Film Fridays: “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

“Percy Jackson” shares the same director as “Harry Potter.” So it’s not a surprise that the font for the opening title of the movie strangely looks Harry-like.  You can start comparing the similarities between Percy and Harry, but don’t let that bog you down. Percy has a new battle, a new story, and is an entirely new hero. Logan Lerman, whose previous work includes the short-lived Jack and Bobby, the 2007 western 3:10 to Yua, and the 2009 film Gamer, plays the teenage hero. He’s definitely a good fit, but as a fan of the books, I’m a little concerned about the differences between the book and the movie. Alas, it’s expected. Annabeth, the hero’s female companion (think Hermione) is supposed to be blonde, but in the movie she’s a brunette. I can only imagine that it has to do with blonde jokes because Annnabeth is the brains of the group. Also, Percy is supposed to uncap his pen, not click it, to turn the pen into a sword. And don’t get me started on an iPhone product placement as a strategy to defeat Medusa.

What I Expected

I expected the movie to be a fun-filled adventure full of magic via special effects. I also expect there to be amazing battle scenes, after all, the characters are supposed to get in touch with their ancient Greek side.

What It’s About

Percy Jackson, a New York teenager with dyslexia and ADHD, discovers that he is a demigod and the son of Poseidon, the god of oceans, earthquakes, and horses. He enters a summer camp for demigods which trains him to survive against battles with mythological monsters. During his training, he learns that he is blamed for the theft of Zeus’s lightning bolt, and Zeus would start a war against Poseidon if the bolt isn’t brought back.

You’ll Like

The special effects – there are a lot of them–a lot for a PG movie.

The monsters – they are plenty scary! The Minotaur and Medusa were incredibly done. I get chills looking at those snakes.

The adventure – going on quests across the nation and in a Masserati? What teenager wouldn’t pass on that.

Logan Lerman – he was perfect as Percy. We’ll see if he becomes Spiderman.

You’ll Dislike

The plot – I have to becareful on this. I enjoyed the movie, but having read the books, the film was a bastardization of the books. A lot of the important character development and important themes and symbols that made the book great was lost in this movie. We hardly spent any time in Camp Half Blood, which was essential to Percy’s trainings. And all the events were all wrong. Where is Annabeth’s famous NY Yankees cap of invisibility? Where is Percy’s ability to stay dry in the water? Where is Clarisse? Where is Dionysus? Where is the Oracle? Where are the different-themed cabins? Where is the Iris-messaging? Where is Cerebus? No where.

Being rushed – You may not think the movie felt rushed. But if you’ve read the book, it was. The Oracle, which was supposed to be important in a lot of Greek myths because it led to quests for heroes was no where to be seen. This was replaced with a quest to find 3 stupid pearls.

Rating

I’d give it 1.5 stars out of 5 If I never read the books I would’ve given a higher rating. But after reading about how it should be done, I felt devastated and cheated that the movie didn’t do the book any justice. At least with Harry Pottter or the Twilight series, their movies stuck with the books as best as they could. In Percy, it wasn’t so. It was almost an entirely different story. The only think they kept accurate was the beginning scene at the museum, although even then, Percy was supposed to kill his teacher (who was a Fury). Even the final battle scene was different!!! Anyway, I’m extremely angry and disappointed in this movie. I understand that there’s a lot of material in the books that needed to be cut to fit a 2 hour movie. But they cut out so much that they lose the integrity of the books. Can us fans get a do-over?

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