Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
By Kerry Bush
After seeing Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I wondered if the screenwriter of the movie even read the book the movie was supposedly based on or if he just got a summary from Wikipedia.
Although come to think of it, even Wikipedia with all its editors can give a better synopsis of Rick Riordan's epic novel The Lightning Thief than the screenwriter of this movie did.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief failed to follow the plot of the book at all. It left out crucial plot elements - in fact, the movie even failed to reveal the real reason behind the thievery of Zeus's Master Bolt (the lightning referred to in the title of the film).
It invented a reason that made sense in the context of the movie but failed to even begin to capture the theme of the novel. It also left out one of the most critical aspects of the book: the prophecies. These are the future as laid out by the Oracle at Camp Half-Blood, and The Lightning Thief features two.
Percy Jackson is your average American kid save for the fact that his father is Poseidon, ancient Greek god of the sea. In Rick Riordan's book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, these gods are alive and well in the world today.
A child like Percy with one godly parent and one human parent is called a demigod (or a half-blood). These demigods live in society like (semi) normal kids until they are discovered by the minor gods and sent to Camp Half-Blood, a Hogwarts-like place where they can grow up in peace to develop their supernatural abilities (which are different for each camper but always relate to the powers of their godly parent).
Percy, being a son of Poseidon, has control over the water. This is an ability of which much is made in the film (after all, giant tidal waves make for great CGI effects) and that also comes to Percy's aid quite a bit in the book.
When Percy is first discovered to be a demigod, he is immediately brought to Camp Half-Blood. This is where the book and the movie begin to show some serious differences. In the novel, Percy is immediately put through rigorous training to develop his abilities and, in the process, is discovered to be a son of Poseidon.
He is then sent on a quest to find Zeus's stolen lightning bolt. In the film, Percy comes to camp knowing that he is a son of Poseidon and secretly leaves on the quest that night.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was directed by Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter movies, so I'd expected it to be pretty good.
I've read both of the Harry Potter books prior to seeing the movies and was satisfied enough by the movies to continue watching as the novel-based saga unfolded.
After all, had the movies failed to adhere to the books upon which they were based, I would have had no desire whatsoever to watch the last few Harry Potter films despite the fact that they were directed by someone new.
As it was, the first two Harry Potter movies, in my opinion, stuck to the plot of the books very well, and I expected that the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie would do the same.
Unfortunately, the film failed to meet expectations, and I know that if there is a cinematic sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, I certainly will not be seeing it.