The Gods of Olympus are not happy. In fact, all hell is breaking loose on the Mount. The immortal Olympians are at war with one another, leaving mankind at the mercy of vengeful monsters and demons. Which is all, of course, rich fodder for Hollywood. Consequently, 2010 will see two big-budget fantasy-adventure movies based on ancient Greek mythology released within almost a month of each other. First up is Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief…

Directed by Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter films, Percy Jackson has several other parallels with the world’s most famous boy wizard. Both have their origins in children’s literature – Potter, of course, is from the pen of J.K. Rowling, while Jackson is the creation of American author Rick Riordan. Both follow youngsters, at school, as they come to discover they possess incredible magical abilities and have dangerous, important destinies to fulfil. And both have entirely unassuming names.

In short, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief sees water-loving youngster Percy learning he is the son of Poseidon – the Greek god of the sea – and embarking on a mission with fellow young demigods to recover Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt before the Gods destroy themselves in an almighty war. Being the son of a God, Percy is frequently attacked by grotesque monsters, including the terrifying Mrs. Dodds (did you see the trailer?) and the seductive, sinister Medusa (Uma Thurman).

Still, if little Percy can’t restore calm to Mount Olympus, perhaps the altogether more battle-hardened Perseus can in Clash of the Titans – a remake of the classic 1981 film of the same name, famed for Ray Harryhausen’s mesmerising stop-motion animated effects (effects that have already been openly admired elsewhere on Movie Talk).

The ante has evidently been upped this time around. The giant scorpions of the 1981 film have been supersized for 2010, the three blind witches have been made more nightmarish, and Medusa appears to have more split ends than ever!

Percy and Perseus clearly have big battles on their hands next year, but who will win the battle that matters most… at the box office?

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is released on 12 February 2010.

Clash of the Titans is released on 26 March 2010.