Did The Writer Even Read the Book?

Carey Drissel, Author

One thing that really bothers me is how different the Percy Jackson movies are from the book series. Also, I suggest you don’t continue reading this article if you haven’t read The Lightning Thief.

There’s only 2 movies(I wonder why), so I’m just going to talk about the first one, The Lightning Thief. Here is a quick summary: Percy Jackson, a 12 year old boy just found out he is a son of Poseidon and is being accused of stealing Zeus’ Master Bolt. Once he gets to Camp Half-Blood, he is sent on a quest with Annabeth and Grover to find said Master Bolt by the Summer Solstice to prevent a huge war between the gods.

Now that you understand more about the book, let’s talk about the movie. The first major difference is that they aren’t 12! In the movie the characters are 16 instead of 12. Another difference that isn’t that important but still recognizable is Yancy Academy isn’t an sleep-away boarding school and Percy goes home after school. Also, the scene when Mrs. Dodds tries to attack Percy is different as well. In the book, after Percy vaporized Mrs. Dodds with the pen/sword Chiron gave him, Chiron and Grover try to confuse Percy into thinking that Mrs. Dodds never existed. In the movie, Chiron and Grover just scare Mrs. Dodds off and leave Percy’s memory of her completely vivid. A couple other scenes they left out are: Percy didn’t meet the Fates at the fruit stand, he and his mom didn’t go to Montauk before the Minotaur chased them to Camp Half-Blood, Clarisse isn’t in the movie at all, and Percy doesn’t get claimed after they play capture the flag, everyone already knows that he is the son of Poseidon.

Some differences aren’t too important but their all pretty noticeable. However, a couple of difference are so far off it baffles me.  One is that they completely left out the Fates. In the book, when they get on the bus after getting sent on the camp, the Fates come on their bus and attack Percy. In the movie this isn’t even down-played, it just doesn’t happen at all. Another major difference is that in the book Percy gets sent on a quest by Chiron to go to the Underworld and confront Hades and if he has the Bolt, take it from him and bring it back to Zeus by the Summer Solstice. In the movie Hades visits the camp through the campfire and tells Percy to bring him the Bolt in exchange for his mother. So Hades sort of sends Percy on the quest. Also, in the movie when they’re at Medusa’s statue garden, they aren’t greeted by Medusa and given food, there’s a random lady trying to get away from Medusa who tells them that their in Medusa’s lair, but she isn’t in the book. They also don’t take the train to Denver, they drive a truck to find the next pearl. So basically the whole quest is different. Instead of traveling all the way to California to find the entrance of the Underworld, they have to find 3 pearls that will take them to the Underworld. I’m not going to put anymore differences since the whole story line is different while they’re the quest. In the book after they get back from their quest and it’s the last day of the summer session at camp, Luke takes Percy into the woods and reveals that he is the Lightning Thief and almost kills Percy. Instead of this happening in the movie, Luke is on Mount Olympus waiting for Percy and Annabeth so he can steal the Bolt back from Percy before he returns it to Zeus. The ends are also pretty different, too. The book ends as it being the last day of camp and Annabeth telling Percy that she’s going home for the year and coming back in the summer and Percy making his decision to go back home, as well. The movie ends with a random scene of Percy and Annabeth practicing their sword fighting with each other.

I understand that movies that are based off of books are never going to be as good as the book, but it would’ve been nice if the people that made the movie went along with the book a little more. The 2 are barely the same story line. Even the author of the book thinks that and has stated that he is embarrassed that the movie is in  association with his name. I also know that they have to add scenes to make the movie better but again, it would’ve been better if they followed the story line rather than make new scenes. All in all, the book is way better than the movie and the movie is a completely different story.