souls of the Damned. Uh-oh! Persephone bravely snatches the Bolt away from her “husband”, and blasts him with it, thus saving the hero’s life, and everyone he loves. Hurrah! And how does Percy thank her for this timely intervention? He does not. At all. In the slightest. Not even a cordial nod or a smile!
Then there’s the whole issue of going home again. Apparently, the only way to get out of Hades is to use the magickal pearls that Persephone had left scattered around the real world (for her “gentleman callers” to use), which the hero and his two friends had collected during the “quest” segment of the story… but because they’re idiots and can’t count (or they were hoping someone would die along the way), they’d only picked up three pearls, for the four of them. Maybe if they’d actually bothered to show some gratitude to Persephone, she’d have given them an extra one, but instead she just shrugs and leaves them to decide amongst themselves who has to stay. Grover nobly volunteers to remain behind with Persephone, who sets about seducing him shortly after the others leave. Later, when Percy returns the Bolt to Zeus, he pleads with the God to release his friend from the Underworld, specifically stating that Grover was “the only reason” they escaped in the first place. Ungrateful git! He doesn’t even give Persephone (who happens to be Zeus’s daughter, btw) a shout-out for the rescue, or appeal for her to be freed from her dismal domestic situation. Some hero he is! And when Percy meets up with Grover again in the closing scenes, they don’t even mention her, or what the two of them got up to together, or how sad her situation is… they just fuss over the young Satyr’s budding new horns. Feh!
P.S. There were trailers for the soon-to-be-released sequel in all the ad breaks, and the only observation I can make about that is: Nathan Fillion’s a funny guy, eh?