The Lighting Thief: book, movie and musical | ft. some reasons on why I love the book, why I despise the movie, and why the musical is pretty amazing

Two months ago Kay @ Hammock of Books did a post with her thoughts on the Percy Jackson movie. It was so hilarious, and brought back memories of the first time I watched the movie. I didn’t watch it when it first came out, since I was four, but I did watch it a few years ago, when I was eleven or twelve, I think.

So, I thought, why not do a similar thing? So I did, even if it took me a really long time. I watched the movie and wrote down my thoughts on it as I was watching it. That’s what I have below.

Since I don’t want it to be a completely negative post, I’m also going to include a few reasons why I like the Lightning Thief musical, which I was also able to see, and some of my favorite parts from the book itself.

The thing is, The Lightning Thief started as a book, and now it’s more than that. Not that it’s become a musical, movie, and is soon to be a show, but now, it’s a universe. Everything that Rick Riordan has written is so much more than a few stories, and it all started with this one book.

So, I’m going to be going through the different ways that the original book has been told, and share my thoughts!

Also, the rest of this post is filled with spoilers for The Lightning Thief book, movie and musical, and some hints toward what happens later in the Percy Jackson series.

And, everything that I say about the movie, it’s not about the actors. I don’t have any problem with that, it’s just the writing of the script, and how they did the plot and the movie that wasn’t so great.

One last thing that I do want to add before I get into it is that Rick Riordan actually published some emails that he sent to the producers of the movie with his suggestions. So, if that’s something that you would want to read, I definitely suggest it.

My thoughts on the movie:

