Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightening Thief" in theaters

I was in Florida this past weekend, visiting my sister when I went to see this movie. First off, I'd like to say that I am in love with this book series. The author, Rick Riordan, works Greek mythology into present day life with such ease and believability, not to mention a very sharp wit that all ages can enjoy. So, needless to say, I was pumped about going to see this movie.

As a film, I enjoyed it immensely. There were good action sequences, it was quite humorous, and also heart-warming. However, it differed radically from the book. For one, two main characters were left out, which makes doing any sequels a bit troublesome, as one of these characters is quite important in the later novels.

Percy was played by Logan Lerman, who, as my sister pointed out, looks, talks, and has the mannerisms of Zac Efron 3 years ago. And ever since she said that, that's all I can think of when I look at him. However, Logan did an admirable job. It was clear that he spent a lot of time training with weapons, and the chemistry between him, Annabeth, and Grover was good. What he did lack was the sense of humor that is so evident in the books. In the film, pretty much all of the funny lines were given to Grover. Brandon T. Jackson (i.e. Alpa Chino from "Tropic Thunder"), did a great job as Grover, and his comedic timing was spot on.

Annabeth had a certain air of smugness and self-righteousness about her that Percy chipped away at throughout the film, which is generally how it went in the books. And just like the book, the filmmakers didn't give you any sort of release for all of that sexual tension.

I have an issue with the director choice of Christopher Columbus. While yes, he is very accomplished at what he does, I find that he tries to make everything almost too family friendly. Case in point: the movie version of "Rent". The fact that he took R-rated material and made it into a PG-13 rated movie took away a lot from what the original play was about. But I'm not delving into that here.

My biggest pet peeve during this film was that Zeus decreed that all Gods were not to have any contact with their children. I thought that this was an effort by the director to make the gods seem like they weren't assholes. But that isn't sticking to the roots of Greek mythology, which pretty much state that yes, the gods were assholes. They made their kids fight their battles for them, and a lot of the time, the kids didn't want anything to do with the gods. In the Percy Jackson books, it goes along the same lines. Zeus didn't decree anything of the sort. What he, Poseidon, and Hades did do was create a pact that said they wouldn't have any mortal children after World War 2, because WW2 was the result of the skirmishes between them. The fact that Percy Jackson exists in the first place is a HUGE deal in the books, but not so much in the film.

But I digress...

I've learned that you can't go into an adapted film with the idea that it's going to be exactly like the book it's based on. So, as a whole, I still enjoyed this film for what it was. So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 7.5. I'd probably see it again in the theaters, and it will certainly become a part of my collection when it comes out on DVD.

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