Friday, February 19, 2010

The Lightning Thief: Two Perspectives [Movies]

Monster and I went to see Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief on Wednesday. Monster has read the series, but I have not. We went to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant for lunch afterward and discussed the movie, which seemed the appropriate place to discuss Zeus, Percy, Annabeth, and Poseidon. We both really enjoyed this film, so we thought we'd give you a little review from both perspectives: mine having not read the books and his having read them.

Plot Sketch: It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves. Written by 20th Century Fox posted from IMDB.

The Bookless Perspective
by I Heart Monster

I went into the movie with only one person (@faeriexflash) having given me any feedback at all about the quality of the flick and it was positive. I didn't know anything about the story, even though Monster has read all five of the books. I hadn't even seen a movie trailer.
In my opinion, it starts out kind of slowly. I guess they needed to lay out some background for motivations later on in the movie, but there was a point at about seven minutes in that I was like, "Okay already."
The bulk of the plot is pretty coherent, but there were a few points that made me go, "Huh?" I'll share those below for those of you who don't want spoilers. Honestly, there were only two, and they didn't detract from the storyline at all. Having not read the book, I was still able to grasp the story and enjoy it.
The special effects are amazing. Ah. Maz. Ing. I think that this aspect, more than the screenplay or the acting is what made the movie so incredible to me. I didn't catch myself wondering how the effects were done or pondering the plausibility of their existence. Since this is a fantasy of sorts, that's saying something for me. I usually enjoy my epic fantasies if I watch them, but not if I read them. At the same time, I'm quick to point out realistic flaws in the renderings, which usually fall on the special effects crew. It wasn't so with this movie!
Having owned these books for years, I kind of feel ashamed that I haven't read them yet when they've been so close to me. I underestimated the potency and appeal of the story. There were several times during the movie that I thought, "Wow. I really need to read these books!" Even though I know that the movie and the books will not line up, I know that the books will be better than the movie. Since I loved the movie, I'm bound to love the books, right?

The Reader's Perspective
by Monster

I was looking forward to seeing the movie because I knew the story certainly had potential to make a good movie. I was really hoping it wouldn't be drastically changed and underdone like Eragon was. I was interested in seeing how they would depict the gods and if they would be anywhere near what they are in the book.
Overall, the story was similar to the book, but obviously not identical. There were some pretty major changes made between the two stories. I thought the story in the movie flowed pretty well. They did a pretty good job of keeping things clear. Obviously, I had more understanding about what was going on than a person who hadn't read the book, but I don't think they left too many mysteries for those who haven't read the book. They did a pretty good job of staying true to the spirit of the books and everything ended up where it was supposed to be.
I thought the special effects definitely made the movie. They could have been pretty cheap and see-through, but it is clear that they put time and thought into the process and development. That effort made things work out really well and more believable on screen. You know when you see bad special effects and you're just like, "That's a bunch of crap. That's so fake."? This movie was not like that.
There were a couple of story line changes that I was disappointed to see. I understand that they changed them for theatricality's sake, but I was nonetheless sad to see major portions of the story changed. It's been a few years since I read The Lightning Thief, so my recollection is not perfect, but I do know that there were a few large changes made in the movie. As long as you go into the movie expecting it to be different from the novel, you will not be disappointed.

For questions that may contain spoilers,

I Heart Monster's Beefs:

1) How were Chiron, the teacher dude in the wheelchair, and Grover the only ones that heard the Fury in the museum? That so totally didn't make sense to me. She shattered a window for goodness sakes and it was definitely not a sound proof room.

2) In the Parthenon in Nashville, it was blatantly obvious that Percy left the shield behind, but then somehow it magically reappeared when he needed it again. That really bugged.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I didn't read the questions because I bought the book the other day. I shall have to read it and then watch the film :)

Great reviews! I'm excited to see the film and I love it when they have really good special effects!