  • The opening scene: face-off between Poseidon and Zeus: does not happen in the book at all
  • Oh look it’s Percy: in a pool. Also, his power isn’t that he can hold his breath, it’s that he can breathe underwater. Wouldn’t he notice that?
  • Also, he is way way way older than 12. Obviously what, sixteen, seventeen? The great prophecy must have come and gone, but oh wait. It didn’t
  • Did I just see Mrs. Dodds as a substitute English teacher? 
  • Percy just walked home from school… but wait. Yancy Academy is a BOARDING SCHOOL
  • Also, where’s Gabe? And his poker game?
  • Oh, there he is. He just walked in the door.
  • Percy is going to school or something, and Poseidon appears and is like “everything is about to change Percy, then disappears” What???
  • Also, why does Grover have crutches?
  • And where is Nancy Bobofit?
  • At the museum, Mrs. Dodds pulls him asides and snatches him up. Instead of Mr. Brunner throwing Percy riptide, he says “release him or I will tear you to pieces” So, Mrs. Dodds does that and leaves.
  • Mr. Brunner calls her a Fury, instead of a Kindly One
  • Mr. Brunner gives Percy Riptide right then and there. Like really???
  • Grover and Percy go to the apartment and get Sally, then they drive to camp. Where’s the cabin on the beach?
  • The Minotaur comes out of a field of cattle? Also where is Thalia’s pine tree? And where are the strawberry fields?
  • Also, why does Percy have Riptide? Also, Grover is supposed to be unconscious.
  • Our first glimpse of Annabeth: brown hair, blue eyes??? In full battle armor defeating a bunch of other people?
  • Chiron is supposed to be in a wheelchair and then pops out of it, also we know that his kinsmen are the party ponies, and he wouldn’t be cantering with a pack of them.
  • Grover runs off to be with the daughters of Aphrodite???
  • Then, Chiron takes Percy to his cabin; Poseidon’s cabin. How does he know? Also, a big part of the book is that he gets stuck in the Hermes cabin and stuff.
  • Why does Chiron want to take Percy to Mount Olympus? Makes no sense.
  • Also, Luke is done pretty terribly. The first time we see him is right before capture the flag?
  • Also, why is Percy constantly looking at Annabeth
  • The capture the flag scene is the stupidest scene I have ever had the misfortune to watch.
  • In the book, after the toilet incident with Clarisse LaRue, Annabeth says she wants Percy on her team for capture the flag. Instead, they literally duel!
  • There are also so many demigods, and in the books, it’s described that there are maybe 20?
  • Also, there is no Clarisse. Anywhere.
  • “I definitely have strong feelings for you. I just don’t know if they’re positive or negative yet.” — okay, listen. The romance between Wise Girl and Seaweed Brain develops over the course of all five books, many years, until we finally get that underwater kiss. But really?
  • So, Percy gets invited to a party. What is that about?
  • Hades appears as some sort of fire demon in the bonfire, and demands that Percy bring him the bolt.
  • Now lemme get started on the Poseidon cabin:
  • -we know that all the cabins are all supposed to have six bunk beds
  • -it’s so… open
  • Percy tries to leave camp to get his mom back, and is joined by Grover and Annabeth
  • That means that Percy never got his prophecy, never saw the Oracle
  • They stop by Luke to figure out where the underworld is, and he says he’s never met his father, but that he once broke into his house and ‘got some cool stuff’
  • Luke gives them flying shoes, and also the map to Persephone’s pearls. The first one is at Auntie Em’s garden emporium, so of course, they just take a bus there. Easy peasy and completely intentional. Not quite how I remember it…
  • Okay, so Grover figures out, tells Percy, the woman finds Annabeth then is turned to stone with her hand around Annabeth’s wrist. Percy is like, we can use a reflection, so he pulls out his phone.
  • Excuse me. A phone? The phones are like, little homing devices for the monsters!!!
  • So, they’re driving in the red truck, wait, driving? They’re supposed to be 12. Anyway, Grover falls asleep at the wheel and they swerve and stuff so, they decide to go to a motel.
  • Zoom in on Percy sitting at the bottom of the pool, seeing visions of his mother. He floats up to Annabeth then HEALS HER WRIST WITH WATER??? That is not part of his demigod skill set. Like, if Will Solace did that, healed a wrist completely, well he’s the son of Apollo, totally understand it. Or if Magnus Chase did? Naturally! His dad is Frey! But Poseidon is not the god of healing, or medicine, so really people?
  • Excuse me, um, excuse me. When they’re watching TV, and Percy’s on the news, they say “Percy Jackson and his mother, Sally Ugliano.” Just like the blue food, Sally always rebelled, sort of, against Gabe, like NOT CHANGING HER NAME. Sally Jackson was always Sally Jackson (I mean, until maybe Blofis. But that comes later on, many books from now.)
  • So, Grover holds up the head of Medusa, and this lady walking by their room sees it because the curtains not closed, and yeah. They gotta get out of there.
  • So, they go to the Parthenon in Nashville because obviously, that’s where the next pearl is.
  • They fight a hydra and defeat it by…. Turning it to stone. So smart.
  • Next stop, Vegas! How do they get there? Drive. Because they’re that old.
  • The Lotus Hotel and Casino. Eh, they did it okay. Kinda really weird though. 
  • Then, of course, Grover drives them to Hollywood, where they completely mess up the entrance to the underworld.  What about Charon and his fancy suits, and wanting a raise. That is so hilarious in the book, and they totally mess it up in this scene.
  • Also, the drachma is not at all what they are supposed to look like. In Percy’s hand, they look like some coins.
  • Did Charon just say “all lives end in suffering and tragedy?” because what about heroes reaching Elysium and stuff
    Where. Is. Cerberus???? Our cute little puppy just wants to go chase the red rubber ball. Annabeth gets that.
  • Taking from another book, but those hellhounds are NOTHING like what I imagine Mrs. O’leary to be like
  • And Persephone is just like, weird
  • So Percy just ran to hug his mom and threw down the shield that Luke gave him. Then, Hades notices that the bolt is inside. The bolt is supposed to be inside the backpack that Ares gives him!
  • The bolt is kind of unimpressive, just got to say.
  • Wait, how did Annabeth just figure out Luke’s whole plan and that he betrayed them. She also doesn’t seem too emotional about it. No one figures out Luke until the very end of the book when he tried to kill Percy.
  • Luke is way to smart in the book: he covers up his tracks, has Ares plant the bolt. 
  • “Feed them to the souls,” says Hades. Wow. So menacing. Kinda freaky, but it just doesn’t happen!!
  • So Hades and Persephone are kissing and then Persephone grabs the bolt from Hades and blasts him across the room, saves Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Sally then explains why.
  • Lemme just rant here for a moment: The absolute disrespect to Sally Jackson in the underworld. Like, okay, yeah, we get that Grover is the protector and all, but how dare they ‘save’ Sally like that. Plus, we can’t forget the fact that they just broke up the original trio, and we’re like okay! Persephone is also so creepy and they shouldn’t have put that in the movie.
  • Also, Sally just stands there and doesn’t say anything. What did they do to her character?
  • Okay, so there on the empire state building, but it’s all wrong. They’re supposed to enter through the elevator and go to the 500th floor. Get it right, people!
  • And then Luke shows up? And they’re dueling on the top of the empire state building. Also, Percy is fighting with Zeus’s master bolt. He shouldn’t be able to control it, and also, one strike with the bolt and Luke should be dead.
  • Let’s get a few things straight here: Percy just put on the flying shoes. But he should know better; he’s a son of Poseidon and Zeus would blast him to pieces. Grover is supposed to be wearing them. But wait. Grover is in the underworld, because he stayed. Does that mean that Sally Jackson should be the one with the shoes? No, because according to the film, Sally Jackson isn’t strong enough to fight.
  • This movie is going to make me cry. But tell me, why is Luke shooting the lightning bolt like a gun?
  • Oh yeah and Luke just slices off the wings of one of the flying shoes. So dumb. The shoes are supposed to be cursed and are supposed to drag Grover towards Tartarus when he wears them.
  • That little waterworks show you put on there was impressive, Percy, but you can barely control yourself in that little face-off with Thalia, daughter of Zeus, at the creek. That’s what, book three? I know you had that incident with the toilets (that was for some reason left out) but that was all accidental. No way could you have done what you just did.
  • They just did a terrible job with Athena. Like, really terrible.
  • Poseidon was not even there for Percy as an infant. He left before Percy was even born.
  • Listen: the whole reason for the series is that the gods are jerks and bad parents, and Percy ends up changing that. You can’t just blame that on some bad rule. Seriously. No excuses, all the gods were to blame, and not some dumb rule about gods not being able to see their kids.
  • Excuse me, did Sally just ‘kick Gabe out’? No, she did better than that. She turned the creep into stone using Medusa’s head. She did not just ‘kick him out’.
  • Grover earned his horns and became more of a protector than he already technically was. Huh? What about getting his searchers license to search for Pan.
  • Where are the bright orange t-shirts? No really. Where are they?
  • Ah… for my thoughts on that final scene, read on…
  • So Annabeth is like “who’s next?” and Percy’s like “I’ll give it a shot.”
  • Annabeth says “welcome home” leans in as if to kiss him, then grabs his sword. Then, they fight.
  • At that point in the books, they are 12-year-olds who call each other seaweed brain and wise girl and would punch anyone who suggested that they liked each other.
  • It’s also not like we have Clarisse to help throw them into the canoe lake anyway, so they really couldn’t have even tried to recreate the underwater kiss.
  • Oh, and that ending scene after the credits: I guess we finally got our statue of Gabe the poker player. What a shame for all those PJO fans who left the theaters early and who missed it though.

