Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. (2010) Directed by Chris Columbus, Twentieth Century Fox.
Rated PG (for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language)

I went with three teenagers to see The Lightning Thief yesterday.  The theater was packed with young people, mostly boys. I have a few comments, but encourage you to stop here if you don't want to know how the movie compares to the book! 

First, let me say that we all enjoyed the film.  The special effects, acting, and pacing were great. I don't think that any viewers went away disappointed - that is, however, unless they were expecting strict adherence to Rick Riordan's novel.  Following are a few of the differences between the book and movie versions (in no particular order): the sequence of events at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was deleted and replaced with an incident in Nashville, Tennesse. Annabeth is not a blonde and doesn't have a special baseball cap. Percy, not Gordon, wears the flying sneakers. The Ares cabin at Camp Half-Blood is never mentioned, and Percy's showdown with Ares in California is missing entirely. Also, as a New Jerseyan, I could not help but notice that Percy and company meet up with Medusa in Leeds, NJ (home of the famous New Jersey Devil). I don't recall the location in the book, but I'm sure that it was not Leeds, NJ.

A few modernizations to the story were added as well - in the Las Vegas casino, Grover struts to the groove of Lady Gaga, when crossing the River Styx, Grover complains about wasting money in a time of recession, Annabeth worries that Homeland Security will be looking for the group, and finally, Percy views Medusa in the reflection on his iPod Touch. None of these detract from the story, but may have the reverse effect of dating the movie as the years go by.

Overall, I thought the movie was great!  I'm looking forward to Rick Riordan's next series about life after Camp Half-Blood, and I hope to see Sea of Monsters on the big screen as well.

Enjoy the movie trailer!


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