By Andronica Owens
Web Content Contributor
Throughout the years, movie adaptations of books have become a popular occurrence in our culture. From the “Harry Potter” series, to “The Hunger Games,” to “Crazy Rich Asians,” these adaptations have been successful in the box office and leave viewers feeling good about their experience, whether they read the books or not. But here is one series that was adapted into film that left not both readers and viewers unsatisfied.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a children’s fiction book series surrounding demigod Percy Jackson and the adventures he goes on once he finds out his true heritage of being the son of Poseidon, god of the Sea. Percy is then thrown into the world of gods, monsters, prophecies, and quests.
Rick Riordan takes us on numerous journeys with Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover while they fight to save Camp Half-Blood, a training facility and the only safe place for half-bloods, and also face the struggles that come with being a teenager with a godly parent and going through puberty. He writes the series in a way that immerses the reader into the adventure and makes you fall in love with the characters. There is also a vast amount of mythology strewn throughout the series, which gives young readers a chance to delve into another realm of stories and heroes.
“The Lightning Thief” was the first book of the series, thus beginning the adventure. When the movie premiered in 2010, we book-lovers were ecstatic, yet apprehensive. Movie adaptations can be challenging because if the movie isn’t well-liked people get the idea that the books aren’t worth the read. This stigma surrounding adaptations causes many people to not give these amazing books the chance they deserved.
One of the main problems book-lovers encounter when watching film adaptations of their favorite books is when elements of the film don’t match the elements of the book. Changing key events or plot sequences can alter the progression of the story and leave out some major character development integral to the series. One main example of this in “The Lightning Thief ” was the age of the characters. In the books, Percy begins his journey at the age of 12 and we follow him through his teen years. In the movie, the main characters are aged at 16-17, which limits the possibility of progressing the series because so much of the plot centers around Percy and his growth.
Another struggle book-lovers face when watching their favorite stories come to life is having to watch another work of art and seeing some of the small details be left out. It can be frustrating because while the detail may seem small and insignificant, they make the story come together as whole. For instance, in the book series, Annabeth’s hair was blonde and her eyes were a “stormy gray” color, like most of her fellow children of Athena, but in the movie, Annabeth was brunette with blue eyes. Dionysus, God of Wine, wasn’t even a character in the movie. Lastly, Camp Half- Blood was not portrayed as it was in the series.
These details and characters were referenced throughout the series multiple times. Riordan emphasized Annabeth’s eyes when he introduced her in the series. Dionysus was a major character in Percy’s life once he became aware of his demigod status and Camp Half-Blood was Percy’s home during the summer. It was a safe place for him and other campers to be themselves, but no one knew that from watching the movies.
If you haven’t read the books, these details may not mean much to you when watching the movies. However, as I sat in the theater, I couldn’t move past the fact that the stars playing the main characters were the wrong age, or that Annabeth’s hair color was wrong. It’s these small details that can make or break adaptations and leave a lasting impression on book lovers.
Netflix is the perfect platform to take on an adaptation of this series. Netflix has several successful series and movies and the creative visionary to turn a show or movie into a huge success. Personally, I feel they would take the time to get the details correct and turn the series into something not only worth watching, but something people want to watch.
The book series can be turned into a Netflix Original, with each episode representing a chapter in the book. This would give the audience a great show to binge watch, and long-time lovers of the book series would finally be able to watch the adventures come to life. Minor details would be considered, while still giving the creators creative control over how they want the series to be produced.
Seeing this series become as big as “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” (even though people talk trash about it now) would make the kid in me cry tears of joy. I grew up reading these books and relating to these characters. I wanted to be a demigod and live at Camp Half-Blood. My friends and I would debate which god or goddess would be our parent and the abilities we would have. It was just like picking your Hogwarts House or which Divergent faction you would be in.
All in all, a new adaptation of these books is much needed and has the potential to be very successful. Many of us as fans were excited about the movies but were completely underwhelmed by what was given to us. So, Netflix can you do us a solid and redeem our childhood?
Featured image by Andronica Owens.