So to sum this up, in one movie, they managed to mess up, well, pretty much everything. They do an okay job with Gabe, I guess, but other than that, it’s awful. The whole thing with Persephone’s pearls is horrible, and they couldn’t have done worse with Annabeth’s character.

Aging the characters just doesn’t work. If you think about the great prophecy, well, ‘shall reach 16 against all odds’ doesn’t work if Percy is already 16.

So that is why it’s amazing that we’re going to be getting a Disney plus series. There are so many moments that I can’t wait to watch, and overall, it’s going to be awesome!

What I think of a few songs from the musical:

But, the movies aren’t the only adaptation that Percy Jackson has gotten. I was actually able to see The Lightning Thief musical, and it’s really good! Of course, it’s hard to put a book like that into a musical but I thought it was really well done.

Here are some of my favorite songs, and what I like about them:

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half blood.”

With that one line, “Look, I didn’t want to be a half blood,” they already do so much better than the movie. They also really set the stage for the rest of story, and it’s an overall amazing song.

Later on in the story, we even go on the field trip, and we get Mrs. Dodds being ridiculous. They really pulled it straight from the book, and it’s hilarious. Of course it can’t be perfect, but the musical just does so much better than the movie on so many levels; from the story itself to getting Percy’s perspective so wonderfully.

They even have NANCY BOBOFIT. I mean, come on, Nancy Bobofit deserves to be a character. She doesn’t have a recurring role like Clarisse or the Stoll brothers, but still is a classic character.

“I can only accept the best from you Percy.” –– they do an amazing job with Chiron/Mr. Brunner as well.

“It’s Percy Jackson.” “WHATEVER”

They really capture Mr. D’s personality here, while also introducing a few characters like Selina, Charlie and Katie. They mention the orientation film, and in a three minute song do so much more than the movie did. I mean, they did an awesome job with Dionysus.

