Percy Jackson movie disappoints many fans


Whitney Robbins, Editor

Seeing a movie adaptation of a book is basically a reader’s dream come true, or is it? Critically acclaimed book Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first of a popular children’s fiction series published in 2005. Five years later, the book became a movie, and while many people loved the movie, they may not realize that it is vastly different from the book, and not necessarily in a good way.

Different Characters, Same Names

The characters in the movie are nothing like the characters in the book. In the book, Percy and Annabeth are twelve years old, while in the movie, they’ve aged five years. This changes the whole purpose of the series, as Riordan points out; “The series is grounded on the premise that Percy must progress from age twelve to age sixteen, when according to a prophecy he must make a decision that saves or destroys the world…Starting Percy at seventeen makes this undoable.” The main focus of the series is for readers to follow the characters as they grow and mentally develop, facing struggles and achievements along the way, thus allowing the readers to create a deeper connection to the characters. Starting the characters past the coming of age makes it difficult to make this connection.

Clarrise’s Absence

Those who have read the book noticed the absence of Clarrise, daughter of the war god Ares and one of Percy’s enemies. While it may not seem like it, her absence actually changes things for some of the characters and the sequel. It seems as though the director gave Annabeth a number of Clarisse’s character traits. In the book, Annabeth is a true daughter of Athena; she’s not much of a violent fighter, choosing instead to use her brain rather than her hands. Clarrise is the complete opposite. In the movie, Annabeth is more like Clarrise in the fighting sense. Clarrise’s absence in the first movie changes the relationship between Percy and Clarrise from the books. Clarisse makes a huge effort to make Percy’s life at camp miserable the second he arrives; they even become enemies after Percy defeats Clarisse’s father in the first book. In the second movie, Clarisse is seen as a new camper who simply has a competitive rivalry with Percy, taking away the conflict and any chance of a meaningful conciliation. 

Percy’s Parentage and Power

Percy’s revelation about his father and learning to control his powers is something Percy faces throughout the series. In the first book, about eight chapters in, Percy finds out his father is Poseidon after receiving a sign from him. This is a huge thing, as it confirmed (or so they thought) that Percy is the half-blood in the Great Prophecy. In the movie, everyone already knows Percy is the son of Poseidon except Percy himself (though he finds out almost immediately upon entering the camp). The lack of suspense and reaction from the other characters take away the importance of the Great Prophecy. Percy also shows immediate control over his powers in the movie, something that took years for him to do in the book series. This, going back to the first point, changes the character development. 

While fans may find the movie to be disappointing, they will be both happy and relieved to know that Rick Riordan is currently helping with a Percy Jackson series coming to Disney Plus.