So. Percy Jackson. Man, I was so excited for the movie.
Well, it turned out okay. Not exactly what I was expecting, but good in its own ways. I’ll do this review in list form to keep it simple. To find out what the movie’s about, read up on it here.
1. Good acting. Nobody in the movie was terrible. Some, like Grover, were pretty good. Some, like Percy, will get better. The acting wasn’t painful to watch at any point.
2. Fair script. The concept of the story was the same, but there were some changes in plot, which meant that instead of having Percy discover things (such as his birth father), it was told to him. It’s not quite as dramatic as if Percy had found out on his own, but it doesn’t ruin the movie. Some lines were a little stilted, but not too blatantly so.
3. Great special effects. Man, when Percy was using his “Son of Poseidon” powers, well, it was cool. Medusa was cool. The hydra was cool. Special effects in general are cool. Oh, and I thought Grover’s legs looked pretty good.
4. Interesting take on the plot. The Lightning Thief was pretty complex in the plot part o’ town. Lots of things were going on between lots of different people. The movie pulled the focus away from those delicious morsels of excess and stripped the characters down to keep it simple. However, what they replaced it with was still a fairly strong plotline (that worked better for the movie, giving the character’s direction and drive). Still, fans of the book will be dissapointed to see absences of many characters and also, that many of the big issues were tamed down. Like, how the gods were kind of careless with their children– well they had a different take on it. It wasn’t as powerful as what Riordan wrote, but it wasn’t crippling to the movie.
Okay. So my opinion was that despite the changes, the movie came out okay. Personally, I think that changing the meaning of their quest (from just getting to Hades in the book to having to find certain things so that they could eventually get away from Hades in the movie) was a good move. It worked because it gave the movie direction. In books, long adventures are okay to read about, but in movies, audiences will tire of them.
However, I felt like they took away a lot of what made the characters unique. The beginning felt choppy and rushed. You didn’t get to know the characters as well. The whole thing about the Greek gods seemed toned down, the way it was delievered not quite as big bangy as it could have been.
My biggest gripe was the Underworld and Hades whole part which was totally off from the book and frankly was the movie’s weakest point. Hades was a victim, not the bad guy for once and here they had to go and ruin it. The underworld isn’t at all what it is in Greek mythology– it was a fire-and-brimstone thing. And Persephone wouldn’t have been down there– she would have been on Olympus because it was summer. It was kind of careless for these mistakes to be in there. But whatever. It didn’t spoil the movie, but it didn’t add to it.
My final thoughts? As long as you’re not a hardcore fan, you’ll enjoy seeing the book come to life. It was funny and there was a lot of action. I especially liked Medusa and the Lotus Casino. My parents, who have not read the books, thought that it was pretty cool, so if you’re not a fan, you’ll probably enjoy it too. Compared to many children’s movies out right now, it’s good. If you’re a fan, or a family, I advise that you watch it at some point, in theatres or on DVD (or BluRay). I think most people would enjoy it.
The ending is open enough to leave room for future installments. With a good screenwriter, I think as a movie series, Percy Jackson has promise. But if you really want to enjoy Percy’s world, I advise you read the books as well (read my review of those here).