Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where's Kronos!?!

Our verdict on the movie: "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief"? Entertaining, but not amazing. I went with my two young- adult kids. All of us had recently read and loved the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympian series.

I usually expect disappointment when a good book is made into a movie (with the possible exceptions of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Wizard of Oz"). It's impossible to fit in every precious scene and nuance.
But, in this case, one awfully big character was left out – the evil Kronos. Sorry if that's a spoiler. The real movie reviewers have insisted on comparing this film to Harry Potter, so I'll use an HP analogy, too.

Leaving out Kronos is like leaving out Voldemort. And as my daughter wondered, so much of what comes in books two through five builds on what happens with Kronos in the first, so what will they do about sequels?

Other changes to brace for: Percy is a high school student, not a 12-year-old. And a few other great characters from the book don't show up, including Ares and his daughter, Clarisse, and Dionysus, the director of Camp Half Blood. Dionysus is listed on the IMDB Web site, so his part must have been cut to nothing.

That said, there is much to like.  Steve Coogan is unexpectedly funny as Hades. Brandon T. Jackson is great as Percy's sidekick/protector, Grover the satyr. Some big names grace the screen: Uma Thurman (with snake hair), Pierce Brosnan (with horse torso), Catherine Keener, Sean Bean – and the guy who plays Owen on "Grey's Anatomy." Many of the special effects seemed pretty cool to me, though I'm no expert and the real movie critics certainly quibbled with them.

Some awfully little kids were sitting in front of us. The younger boy (4?) seemed okay, but his slightly older sister (6?) was hiding her eyes during the hydra scene. The film isn't quite as scary as the later Harry Potters and has more humor, but I'd say 9 and up is a safer bet. You know your own kids though.

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