Percy Jackson: Better as a Movie, or as a Book?

Percy Jackson: Better as a Movie, or as a Book?

Cassidy Womack, Writer

In 2005, Rick Riordan released the first in his camp half-blood series. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief soon became a huge hit that everyone had to read. It sold over 1.2 million books within  a 4-year period. Something that we all know is that when a book shows great promise and experiences a lot of success, they make in into movies. So, in 2010, the movie was released to theaters and avid readers of this series were extremely excited to see it. Although the movie made $86.7 million in the box office, not many people who saw it enjoyed it. According to, only 53% of the people who saw it actually enjoyed it. The ratings though did not deter me from watching it. While I did enjoy the movie, I could not help but compare it to the book.

In the book, Percy Jackson, the main character, was 12 years old and had just discovered that he was a demigod (half god, half human). Later during the time he is in camp, he is given a quest by the Oracle and sets out to retrieve the stolen lightning bolt with a saytr Grover and another fellow camper Annabeth. In the movie, Percy is 16 years old and he sneaks away from camp with his friend Grover and Annabeth. Another difference has to do with the death of Medusa. When they kill Medusa, Percy ships her head to Olympus in order to insult the gods, while in the movie they bring it along on their quest and use it.

One of the main differences that I disliked was that the movie skips over the betrayal that is committed by one of the gods themselves and I’m not talking about Hades. In the books Rick Riordan develops the characters and goes into great details about the interactions between the gods and demigods. He also leaves suspense to the story while in the movie they are told everything that is going to happen right from the start. For example, in the book when Percy arrived at Camp Half-Blood, they didn’t know who his father was so he stayed in Hermes cabin for a little while before they discovered who he was.

It is details like these that made the movie worse than the book. The movie was so fast paced and you could see what was going to happen before it even got there. While I wouldn’t discourage anyone from watching the movie, I suggest you read the book first. The book is both interesting and kind of educational. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is a story about the greek gods’ children. You learn a lot about the relationships between the gods and some of the tales. If you’re looking for a new series to read, I’d recommend this series, but if you’re looking for a good, interesting movie, find a better one.