So since Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters has not come to our local theatre yet, meaning I am unable to do the LitFlix on that movie, I am going to do a bonus LitFlix about the first movie / book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I was honestly amazed that they made a sequel to the first movie, so I am not too surprised that it has not come to my local theatre yet. I had not read the first book when the first movie came out and after watching the first movie I was not particularly interested. I have to say after this whole exercise I am really excited I read the books.
The first Percy Jackson movie was not bad, but it was not really that good and at points it was really cheesy. Some of it is that they tried to jam a lot of content into a short amount of time and did not take into account what was really important from the book. So I really enjoyed reading the books. I started out with the goal of just reading the first two and ended up finishing the entire series. The story was exciting and actually explained why the Greek Gods and mythology were centered in America. The movie was oddly similar and yet extremely different from the book. Some of the differences were particularly important for any continuation with the story.
So the basic world of the movies is very much the world from the book. There are demi-gods who are mostly being raised at Camp Half-blood learning to fight and go on missions. Percy gets the sword called Riptide which transforms from a pen into a sword. A lot of the basics structure of the world exist in both locations. So they have set up the same basic framework for the stories. Most of the similarities are the mythologies that are presented and the creatures. It is nice that they were able to keep the structure the same.
The basic storyline is also the same. There is a boy who does not realize who he is and his power. He gets blamed for stealing something that he did not steal and he then gets sent on a quest to try and solve the problem. Often being tricked, running into various – but very different – obstacles along the way. The basics is where the similarities end though.
The biggest problem that I really had was that it felt that the movie and book were telling different stories. The movie is telling the story of a kid getting caught up in a petty fight with another kid who has daddy issues. It is a small story that has a beginning, middle, end and while there are places they can go with the story everything seems pretty much wrapped up by the end of it. As a story it works, it is pretty cliche and obvious, but it works. Which is part of the reason the movie is neither good nor bad. I enjoyed watching it and if it ends up on television I wouldn’t turn away from it, but do not care to own it myself.
The book on the other hand builds this incredibly complex and deep story that is rooted in the whole world of Greek mythology. I think the biggest difference is that the characters in the book are smarter than they are in the movie. In the movie it is all about action and diving straight in, but in the book there are layers upon layers of politics, scheming, and struggle going on. The explanation for the reason of them traveling across country is that they are on the east coast and an entrance to the underworld is in Hollywood. They cannot fly because the air is Zeus territory and he would strike Percy down in an instant because he thinks that he stole his thunderbolt.
The book plays up the mythology and really connects the Greek Gods with some lesser-known of their powers and creations. The inclusion of the Lesser Greek Gods is a great addition to play up the power play between the different Gods. All of which can be found in the various mythologies.
If you cannot tell, I loved the books and the movie just did not do the story justice.