Movie Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief

From Wikipedia
You know a movie's bad when even Sean Bean can't save it for you.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from the Percy Jackson movie. I had heard that it wasn't great, and young adult/ middle grade books don't exactly have an awesome track record when it comes to movie adaptions. Some changes are understandable, but what I don't get is when directors feel the need to cut out or change major characters and moments during the process.

The most noticeable difference would be in the major personality changes in the main characters. Annabeth (a blonde played by a brunette) is supposed to be tough, certainly, but that first scene where we saw her practice fighting I thought that she was Clarisse (a brunette to be played by a blonde), a character from the books known for being rather rough and short-tempered compared to serious and calculating book-Annabeth.

Grover was also acting strangely. Normally introverted and skittish, throughout the movie he was cracking jokes and flirting with women just about every moment he was on screen. Also, within the same setting, he would switch between his satyr form and his human disguise, which came off as sloppy directing-wise. His desire for a searcher's license, also a major plot point in later books, is not even mentioned in this film. How they're going to work this out in their planned future movies, I have no idea.

Percy's attachment to his absent father kind of bothered me in the books,  but I never realized just how nice it was until I saw how cold their scenes in the movie were. That's Luke's thing, and paired with the movie backdrop of Zeus forbidding the gods from seeing their children I again don't know how that will fare for future Percy Jackson movies.

And then there's who they left out. Ares plays a major part in the first book, fueling the actions of not only Percy and his friends but the other gods as well, and the fact that he has no speaking role in this movie is what crumbled the film for me. Essentially, the entire climax of the book was changed for reasons I don't totally understand.

On a positive note, the movie was beautiful from a visual effects point of view. Gone are the plastic, campy monsters used in old Greek hero movies, the sleek CGI of this film looked fantastic. I was especially impressed with Percy's healing abilities, involving water climbing up his arm, which looked incredibly realistic.

Overall, I'm embarrassed to hear that they're making a second film. I certainly have no plans to pay to see it unless another fan of the books confirms to me that it's accurate, or at least takes a good shot at accuracy. Every book in the series compounds on those that come before it, so a very different movie right from book one doesn't give me good vibes about the potential rest of the series.

And don't get me started on Persephone, my favorite Greek goddess who appears only in the fifth book.

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