As you may have guessed from the lack of complete book reviews this week, things have gotten a little hectic here. Mostly in a good way, as I’ve started a pretty cool cloning experiment in the lab (cloning proteins, not sheep as I informed my disappointed sister!) and gotten to visit with the boy for three whole days. So this week I don’t have any non-project books to review, but I did get to watch Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightening Thief with the boy so I’ll be reviewing that today.
Unfortunately, after having read the book, the best way to describe the movie is disappointing. There were changes from the book right away, but I was willing to overlook them as devices to move the plot along since they weren’t major changes. But as we got deeper into the movie more and more major plot points were changed. The entire motivation for the hero’s quest becomes different, the villain from the book actually doesn’t appear in the movie at all (!!) and the whole plot becomes predictably mundane.
There were also changes which took away from the character of the book. For example, Hades becomes very stereotypical, with Charon looking like the grim reaper and the Underworld looking like a vision of Hell – none of the humor of the ferryman of the dead wanting a raise now that he’s discovered Armani suits, no EZ-Death line for those content to go to the underworld for the average – very disappointing! Percy also becomes much less heroic, as he doesn’t actually have to battle the villain himself to retrieve the lightning bolt. Overall, I would still give the movie 2/5 stars instead of one because the casting of the characters who were included was awesome and it really is fun to get to see the characters from the book.
Despite my negative reaction, it is worth noting that the boy enjoyed the movie pretty well. He likes movies with good monsters and this movie definitely had that! The monsters and other special effects were all done very well. Thanks to the changes from the book, the plot was nothing special, but if you haven’t read the book I think this would be an acceptably good movie, closer to 4/5 stars. As a result, I think I would actually recommend seeing the movie first, so you can enjoy a good movie and then be pleasantly surprised by the more intricate plot in the book.