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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Disney+ Percy Jackson Disappoints, Just Like The Movies Did


If you were a fan of the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you remember that the film adaptations were less than satisfactory. Even though they were fun adventure movies filled with exciting fight scenes and gorgeous special effects, they completely butchered the original story from the books. As someone who spent most of my childhood eating those books for breakfast, I remember being insanely excited to watch them on screen.

 I also remember when the credits rolled and I felt skeptical that I had watched the correct movie. Even Rick Riordan, author of the books, said that he had never watched them and never would. 

While most people can get lost in the fast-paced actions of the films, those who the original story meant a lot to, were not impressed, myself among them.  

I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief when I was about 9 years old. It was the first book I ever read on my own and was the first book I couldn’t put down. I remember curling up on my couch and being transported to the world of Camp Half-Blood where kids just a little older than me were going on heroic adventures and fighting mythical greek monsters. 

One of my most vivid childhood memories was of reading one of those books inside a cabin my family rented during Thanksgiving break. I remember sitting on the windowsill, being completely engrossed in the story as snow fell outside. They were the first series of books that I found myself getting completely lost in for hours and hours. 

Due to how big of a part of my life the books were, and how disappointed I was with the original film adaptations, I was ecstatic that the franchise was trying again with a Disney Plus TV series. 

The prospect of a new show gave me some hope that I would finally get what other fans and I were denied 10 years ago. Before watching, I read tons of reviews, all talking about how fantastic it was, and how it completely surpassed the movies. All people could say was how incredible it was and before the show even finished airing, it already had a higher rating than the films combined. 

While it had been a long time since I thought about this series, all of the praise got me hyped to immerse myself back into the world of modernized Greek myths and see my favorite childhood story brought to life. 

After finally turning on the show, my dreams were crushed and I was utterly disappointed. 

The first episode was a bit misleading. It gave the illusion that the show was going to be worth watching. 

It started out strong with dialogue pulled directly from the books which riled up my younger self to be excited for what was to come. I also really like the casting choices made. Young actors Walker Scobell, Leah Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri who played the story’s protagonists, brought new light to their roles while still staying true to the characters original traits. 

The production value roped me in as well as I watched settings pass that looked like they were taken straight from the novels. The mystical qualities of the camp, the gods cabins, and other places like the famous Lotus Hotel were all done very well and true to the books. It was really enjoyable for me to be able to see locations on screen that I had already been to in my imagination. 

All of this gave me hope for the rest of the series; hope that was stomped out very, very soon. Later into the series the show started to show its true colors. As I watched I noticed that certain scenes I remembered taking place and scenes I remembered to be important, suddenly just weren’t happening. I kept waiting and waiting for iconic moments from the books and they just never came. I felt like I was being stood up by my childhood heroes. 

This later started to translate into the combat sequences. For a show about demigods FIGHTING mythical creatures, there wasn’t a whole lot of fighting. I’m not one for gore or violence, and I didn’t expect it either. That being said, I expected there to be fight sequences in some capacity. Half the books revolved around our protagonists battling with mythological creatures and being victorious in cool and unique combat scenes. Some of these were iconic to the series and were a lot of what made the books fun. I was excited to see how the show would interpret the fights with the Furies, Medusa, and even the classic St. Louis Arch scene and was gravely disappointed. While the series gave the outline of these sequences they didn’t follow through. They fell so flat that I imagined the script said “insert fight scene here” and that everyone just forgot to go back to it. 

Instead of keeping the scenes that made the story thrilling to be a part of, each of these moments were replaced by cookie cutter heart to hearts between characters. While these are necessary for story and character development, the same conversation doesn’t need to happen every episode in just a different place.

 I liked that the show was trying to highlight the characters’ relationships and emotion but at the same time there is only so much Demigod melodrama I can take. I would have rather watched Percy slay the Chimera on the arch and do the iconic jump than watch him and Annabeth talk about their feelings for the fifth time in the same episode. 

The skipping of these moments made it seem like they were trying to speed run the story. The episodes are so short that everytime they end I find myself asking “Is that it?” TV shows like this are supposed to suck you into the story and keep you there with a well done plot. The whole point of watching it is to get the whole story, if I had wanted a quick refresher, I would have read the Spark Notes page, not spent 7 hours watching a tv show.

Overall I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the series I was so excited for. I felt like once again I was deprived of what I don’t feel is that hard to get. While this show really excelled in many aspects like production value and casting, the expedited nature of the story really brings the show down. 

I’m not sure whether or not a more filled out story was originally in the works, but the show that got released seemed like it wasn’t finished. It was so littered with holes and scene skips it almost felt like they were going to attempt to fix the story in post. 

After watching all the episodes that have been released, I find myself upset at how much they repeated their past of film adaptation, and left with absolutely no desire to watch anymore of it. 

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