The official beginning of filming for the Percy Jackson sequel has provoked a wide variety of emotions among Percy Jackson fans. Of course, excitement is one of them, but it seems that surprise (“Wait, but I thought the first one didn’t make any money…?) and horror (“The first movie completely RUINED the book, and I don’t want that to happen to the next one!”) are equally likely.
Admittedly, the movie did disappoint many (most? all?) of the book fans, but we at Hypable are glass-half-full kind of people, so we believe that with just a few key improvements, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters can overcome its questionable precedent and lengthy title, live up to Rick Riordan’s series, and please book fans and critics alike.
One of the biggest problems with The Lightening Thief was that it seemed like just another Harry Potter knockoff, especially to those who hadn’t read the book series. Although not every review was negative, almost every single one made some sort of unfavorable comparison to the Potter series.
How to solve this problem in round 2? Put more emphasis on the thing that makes the Percy Jackson series so distinctive: the unique take on Greek mythology, that is as hilarious as it is educational. One of the main reasons that the books are so fun to read is that they take aspects of Greek mythology, and give them a modern, humorous twist.
We saw a bit of that in the first movie: Medusa selling stone lawn ornaments, Hades in artfully-ripped black leather, etc. However, the movie mostly stuck to big-name, well-known figures like Medusa and Hades that most of the audience was already familiar with.
This allowed the film to lose one of the best (and unique) parts of the books: the introduction to the more obscure characters of the mythology.
If the sequel can successfully adapt this part of the books, then it will have already gone a long way towards pleasing fans, and distancing itself from the Harry Potter series.
We want to see all the strange and often unpronounceable gods and beasts that populate Greek (and Riordan’s) lore. Bring on the Laistrygonians, Tantalus, and Polyphemus! We’re ready for Charybdis, Scylla, and the Hippocampi!
Many fans would also like to see more of the Olympians themselves – gods like Hermes and Ares that are incredibly funny in the books (and, we hope, in the upcoming film– the casting of Nathan Fillion as Hermes seems promising). Each new creature can create a new opportunity to use more of Riordan’s humor and who knows, audiences might even learn something.
The romance between Percy and Annabeth is so obvious that anyone can see it from a mile away and yet the first movie didn’t feature so much as a single kiss between them.
True, it’s the same way in the book series, the Percy/Annabeth relationship takes a while to take off, but this makes more sense in the books because the characters are 12 years old.
When the producers of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief made the (understandable) decision to age the main characters to 17, they apparently didn’t count on the fact that, with high-school-aged leads, a similarly aged audience would want to see a little less action and a little more, well, action.
Creating a solid romantic relationship between Percy and Annabeth in the sequel could allow the franchise to regain the respect of the fans that were frustrated by the half-a-dozen almost kisses in the first movie.
Even better, amping up the romance between the two leads would further distance the Percy Jackson movies from Harry Potter, which keeps its leads in a similar state of romantic limbo for half the series. We’re not trying to say that everything is about sex and smoochies, but this is Greek mythology we’re talking about.
A passionate embrace or two could both emphasize the movie’s value as a new and unique series that can rival Harry Potter, not shadow it, not to mention instantaneously delight the thousands of Pannabeth shippers.
Don’t dumb it down
Perhaps most frustrating for the book fans was the movie’s complete disregard for the backstories, foreshadowings, and set-ups that are vital for the continuation of the series.
Both the first prophecy and (more importantly) Kronos were nowhere to be seen in the film, which was extremely worrying to the book fans, who knew that having Luke be the sole mastermind behind the theft of the master-bolt, while a relatively minor change to the plot of the first book could have grave consequences for any future adaptations of the other books.
To put it in terms that everyone can relate to: if in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone the writers decided to have Professor Quirrel be the primary villain, without a whisper of Voldemort’s involvement, it would have much the same effect on both future plots (confusion and a lack of continuity) and fans (despair, anger, and the desire to never see another one of the films ever again).
So yes, the situation is a precarious one… but it’s not unsalvageable.
Introducing Kronos and his sinister agenda in the second movie will be a little awkward, yes (“Where was this guy the entire first film…?), but it will win back the trust of fans, put the series back on track plot-wise, and ensure that any future movies will, well, make sense
After all, the epic Percy/Kronos struggle that stretches across five books is arguably the most important part of the series and if it opens the franchise up to a couple Harry/Voldemort comparisons…so be it. A film could do a lot worse than be compared to the beloved, box-office-record-shattering Potter series, especially if the comparisons are positive ones.
Will you go see Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters in the hopes that it can be saved? Are you in that cheerful minority that liked the first film the way it was? Do you think the films are too far gone?