Thursday, December 21, 2023

Percy Jackson and the Olympians - I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher

Much like the 2010 movie that preceded it, and its equally disappointing sequel 3 years later, this new adaptation of Percy Jackson feels every bit the YA novel it sprang from. Where the first movie attempted to cram a novel into a under two-hour movie, Disney+ goes a bit overboard the other direction in choosing to stretch the first book of the young adult fantasy series across 8 hours. As a result, there's not a whole lot of interest in this first episode which boils down to the origin story without yet providing any details or explanation for the magical world which helped sire its main character.

We're introduced to 12 year-old Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell), a troubled pre-teen flighting dyslexia, visions and hallucinations he can't explain, on top of the usual lightweight bullying you get in a Disney adaptation. Before she conveniently dies, Percy's mother (Virginia Kull) reveals to him all of his visions are real. His father, it turns out, is a god which links him to a magical world he's been growing more and more aware of as he grows up. Now, however, that world is also aware of him and wants to kill him before he grows into his powers.

Taken on its own, the first episode features nothing more or less than the world constantly shitting on Percy. His mother reveals she's been lying to him his whole life and then dies in front of him. His best friend rats him out and then reveals he was assigned to be his friend to help protect him. Teachers if full witness to Percy being bullied call him out when he retaliates without any action being taken on those who actually instigated the incident. And although we see instances of school psychologists offering vague generalities and platitudes, Percy's condition is never treated professionally (or the truth of it revealed to him) forcing him to grow up in a pretty shitty world of lies and misunderstandings his entire life. Oh, and his mother is dating a douchebag (Timm Sharp) in your basic TV-show relationship that makes zero sense.

As with the movies, the first episode does begin to shoehorn Greek mythology a bit, but given how long its going to spread out Percy's first adventure we don't get past the state of Percy being shocked that magic and gods are real and has yet to be introduced to the half-blood world in which he'll spend the remainder of his childhood. The best part about the episode is its humorous title. Here's hoping as the magical world begins to be more revealed things pick up for Percy (although I'm not holding my breath).

  • Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians - I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher
  • IMDb: link

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