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Chris Columbus and the Olympians: Movie Thief

February 16, 2010

I saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians last night. Should have been more wary, with lower expectations. I loved the book, had heard bad things from others who’d seen the movie.

Even so. Oof!

My moviegoing companion ought to have been equipped with a large canvas bag to subdue me. Or at least caramel candy, to glue my jaw shut against squawks of outrage. There was forehead smacking. There was sinking down in my seat with an air of malaise and doom.

Although much of the movie was terrible, there were some redeeming qualities. Good casting. There were bits I liked. There were bits I thought were faithful to the book. There were changes away from the book that absolutely made sense.

But… there were alterations and omissions, and dumb ideas like conflating two or more characters into one confused and mercurial person. Bad. Very bad. I am annoyed that they changed the ages of the characters to be older, but at the same time, seemed to give them less credit for knowing mythology and making smart decisions. I fear that this ties to other ways of altering children’s literature in a way that underestimates how smart kids are.

I wish Alfonso Cuaron, who directed The Prisoner of Azkaban, had directed this. Or… someone who had read the book! had directed it!

Despite my various sources of indignation, I am glad they made the movie. Maybe more kids will read the book (please let it not be released with an updated movie cover!) and I hope that Rick Riordan will keep writing with Greek gods and demigod kids as characters. I also hope he got a big fat check.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    February 16, 2010 3:16 pm

    I was excited about this movie when I first heard about it.

    My position now: It’s a renter at best. I’m going to go home and hug my copies of the books, happy that at least those won’t change.


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