Last night I saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I have a lot to say about this movie, mostly because I'm a dork for Greek Mythology.
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The German poster; because unlike in the American one, this scene actually happened in the movie.
I realize that the movie is both for children and based off of a book, so I tried to suspend my disbelief, but some things really bothered me with the mythology. Here we go:
1. Medusa. People always get her wrong in movies. She's supposed to be super ugly, but people always make her really beautiful. Although I guess the only really consistent description of her in mythology is the snake hair, it's supposed to be her frightening appearance that turns you to stone. And yet there she was, looking as beautiful as ever:
A beautiful Medusa.
Another thing that really bothered me was that she was still alive even though they mentioned on more than one occasion that Perseus had killed her, that the head was still good for killing things after it had been cut off, etc. If she'd never been killed, how would they know these things? And even though he wasn't in the movie, how could Pegasus exist? One thing I did appreciate that they got right though was that Athena was the one who had cursed her and that she (Medusa) used to "date" Poseidon (it was for being with Poseidon in Athena's temple that Medusa was cursed).
2. Athena. This portrayal actually made me kind of angry. Athena has a daughter (named Annabeth...the main female character in the film). Seriously. Athena, who is known for being a complete and total VIRGIN. Now you can tell how much of a dork I am when I get so mad when Athena is improperly portrayed in a kid's movie. Haha. Anyway, you know the Parthenon, Athena's main temple dealy? The word Parthenon comes from "parthenos" which means-- guess what-- virgin. And they definitely cover the fact that the Parthenon was Athena's temple in the movie. They even go to the one in Nashville (which by the way, they say is an exact replica, but I didn't see a reflection pool...). And even though I can't recall any instance when she punished guys for trying to take advantage of her (unlike her half sister Artemis), rape attempts definitely happened, and she deliberately escaped them. So why would she voluntarily go have a child with a mortal?
Athena Parthenos. Never had any kids. She's too vain and proud anyway.
3. Poseidon. He was just as prolific as Zeus and had something in the neighborhood of 56 children. So why would he care about one measly half-mortal son? I mean really, he built an entire "half-blood camp" just so that son could train and become a hero. And they never even mentioned he has a wife (or at least a permanent consort). Aside from Medusa's brief mention to Percy Jackson that "I used to date your Daddy" (see above), everything pointed to Poseidon's being totally in love with Percy's mother and almost becoming human to be with her and his son, but having to leave only because of his godly duties.
Poseidon in his armor on Olympus, looking longingly at one of his several dozen children.
And the whole concept the movie is based on, where the gods aren't allowed to have contact with mortal offspring, came from Zeus trying to punish Poseidon for his actions. Silly.
4. Zeus. He mostly acted in-character but for one thing at the end. Percy asked him to get his friend Grover the satyr out of Hades and Zeus was all like "Eh, no prob." Even though part of the whole thing with Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades splitting the heavens, sea, and underworld was that none of them could intervene in the others' realms. That's why it's such a big deal when people return from Hades; it can't typically be done, even for gods!
5. Olympus is in New York City?!? Since when, really? On top of the Empire State building? And why is it that Percy's mother, a mortal, knows exactly how to get there but can't get out of the elevator because of the barrier? Also, the entrance to Hades was in Hollywood, which I think is pretty funny.
6. I just checked something on the Twelve Olympians on Wikipedia and guess what they said? "If interested in Greek Mythology, read Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief. Ha!
7. The demigods spend so much time training they never take a mythology class, which, it turns out, would be incredibly helpful in living in that world. They'd know not to cut off Hydra heads, not to eat Lotus flowers, that they need to pay the ferryman in Hades, and all sorts of other useful things.
Things I liked that they included:
1. The gods were huge, as they should be. The opening sequence is particularly awesome, when Poseidon walks out of the ocean and a teeny-weeny fisherman on the pier stares in awe.
2. Annabeth mentions that her mother and Percy's father hate each other because of the contest in Athens. I'm glad she remembered that.
3. Chiron was there teaching everybody. And he really does teach everybody. The only thing wrong with this is that he's supposed to be dead. But I guess that's not really a problem since he's technically immortal anyway.
Um, well...that's about it. Sorry if I totally spoiled the movie for anyone. You should probably still see it though, it's a good movie aside from these sad oversights (I don't know whether to blame the author or the scriptwriters. I guess I should read the books). The score was good, the special effects were pretty cool, and it's still about Greek mythology!
Also, I'll probably have to skip Clash of the Titans. There's no way I can watch Perseus battling minions of the Underworld trying to take over everything. My eyes would get tired with all the rolling they'd do.