For example, when Percy Jackson arrives at Camp Half-Blood in the movie, he sets his eyes on his about-to-be-sidekick, Annabeth, as played by Alexandra Daddario. Only in the movie, unlike in the book, Percy and Annabeth exchange a seemingly endless series of longing looks that reminded me of the yearning looks exchanged between Bella and Edward in the movie version of Stephenie Meyer's YA paranormal, Twilight. Here Annabeth Chase's slightly parted pillowy lips seem designed to accessorize her noticeable bosom. Yes, this is the hot version of Annabeth, which threw me off a bit as a reader of the series and also makes the Potter movies' cute-but-true-to-the-book-character Hermione seem better than ever. Especially considering Annabeth is written by Riordan as such a strong character, smart and independent. At least she gets to show off her combat and archery skills as the movie progresses!
Even Grover does not escape unscathed: he is presented as what the Brits in our midst would call randy. (In the books, Percy and Grover sometimes notice girls are cute, but that's about it.) Grover is also a hip-hop caricature; I suppose this is sort of fun, but I'm not sure I'm sold on it. Anyway, movie Grover acts hot-to-trot in Vegas, land of the Lotus Eaters, and even with Hades' wife Persephone, who also gets to be sexy in this film, coming on to Grover in turn. I realize satyrs have a reputation in mythology, but Riordan really didn't go there.
Finally, Logan Lerman, the actor who portrays Percy, looks like a young Chase Crawford. Which is pretty funny, since Gossip Girl's 24-year-old Chase is so young himself that he really shouldn't have a junior clone. But he does. Meet the movie Percy, who, like Annabeth, is fully capable of smoldering stares in the middle of the action.
At best, these touches of sensuality are a little distracting. At worst, they mar what started out as perfectly good middle grade fiction. Again, I have to recommend the Harry Potter movies, which manage to show adolescent crushes in a natural way, as part of the storytelling, i.e., without any panting, lip-parting, or pat sexual innuendos.
Good things about the movie? Well, the depictions of the gods and monsters are terrific. In particular, as the critics are saying, Uma Thurman's Medusa is wonderful. And I really did enjoy seeing this best-selling adventure story retold onscreen. But if you go to the movie theater to watch The Lightning Thief, be prepared for a few surprisingly sultry moments.