Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Lightning Thief or An Argument Against Sex, Profanity, Violence

When I heard that The Lightning Thief was going to be made into a movie, I was psyched.  When I found out Logan Lerman was going to be playing Percy, I was confused.  When I read an article today where the scriptwriter said they made a conscious decision to age Percy Jackson up from 12 to 17, I was annoyed.

First off, I admire the young actor playing Percy.  He was in a short-lived show called Jack & Bobby that was quite good.  So I'm sure he'll bring a lot to the role.

Now that that's out of the way, here's why I'm bothered:  There's something to be said for innocence.  One of the things I really loved about the Percy Jackson series is that, like Harry Potter, the titular character grew with his audience.  He matured through each book, so that by the end, he had learned the lessons he would need to fight the big fight.  I think that's one of the reasons HP was so popular.  Kids began reading it at 11, and they grew up with Harry Potter.  I was thrilled that they allowed the same thing to happen with the movies.  The first movie was magical and innocent, and they grew darker and edgier as HP grew up.

But with the Percy Jackson movies, they decided that they wanted more violence, more edge, and didn't want to be stuck with a kiddy movie.  But the problem is that book one is a kiddy book.  And a damn good one.  It's got a real hero with real problems that kids can relate to.  He's got ADD and a distant father.  He gets in trouble at school and even his demi-god peers don't get him.  But that wasn't good enough.  The movie company felt the need to make him edgier.  But by doing so, they stole what makes him relatable.  By not letting Percy Jackson grow up naturally, they stole his magic.

There are times when it's appropriate to allow a wholesome, relatable, PG rated story, stay wholesome.  This should have been one of those times.  Sadly this feels like another instance of Hollywood ruining a great kids movie (I'm looking at you THE DARK IS RISING).  I hope I'm wrong.


  1. Wait, they made the Dark is Rising (one of my all time faves) into a movie? I totally missed that. Sounds like it was a good thing I did.

    I agree about aging Percy - it's an MG series and that's a good thing. I'm also bothered that his girl costar looks like she could be his sister - so it's hard for me to imagine them having romantic tension.

  2. Andrea - Oh gross! I didn't see it until you pointed it out. Now I'm never going to see that movie. Seriously though, you're right. It's an MG series. If the movie does well will they make him 22 by book 5?

    Yeah, you should be thankful you missed it. They made Will Stanton American, then murdered the plot, then they gave him a twin brother. Oh, it was a train wreck. It wasn't even so bad it was good, it was just really bad.

  3. Yeah, I was confused about his age, too. I think they need to leave well enough alone.

  4. Great post Shaun! Hollywood's all about drawing in the "Twilight" audience now. It's sad and detracts from a great story!

  5. I just finished reading The Lightning Thief last week and am heading out to the bookstore this weekend to get the others. I was excited about the movie, thinking it would be like the HP books and movies...something I could read and watch and enjoy doubly as much.

    I'll probably still watch the movie just cause of my morbid curiosity, but my hopes for it are pretty much dashed. You know, I understand Hollywood sometimes having to spice things up a little when they translate a book to a movie, but there are some elements they just shouldn't touch.


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.