Monday, March 29, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Last year I read the Twilight Series aloud to my wife and daughter.  I'd never read any book above Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein level (Bible aside) aloud.  It was a trip keeping voices straight in my head, let alone reading just enough ahead to get the right one out with the flow of's not like a play, they don't have the character labeled for you.  I felt bad because Bella got my voice because I was going to be reading her most often and frankly as a go to voice, your own works out a little easier.  I don't think it hurt my wife's enjoyment any, though it was probably weird hearing the thoughts of a 17-year-old girl coming from her husband's lips.  Alice was probably my favorite all things said, she had such a lilt to her voice that it was comical, yet distinctive when it was her turn.  By the time the 4th book introduced a bazillion new characters, the voices got a little muddled.  (I have my issues with the stories but that could take a month's worth of blogs to dissect. I'll give Stephanie Meyer this, her writing improved a little after the first book.  Seriously, try reading that EVERY character MURMURED, MUTTERED OR MUMBLED everything.  Those are three words that do not flow out of the mouth every minute or so with any ease.)

So when I moved on to Gregor the Overlander, it was nice to have a new set of voices to play with...once again, a little girl voice was my favorite.  Boots was our comic relief.  The series was a bit strained for me to continue, so I stopped after a few chapters of the second my wife's disliking.  After all, she'd bought it for me and I wasn't really interested in continuing it. 

I'd gotten to where I enjoyed this non-TV time with the family.  It is also preparing me for when my kids are older and I am reading real books and not ones involving belly buttons as the central character.  I tried reading a James Michener book aloud.  Poland turned out to be a craptastic failure as a read-aloud-book!  So we went back to kiddie land.  After all, the stories were lighter and therefore could be read aloud with less complications. 

We picked up Percy Jackson and the Olympians book one, the Lightening Thief.  We enjoy Magical and Fantasy stories already plus the mythology side made us remember the stories from school that we loved.  All in all a great genre for us to play with.  The books are an easy read for me, to read aloud I mean.  We just wrapped up book two, The Sea of Monsters.  If you haven't read or heard of these books, check em out.  Basically the Gods of Mount Olympus never left they've just traveled with the movement of Western Civilization.  The heroes of myth and legend are the children of these gods and they are still making heroes today.  Percy is one such hero.  He finds himself in them middle of a monumental power struggle and like any good hero, he sets out on quests to try and set things right.

So, I'm now invested in these characters and am excited to see the movie they made of the first one.  I'm not one of those people who cannot separate the medium of film from literature, so I know there will be differences.  I've just looked at the cast from the movie this evening though and am having a little trepidation about their success in translating it to the screen.  I can tell from the previews they've taken liberties with how we discover somethings which I'm OK with given I thought they strung it out a tad too long in the book...I know it's for kids, but they're usually sharper than we are, no?  But four characters were "oh really" moments for me as I scrolled through IMDB's cast list.  Athena and her daughter Annabeth were supposed to be blonds and well...they are definitely Greek in the biggie.  Grover the satyr as a black kid, didn't picture it, but it works.

Let me tell you, I love me some Uma Thurman, but she was SOOOOO not what I imagined for Medusa.  The olive skinned beauty with the sultry Eartha Kitt voice I'd imagined was Shohreh Aghdashloo (from House of Sand and Fog and loads of other things).  I was so disappointed that my meager casting abilities in my head hadn't been heard in Hollywood.

Of course I'll still be watching and of course I'll still get caught up in the story and not care again about what they've done to a series I've grown to love...well maybe.

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