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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ is a faithful adaptation

Disney Plus adapts beloved books
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Fair use from Disney+

After the release of the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” film series in 2010, long-time fans of the Percy Jackson books were severely disappointed. Their favorite childhood book series had been butchered by faithless movies that even the author hated, and it seemed as though a loyal adaptation was never going to come. However, 14 years later, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” has been released on Disney Plus — and it’s everything fans of the books have been waiting for.

An adaptation of the book series written by Rick Riordian, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is set in the modern day, where Greek Gods and myths are real. The series follows a 12-year-old boy named Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell), the son of Poseidon, who embarks on a journey with his two friends Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover (Aryan Simhadri) to the underworld on a quest from the Gods.

To begin with, the cast was great. Walker Scobell as Percy was amazing. I had already seen his work in “The Adam Project,” so I knew he would do well, but I was still impressed every time he was on screen. He portrayed Percy’s humor and confusion perfectly, but also pleasantly surprised me in emotional and action-packed scenes. Jeffries as Annabeth was also great, but my personal favorite was Simhadri as Grover. He gave Grover more soul and emotion than is seen in the original book, which I really appreciated from a character that would generally be considered comic relief. As a whole, their acting seemed a little stiff and awkward at first, but as the series progressed, they got visibly more comfortable on screen, as is common with young actors.

One of my favorite parts about this series are the settings and overall atmosphere. Most of the sets seem like they’re pulled straight from the book, and the CGI and technical work was surprisingly good. With a show that has so much magic and so many mythical creatures, I was slightly worried how well they would be able to pull this off, but they did a good job overall. 

However, it’s very clear that this show is an adaptation, not a direct retelling on screen. There are changes to the storyline. Some characters that are not very prevalent in the books get bigger roles, while others are completely omitted from the show. For me, this wasn’t a problem. The show managed to capture the essence of the series, which was what was most important to me. With the author behind most of the writing of the show, he has opted to change things that he didn’t like from the series looking back on it. I think this has been beneficial, as most of the changes made have been positive in my eyes.

Despite this, there are definitely moments that feel out of place. A reference to “twitter fights” from Ares, the God of War, made me cringe. An emotional scene in the rain with Olivia Rodrigo playing as background music felt awkward. I don’t hate Olivia Rodrigo, but moments like these make it harder for the show to feel timeless.

The series is also more fast-paced than I was expecting. Although the books themselves are pretty fast-paced, I assumed that with a TV series, they would allot more time to flesh out the characters, relationships and maybe add onto already existing material. Instead, with each episode lasting roughly 30-45 minutes, the episodes are shorter and make it harder to get invested in each episode separately.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” Aside from the weird pacing and small uncomfortable moments, it was a really great adaptation of the beloved books. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the Percy Jackson series, or families who want safe, fun entertainment.

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians”: ★★★★☆

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About the Contributor
Rachel Arkis, Echo Staffer
Hey guys!! I’m Rachel, I’m a senior, and this is my third year on Echo. In my free time, I like playing tennis, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family. This year I’m looking forward to getting to know more people and running a (very profitable) freezeria with Abby Mei$ler in the pub! My goal for this year is to co-star with Abby to make the most viral video the world has ever seen. Please help us achieve this ;)

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