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Movie Monday: The Lightning Thief

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Actually, this weekend I watched The Book of Eli, but I think it’s pretty near impossible to discuss without Massive Spoilers, so instead I’ll talk about the movie I watched the weekend before: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

Now, I really enjoyed the books. I’m getting that up front, because I’m generally not one of those people who gets upset if something isn’t exactly like the book. They’re different media, and you can do things in books that you can’t in movies. I understand streamlining the story and having less characters to keep track of. Unfortunately, this script simplified the story to the point where I wondered if I’d read the same book.

It should be noted, however, that Mom, who hasn’t read the book, didn’t find it lacking. (But then, Mom has a great affection for Syfy channel and disaster movies like 10.5 Earthquake Apocalypse.)

Some of the dialogue really clunky. “I’m the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle strategy, so I always win [at war games].” Clearly Athena is also goddess of the exposition bomb. (Actually, all the gods had clunky-exposition-disease. Though judging by Clash of the Titans (both versions) this must be an established a trait of the pantheon.)

It’s hard to find a review that doesn’t call it a “Harry Potter wanna be” but I think that comparison is unavoidable. Not everything that follows the HP… well, let’s say formula, though that’s more negative than I mean it… is a ‘wannabe or a clone.’ HP was hardly the first story where a boy when to magical school and learned he was Special. Not by a long shot.

That said, it did remind me of the first Harry Potter movie, which I’m sure isn’t a coincidence, since Chris Columbus directed both. Mostly, it had that same “oooo, aaaah, look, magic, isn’t it cool” feeling. I think that if the script hadn’t been dumbed down so much, it wouldn’t have such a ‘thin’ feel. The movie lacked depth, even though when it loosened up and had fun with its concept, it was quite enjoyable.

So, pluses:

  • The adult cast. I do love me some Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd.
  • The Medusa. By far my favorite sequence. Uma Thurman was perfect, really went over the top, in a good way.
  • Driving out of the Lotus Casino in the Maserati. (Which happens to have a trident as it’s logo. Nice.)
  • In general, the visuals were just cool and fun to watch.

Minuses:

  • The clunky dialogue was hard to get past.
  • The characterization of Persephone.
  • The complete absence of Ares, despite his being integral to the plot of the book. Also, he was played by Ray Winstone, in the scenes which ended up on the cutting room floor, which would have been awesome.
  • The dumbing down of other plot elements.

Overall verdict: fun to watch, but rather undemanding. If you haven’t read the books, you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.

1 thought on “Movie Monday: The Lightning Thief”

  1. I am so glad someone else noticed that Ares was completely gone and I'm not crazy. It's been quite a while since I read the first book, so I wasn't sure if I had dreamed up some of the plot. Also, where was Clarisse? And I always thought Persephone and Hades had the healthiest of the gods' relationships, aside from the whole kidnapping part, but this made it seem like they hated each other. Loved Rosario Dawson though. And yeah, I think my family liked it more for not having read the books

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