This morning (2/12/2010) I caught the first showing of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: the Lightning Thief at my favorite cinema.  Because its the early show, I paid $4.00; my drink and snacks cost more than twice that.  I feel ripped off; I want my $4.00 back, preferably out of director Chris Columbus’s pocket.  Why?  Because the movie was pretty bloody bad that’s why!  Compared to the book, it was deplorable and outright insulting to the audience’s intelligence; on its own, it was just suck.

I had seen the teaser trailers for this movie and didn’t think much of it.  In fact, at first, I thought it was a teaser for the Marvel movie Thor, which wouldn’t be coming out till next year at the earliest; I figured if that was the case, than maybe it was part of a far-reaching marketing campaign, but I digress.  I decided to read the book (not a mistake, as I will explain later) and was very hyped to see it.  After I saw trailers that included elements that were not from the book, I was hesitant but adamant to give this movie its fair shake.  I have been known by many of my friends to have an open-mind, and I take pride in that (one of the few things that I do pride myself on).  However, one can only have an open-mind for so long.

So what makes this movie bad?  That needs two sets of responses: how its bad compared to the book and how it is bad on its own.

First the snobbish comparison of the book.  By the way, I am going to avoid as many spoilers as inhumanly possible as the book is so damn good that I want everyone reading this to read the book.  Anyways, the movie did not get the characters right in their personalities or some of their capabilities; certain characters were artificially combined into other characters and done so without a meaningful purpose or in a well executed manner.  While I FULLY understand the need to cut material out when translating a book into a movie, some vital bits of exposition and explaination are taken right out; while minor elements are over exaggerated and played off as major plot points.  The journey the characters take goes from being a great and fully developed attempt at a classical heroic myth set to the modern world, the movie makes it into a teenage road trip to collect items; GOTTA CATCH’EM ALL!  As with cutting some material out, losing some characters make sense as you won’t have the time to adequately develop them or their purpose isn’t as necessary to the immediate story being presented.  At the same time, WHY ADD POINTLESS CHARACTERS/ENCOUNTERS IN?!  If you wanted to add material from future books, wait for those movies to be made or just hint at them; don’t frakking include them.  I’m not even sure if the director actually had anybody read the book!  I think I could go on until I have an aneurysm, so I will move onto the secondary set of reasons: its just bad by itself.

By itself, the movie is only actually marginally bad; its no Manos: the Hands of Fate.  I must admit, I did not sit through the whole movie; I was pretty disgusted by most of its execution that I left about maybe a half-hour before the movie ended.  The pacing of the movie was far too rushed.  I remember Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (another Chris Columbus film) having an excellent and easy pace to it; you could follow it along and you were gripped by the characters and story enough to patiently follow as the story unfolded.  That being said, this movie moved like it was outrunning a crazed horror movie-esque serial killer.  In the movie, one of the characters is diagnosed with ADHD; by the writing/acting of the movie, they didn’t have ADHD, the movie did!  Some of the movie’s logic was flawed and inconsistent.  Also, due to explanations, some things go unexplained that NEED EXPLAINATION!  (By the way, as I would prefer for you to vote “no” to this movie by not watching it, I don’t care about spoiling the movie for you.)  At the start of the movie, Poseidon, god of the seas, god of horses and earthquakes, comes walking out of the water as a frakking giant (easily 40 or 50 feet tall) and in plain view of at least a single fisherman; and the fisherman just sorta shrugs it off.  Where are the newspaper reports reading, ‘GIANTS WALK AMONG US!’ or whatever?  Where is the sheer mortal terror of seeing something that unbelievable?  Now, in the book, there is an explanation as to why nothing happens and I would accept that explanation in the movie, provided an explanation was given.  Given the importance the role Percy plays in the movie and how important it is that he recieves training for his mighty task (suspension of disbelief turned on, at this point), why was no one paying enough attention to make sure he recieves his almighty important training?!  He just sneaks off after a single night with his wants-to-be-Harry Potter’s lackeys-entourage without so much as a red alert, a single sentry horn being blown, or even a chubby kid who plays by the rules going, “you can’t go out past curfew.”  Oh, a great moment of dumb is when Percy asks why the gods won’t physically visit any of them.  The Hermione responds that it is the law as set down by Zeus, lord of the gods.  Percy’s response?  “Well, that’s stupid!”  Yeah, I agree; what a frigging cop-out.  There is pretty bloody good explanation given in the book; why it wasn’t used, I don’t know; I’m not a director.  Here’s a bit of bad design: the Underworld.  Yeah, they go to Hell, and it is only mildly annoying.  Things seem kinda bad and what drama they try to attribute to it, isn’t done very well; whereas in the book, you get a sense of I-do-not-want-to-be-here.  By the way, I would spoil the names of the characters in the movie to you if they were the characters from the book and not Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I think I have rambled/ranted about long enough.

Next time Mr. Columbus, read the book; not the Cliff Notes.

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