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Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Judge a Book By It's Movie... Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson books are a hit again. Since the movie was released on February 12, the books have not been on our shelves at the library. Which is a good thing. The series is wonderful! Every book in the series is a page turner. So why get all upset about the movie? The only good thing that the movie has done for the series is getting more readers for the series. Other than that, it proves that not all books should be made into movies. Which is a disappointment, because Riordian's series seemed to spell out movie magic, instead it was movie hack job. Sorry, it didn't do the book justice and here's why.

The movie lacked the suspense that the carried the series. Reading The Lightning Thief, it was hard to pick out who was the real thief. What the movie did was pick out one other camp member besides Anna Beth and Grover, which happened to be Luke, as a way of pointing out the possible thief. Good let's just point the finger at the only person in the camp as he possible thief. Wouldn't you know it? The thief was Luke. Didn't see that coming? Than you must slept through the movie. One of the most memorable character of the series was no where to be found. Clarisse is a character everyone loves to hate. She has all the elements of the arch enemy but in a pinch you want her on the hero's side. So where was she? For that matter where were Ares and his cool motorcycle, Dionysus, the Wine god who had a bad attitude or The Fates, the three women who hint at Percy's destiny. So many wonderful supporting characters that would have added more depth to the movie, were eliminated. The movie cuts her out. To bad, the director missed out on a golden opportunity to add the suspense that was desperately needed.

What else was missing? Percy's mission. Throughout the series the mention of how Percy was to be the "one" that all the prophecies spoke about. This demigod. son of Poseidon, would either destroy the gods or save them. There was no mention of this mighty mission. Instead, Percy was thrown into the middle of a war between gods over Zeus' lightning bolt. There is no clue to Percy's destiny other than getting his name cleared. The meeting with Zeus on Mount Olympus was less than satisfying to say the least. When Zeus asks why Luke would want to steal the bolt, Percy answers lamely that Luke wanted more power. Duh! It left the question hanging, Why? Was he working alone? Does he want power for himself? Nope just wanted the gods to destroy themselves so he can have power.


The books let the reader escape reality for a while. It is pure entertainment. Hollywood always tries to add a commentary that they feel is relevant from the headlines. Examples of this in the movie comes at least twice. First when Grover explains to Percy that demigods are everywhere even in the White House. Okay, we get it. Hollywood loves Obama, but does it have to put that in the movie. It is so cheesy. Again, Grover’s got something to say about reality when he tries to pay for the fare across the river Styx. When his money bursts into flames, he makes the statement about the recession. The whole reason to go to the movie is to escape from reality. Politics has no place in this story.

Besides basically re-writing Percy’s story. The acting in the film was average. The only bright spot, was Medusa. Uma Thurman did a wonderful job protraying the most feared woman in Greek Mythology. Too bad her presense in the movie was brief. The casting of Pierce Brosnan as Chiron was fatal. Brosnan’s performance was not up to par. It was very hard to get past the fact that James Bond is now half man/half horse. Shouldn’t Brosnan, with his stunning good looks, been one of the gods? (Minor complaint that has nothing to do with the book to be sure, however still worth mentionng.) The casting of Logan Leman as Percy was perfect if all the Producer was interested in was someone who “looked” like Percy. Other than that, he and his co-stars Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario couldn’t bring the charactes alive. Could it be that the script gave them so little to be inspried by?

If Hollywood decides to go ahead with the series and release Sea of Monsters, I will pass. Instead, I’ll pick up the book and get lost in between the pages using my own immagination to create the scenes of the book. I’m sure it will be much more satisfying.
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