“I refuse to participate in the senseless slaughter of our arboreal friends!” –––Katie Gardner, from book one

“Your goose is cooked, and I’m here to cook it”

Clarisse’s character is so fascinating, and it’s really interesting to watch how her character develops throughout the series. However, in this book, she is pretty obnoxious to Percy.

And hey; we get to see capture the flag AND Percy becoming supreme lord of the bathroom. Yeah, they changed a little from the book, but they didn’t just take a very important part of the plot out *cough* the movie *cough*

“Athena always has a plan”–– Annabeth Chase, her whole life

“My stepmom, she hates me, my dad works all day, so I left Virginia and I ran away.”

This song really sets the stage for Luke’s betrayal. The campers are all singing about how their godly parents are awful, but finish with that they’re family and that they will always have each other’s backs.

It also really gives us a glimpse into Annabeth’s past (the quote above.) At that point, Camp Half Blood is Annabeth’s family; it has been since she was seven, for five years.

There are a few things that are a little weird about this song; Selina and Katie both complain about their moms, Aphrodite and Demeter, but both references point to their parents being in their life; a fern for a birthday gift, and Aphrodite stealing her daughter’s makeup.

However, the song does an incredible job with so many other things!

“Yeah I’ll do it; not ’cause my dad needs me. He’s been less a dad, and more an absentee, but if my mom’s alive, that’s where she’s bound to be”

We see Luke plant the idea of the underworld in Percy’s head, the idea that he can save his mom.

We see Grover step forward, wanting to put his past behind him, to prove himself as a protector.

“You need me too, Seaweed Brain.” Need I say anything else?

But Annabeth in this song, she’s great.

“You hurt his feelings. Tell the squirrel you’re sorry.” “I am not say––” “He’s very sorry. Tell the squirrel you’re sorry, Percy.” “Okay, okay. I am sorry.”

This song is so perfect. In the movie, because they age the characters, they can just drive. However, here they’re still twelve and they have no idea how they’re going to get to LA.

Grover’s conversation with the squirrel is their version of the pink poodle. Not quite the same, but it’s pretty hilarious.

“Who put the fate of the world in the hands of three unprepared scared half bloods? It’s crazy!” — the gods, “What’s wrong with that?”

I’m going to end the songs here, because even though there are lots more great songs here, this post is getting VERY long, and I still have another section to write, which is, my favorite parts in the Lightning Thief book! I’m taking most of this from a previous post about all of the Percy Jackson books, but I added a few more favorite moments, because why not?

Some things that I loved in the book:

Favorite moments of The Lightning Thief:

  • that opening scene; mrs. Dodds is hilarious, plus Percy’s shock is priceless. I mean, I’ve never, uh, vaporized my math teacher
  • Smelly Gabe. And his incredibly important poker game that Percy regretted interrupting
  • Sally Jackson is the best!!! Seriously, think about everything that she sacrifices for Percy. She marries smelly Gabe to protect her son, and is overall incredible. And, of course, BLUE FOOD
  • Percy mailing Medusa’s head to the gods. Imagine getting that in the mail
  • Peter Johnson. Must I say more?
  • “With Best Wishes, Percy Jackson”
  • The tunnel of love

So, there is my more than 3000 word post about the Lightning Thief; the book, movie and musical.

But, if you skimmed through it this is the whole post: why the movie was bad (my random thoughts from while I was watching the movie), my thoughts on a few songs from the musical (aka what I absolutely loved about them) and a few favorite moments from the book (I could never list them all, but I’ll start with blue food)

I hope that you liked reading this, because even though this took me a really long time to write, it was really fun, and satisfying to finish.

Although, I do hope that you’re not hoping for one of these for Sea of Monsters, because I’ve never seen that movie, and I don’t plan on putting myself through that.

The Lightning Thief is truly amazing: it started as a bedtime story, and now, look at it. A book, a musical, even a terrible movie. Have you read the book? Did you watch the movie? See the musical? Chat with me in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “The Lighting Thief: book, movie and musical | ft. some reasons on why I love the book, why I despise the movie, and why the musical is pretty amazing

  1. Ahhh I love this Aria!! I’ve read the book, watched the movie (which was traumatizing in its awfulness), AND listened to the musical soundtrack, but I’ve yet to continue the series. Someday, I swear…. 😂

    I am in so much love with the musical tracks. If I had to choose, I would say my favorites are “Good Kid,” “My Grand Plan,” and “Bring on the Monsters.” Such an amazing musical. Wonderful post Aria! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

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