The promotional campaign poster for Percy Jackson and the Olympians features Percy holding his sword, “Anaklusmos,” also known as “Riptide” as he parts the ocean
The promotional campaign poster for Percy Jackson and the Olympians features Percy holding his sword, “Anaklusmos,” also known as “Riptide” as he parts the ocean
Photo source: Disney

Percy Jackson and the “Olympians” downplay the plot

**SPOILER WARNING** | From its release on Dec. 19, the book to series adaptation exchanges the original plot for the film’s convenience.

Percy Jackson didn’t ask to be born a half blood, but millions of kids who read the stories of his adventures wished they were. As someone who grew up reading the Percy Jackson books, I was really excited for the Disney+ adaptation of Rick Riordan’s stories. Although I have enjoyed seeing the characters of my favorite books come to life, I don’t feel the TV show is able to fully capture the magic of reading Percy Jackson books.

The Disney+ show covers the first book of the series, “Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief,” following Percy, Annabeth and Grover. The three go out on a quest to retrieve the Greek god, Zeus’ stolen master bolt, facing multiple challenges along the way. The book introduces the concept of demigods, kids who were born to one human parent and one Greek god parent. 

Similarly, the Disney+ show kicks off at Percy’s boarding school before he is aware of his status as a demigod. Percy struggles in school and has a hard time keeping his dyslexia and ADHD from interfering with his studies. Strange things continuously happen to Percy yet no one seems to believe him. All is revealed to Percy when his mom admits to him that his dad is a Greek god. Percy is then whisked away to Camp Half-Blood along with best friend Grover, who is revealed to be a satyr, a half-goat half-human creature from Greek mythology.  

The first episode of the show stays close to the source material but does not explain the whole demigod-fantasy aspect of the story as well as the books. The casting in the show is excellent and even though the characters don’t look exactly how they were described in the books, the actors are able to embody the personas of their characters.

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The rest of the show makes some major changes to the original story. In the sixth episode, the trio visits the Lotus Hotel and Casino, where time is sped up. Although they have only been in the hotel for 30 minutes, three days have passed outside and they have missed the deadline for their quest. After this point, the series loses a lot of its excitement. Rather than racing against the clock like the books, the TV show characters lazily finish the quest, with no consequences for missing the deadline. 

One factor that made the series less exciting to watch was the PG rating. One of my favorite parts of the original books was reading about the 12-year-old Percy Jackson who got to go on crazy adventures and battle monsters, something that I don’t feel the show does as good of a job representing. The show shies away from the complex relationships between the gods and their technically illegitimate demigod children, erasing one of the main conflicts of the series.

Overall, I enjoyed seeing Disney attempt to bring Percy Jackson’s stories to the screen but the plot often fell flat, lacking much of the original excitement that made the books so popular in the first place.

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