For starters, our lead is missing a couple of legacies. The ability to speak to animals and his resistance to fire and heat. Last I checked, he's the one who should be fire proof. While the movie did get the whole he's-next-to-be-killed-and-he's-running-for-his-life plot. They missed the mark on the other important factor of who these children are: warriors or Garde as the Lorien's called them and warriors need training. They completely disregarded the fact that the guardians or Cepans were more than just glorified babysitters. Their primary role is to train the Gardes on how to master their legacies. And that's just the beginning of what's wrong with this adaption. Let's see what else I've got. Ready for one of my lists. Here goes:
1) John and Sarah: First, they rushed this relationship. The time frame they allotted in the movie, doesn't justify the intense feeling these characters have for each other. In the book, they are Home Economic partners which helps to develop their attachment. Second, they switched roles. Sarah is supposed to be the outgoing forward one, approaching John day one, establishing the initial friendship. It was this boldness that attracted him to her in the first place. John, is supposed to the socially awkward one, not showing off on jet skis to impress a girl. Last, Sarah was supposed to save John's life in the end, stabbing a Mogadorian who was sneaking up on him.
2) The significance of Sam's father: Perhaps the next book indicates more with this character, but this book doesn't. Yes, Henry alludes to the significance of being in Paradise, Ohio and my assumption is we'll find out in the sequel, but the whole I am protecting the kids identities by hiding magical gem stones that can track them down, may have been a little too much. Henry insisting that he had business to take care of in Paradise and that's why they went there is not the case. He picked Ohio because it was remote and in the middle of nowhere.
3) The magazine article: And speaking of Sam, the whole reason Henry goes to the ET website people is not because of a video online, its because of an article that was written about the Mogadorians in a sci-fi magazine. A magazine that Sam was subscribed to. It was an article that outlined what the Mogadorian's had planned for Earth.
4) The visions: Because the movie makers took out the whole training aspect, it stands to reason they would eliminate these as well, despite their importance to the development of John's character. Let's start with what John knows prior to the visions. He knows about legacies and his part in receiving them. In the movie, Henry had to explain to him what they were, but that was not the case. He knows and part of him wishes he didn't have to deal with it and he could be free. After John receives his first legacy, Henry begins training him. During his training, John get flashbacks or visions of the battle that happened on his home planet. See his family fight, seeing the destruction, it gives him a better understanding of what happened and why he's so important. It finally gives a chance to truly connect to his people and his home in a way he could never before.
5) The chest: This would be the little silver box in the movie that was said to be passed down to John by his father. Oh, the chest is so much more than that. It is his inheritance. A collection of items that's meant to help him train and master his legacies as well as items that will aid him in his fights. First, the box is supposed to be bigger and second, it's supposed to be unnoticeable. A simple wooden box with a single Lorian symbol. A box that can only be opened by John and Henry, unless Henry dies. Then John can open it up on his own. This chest is so important that they risk taking it to the school for the big battle rather than leaving it at home.
6) The house fire: This is how Sarah was supposed to find out about John, 3 day before the big battle at the school. This was the event that got the Mogadorians on John's trail. During a party at Mark's house, a fire breaks out. Sarah, along with Mark's two dogs, get trapped in a room upstairs. Remember, how I said John was supposed to be fire proof. He runs into the house and saves Sarah and the dogs by jumping out the second floor window. This is also the event that turns Mark's views about John. Leading Mark to help John in the battle.
7) Marks redemption: Which leads me to the part where Mark redeems himself by helping John fight the Mogadorian and saving John's life. Oh, yeah, that didn't happen in the movie. Instead, Mark leads the Mogadorians straight to John at the school. Then in the end he rescues John's box for him and John forgives him. I feel as a movie watcher you would question why. Why would John forgive the guy who lead the killers straight to him? You actually find yourself hating Mark even more for putting our hot hero in danger. We're supposed to realize in the end that Mark is actually a good guy.
8) Number 6's role: Number 6 got a much bigger role in the movie than she got in the book. Yes, she had been following John trying to track him down, finally doing so after the house fire sending him a message. But did she set his house on fire, no. At least not in the first book. The sequel is based on her, so perhaps it explains that she does, but I won't know until August when the book comes out. She too is also missing a legacy. She's not the one whose fire proof, her major legacy is controlling the elements: weather, water, earth and fire. She can control it, she can't resist it.
9) Turning into dust when killed: This is only a trait for the Mogadorian's not the Lorian's. Number 3 and Henry should not have turned into dust. In fact in the book, John sets Henry on fire and then takes his ashes with him when he leaves Paradise.
10) The big battle: Last but not least. While the special effects for this were a bit cool, they still got some details wrong. Let's start with the fact that Henry should have been there fighting along side John. In fact, it's here that Henry dies. Not at the house of the ET website people. The chest I mentioned above should have been there as well. Inside were two items that helps them in their fight: a stone that heals wounds and a pebble that's placed in the mouth to sustain energy. Both of these are to counteract the effects of the sword the Mogadorian's use to kill the Gardes. Marks involvement as mentioned above and Sarah killing a Mogadorian. John's ability to speak to animals helps to convince a monster to turn on the Mogadorian soldiers. And last, both John and 6 are injured in this battle. Leaving Sam, Mark and Sarah to carry them off school premises and work to revive them. Showing that even with abilities as theirs, they are not invulnerable.
Unfortunately, I could keep going. There are a lot of little things that different between the book and the movie, but I think 10 is a good round number. I will leave this review on a positive note, I did start with one after all. I felt the Mogadorian's were spot on: scary, heartless, out for blood. How we all like our villians.