Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

This was a movie I was very excited to see since it’s an adaptation of a book series that I’ve come to love. Many people compare to Harry Potter to which I say, well yeah, it’s about a boy in a magical world who grows up and discovers how important he is. Stories in the same genre tend to have similarities. Get over it. That being said, I watched this movie for the same reason that I watch the Harry Potter movies: not because I expect it to be comparable in quality to the books but because I enjoy the nostalgia it gives me for the books. It’s a piece of the thing I love even if not quite as good.

I found the movie to be a lot of fun. By no means is it a top quality book, but there was some great action and the animation was well done. Uma Therman, for her part, was fantastic. Brandon T. Jackson was perhaps the best of all in the movie playing Grover the Satyr. He had the majority of the funny lines and delivered them all perfectly. I hope we’ll be seeing more of him.

But as with any movie made from a book, there are things that had to be left out. Some of those decisions were good ones but as usual, some were unfortunate. They cut out a few characters that were particularly interesting and combined the Annabeth of the book with another character who served as Percy’s rival, particularly in the beginning. They also cut out the details and hints that set up the bigger plot that carries through the entire series. I think this is part of what makes people look at the story as inferior to HP since part of HP’s brilliance is in the vast details that JKR managed to weave into the books. Rick Riordan did the same with Percy Jackson, even if not to the same degree, but the movies cut out most of that.

Some of the acting was a little overdone, particularly in the beginning. In a way it felt like the actors needed time to get comfortable in their roles and by the end managed. The added scene of Poseidon and Zeus in the beginning was both unnecessary and way overacted but did have some particularly cool graphics for when Poseidon (Kevin McKidd of Grey’s) stepped out of the water. A little bit of the writing was cheesy.

One of my biggest complaints was that Annabeth had blue eyes rather than grey. I know this is such a minor thing but when “grey-eyed Athena” is such a famous and important detail, it seems like the kind of thing you should keep consistent. Part of the charm of the series is the way it weaves myth with reality.

But aside from the obvious issues, it was enjoyable. I would recommend first reading the book and then watching the movie. Keep in mind it won’t be as complex or excellent but it’s still fun if you don’t expect too much.

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