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Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Movie Review: The Lightning Thief + Sea of Monsters

Contrary to everyone thinking the Percy Jackson movies were disastrous, they weren't all that terrible in my opinion. Of course, the movies do have some parts that I pretty much disliked, especially the first one.

The Lightning Thief
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel
Release Date: February 12, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG

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's 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.

Percy (Logan Lerman) possesses newbie really well when he first finds out he's a demigod. Thing is, what's with everyone calling him "Perce?" It's like a girl lost her purse and she's screaming, "PURSE!" As if that's going to pop up magically. Yeah... not going to happen. I wasn't too bothered by the nickname though. I did, however, had a problem with how Percy is claimed. In the movie, he's plopped oh so casually into Poseidon's cabin – no OUNCE of water power beforehand. It's not until later everyone figures out he's the son of Poseidon because the dude nearly died.

In reality, I seriously wanted to see Clarisse (no appearance) trying to dump his head in a toilet in the girls' bathroom. And then she gets drenched instead. It's one of my favorite parts of the book that I was excited for back in 2010. Although back in 2010 I wasn't so critical. I was all, "Yay it's a movie and it looks so cool!" Automatic like. I didn't even read the book until later. Still liked the movie even then.

Yeah, yeah. Twelve year old Sophia was naïve, totally happy go lucky, and full of mischief.

Another part I wanted to see was the part where Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) says they drowned in a bathtub whenever they faced that one dude in the underworld, who unfortunately looked more like a grimm reaper than what I recall. I let it slide since the Underworld actually looks amazing – not that I want to be dead!

And then there are the shoes. Percy uses them... a lot. Weren't they supposed to give him a one way trip to the Underworld (of course, Luke's (Jake Abel) plan of that failed in the book)? But I have to say seeing the flying in action before going to Mount Olympus is pretty cool. Only because I'm evil enough to think Luke drowning is funny. :p

The best part of the movie were probably special effects, the credits at the end (come on. Gabe totally deserved it), and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson).



Sea of Monsters
Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel
Release Date: August 7, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG


In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.



I have to say I feel a bit sorry for the director here in the second Percy Jackson movie. Although fans have really high – and I mean off the charts high – expectations for the sequel, it's pretty obvious the director tried his best to not only follow the book as closely as possible, but undo the "damage" done in the first movie, and I applaud him for doing the best he can.

Some of the original cast members are back – Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Percy (Logan Lerman), and Luke (Jake Abel) – but some, like Chiron, have changed dramatically. There's really no way the actors are the same for the centaur – I watched Sea of Monsters shortly after The Lightning Thief – even if there's a whopping 3 year gap. Personally I don't get what the fuss is all about over the entire movie – a director can only do so much fixing after all in the sequel without causing more damage.

The second Percy Jackson movie also does a clarification with Percy's age with the prophecy – the Oracle's creepy by the way, and what's with the puppetish stuff in that scene? In the first one, it's obvious, he's older than in the book. I get the entire reasoning behind the increase of age, and don't quote me because I'm relying on my memory – back in an interview in 2010, the director mentioned that he increased the age due to the dangerous stunts a 12 year old would have to if he casted someone younger.

Of course, it certainly makes sense to increase the age, but I had one particular question after reading The Last Olympian nagging at the back of mind: How would the prophecy work if he's 15? He's 16 in the last book, and 15 in the fourth book. Do they increase the age of the prophecy as well then?

It's revealed in the second movie that the new age is 20. I suppose it's another part of the damage control. Precisely why I like Sea of Monsters better than The Lightning Thief – the director doesn't do a bad job, and the visuals were very well done. Even the casting for Thalia is really good – has anyone even noticed? – despite the fact her death near the beginning looked a bit fake.

In all honesty, I haven't lost too much hope for the movie version of the series. Or maybe I'm a sucker for visuals. :p

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Sophia

Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts. She also doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). She's a first year Communications major from the St. Louis area, though she sometimes wish she wasn't. Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.

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