Percy Jackson and The Olympians–The Chris Columbus Version

The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief



…and not in a good way.

I’m not really sure where to begin here. I feel like I was just slapped in the face.

I would love to know how the director of two of my favorite Christmas movies (Home Alone 1 & 2) as well as Mrs. Doubtfire, a lovable film, has gone so far into the depths of awful.

It’s pretty clear that Chris Columbus didn’t read the book. He approved the script (by first-time feature scriptwriter Craig Titley–who certainly doesn’t have a future in this business) and allowed that travesty to continue past the shredder. I feel like he heard about the book and asked someone about it. That person knew someone who and read it and then told Chris Columbus what he could remember about what he’d been told. Then, when Titley wrote the script, Columbus just didn’t know the difference, and faked his way from there. No one else could have read the book either, because they would have just been confused.

The names of the characters are the same, and it has to do with Greek gods and their children. That’s about it! The intro to the overall series arc isn’t there; it’s oversimplified to the point of stupidity, and the film’s bad guy isn’t even the same one from the book! The main plot points aren’t even there, and 90% is completely made up and/or stolen from the other books.

From the events of this film, there cannot be a sequel, not one with any meaning, even though supposedly there’s a sequel in the works. But again, that’s my problem. I’m trying to fit meaning into this abomination that was the movie I just sat through.

Let’s face it, I must be the one who is unreasonable here. How dare I expect to go to a movie adaptation of a great book, and actually expect to see that book translated to screen in any familiar form. I’ve made my peace with film adaptations of books being a little different. I choose to say, “The movie was ‘inspired’ by the book, not an adaptation of the book.” I’ll allow for some changes, a director has to have an opinion or interpretation and still be recognizable to the audience (I call it the Harry Potter effect, where they make changes, but all the essential plot elements are there. By the way, at the very least, that’s respect for the source material and its author)–but this goes inappropriately beyond interpretation.

I was a little irritated when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince had the Burrow-attack scene inserted, as well as the end battle at Hogwarts cut out. That was like10% inaccuracy–we can chalk that up to creative license. This infamy was that, multiplied by infinity!

It would take too long to go into complete detail describing the downright disregard for the novel, and Chris Columbus, Craig Titley, and their monstrosity definitely do not deserve that time from me at the moment, especially seeing as they owe me $10 and 2 hours for using my love for the original book to trick me into paying them. However, I plan to re-read the book and make a list (or write a book of my own…I’d have enough material) of the differences between the book and the film.


9 thoughts on “Percy Jackson and The Olympians–The Chris Columbus Version

  1. I don’t really have much to add other than I am in complete agreement with you. The best thing I can say is that at least none of the characters peed on anybody (I’m looking at you Transformers) which is my benchmark for a truly terrible piece of film. That being said, a tiny piece of my soul is dead now for having seen this film. The greater tragedy is how much of an awesome opportunity was missed in adapting an awesome and pretty translatable book to film. I can only hope that the terrible terrible film leads some wayward souls to pick up the books to read the true story of Percy Jackson.

    Other points:

    -I like how dyslexia was portrayed using the same effects as Ghostwriter.

    -Even though Bumblebee didn’t pee on anybody, I did find Persephone’s attraction to Grover and the comment that she has never “had a satyr” before completely inappropriate for children although it likely would go over the heads.

    -The above point of course bothering me only after putting aside the complete disregard the movie has for the source material, intelligent writing, editing, or effective story telling. Then again, maybe I’m just being selfish and looking out for only myself.

  2. P.S. I think it is extremely telling that Rick Riordan has not commented on the movie at all on his blog or in an any article that I could find.

  3. I agree. I can find no evidence that he had anything to do with the movie other than selling the rights. I wonder if he’ll do the same for the *gulp* next one…

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