Sunday, May 17, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 17: Book Versions vs. Movie Versions

Why yes, I do own every novelization. Thanks for asking! The original trilogy is in paperback (somehow, I have two of Return of the Jedi, and they are the absolute same edition), and because I was a pretentious fan back in high school, I bought the prequels in hard cover. Granted, I took the sleeves off after the movies turned out to be shit, but whatever.

Via Star Wars Wiki
Not surprisingly, the book versions of the prequels were superior to the actual movies. Because the prequels were very "TELL THE AUDIENCE EVERYTHING," being able to read the thoughts and deeper motivations for the characters gave the ludicrous plot a bit of footing, although not much. It's still a dumb plot, and there's not really anything even Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore, or Matthew Stover can do to change that. I will say that, of the three books, Revenge of the Sith was probably the most improved from the film.
Via Star Wars Wiki*
Now, the original trilogy's novelizations hold a special place in my heart**, especially A New Hope. My father bought me nearly every single bit of literature pertaining to the movies, including the annotated screenplays, so seeing a lot of the deleted material I knew about from my reading was exciting for me. Luke's position as an outcast was even more apparent in the novel version, where he's called Wormy (yeah, I don't know) and essentially mocked for having big plans off of Tatooine. He's not just some overly ambitious farmboy who wants to explore; he simply doesn't fit in, no matter how much Uncle Owen wants him to try. The originals definitely have more of a pulpy feel to them than the prequel novels, but that actually makes me like them that much more: truer to George Lucas' initial inspirations.

Are the books better? In some ways. In other ways, the movies clearly trounce them. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han doesn't say "I know" to Leia's "I love you." Yoda is blue, which I guess is more of an aesthetic sort of thing, but still, it seems strange to think of a blue frog. Regardless, I think any fan of science fiction should read them. They're all fun, escapist literature, and that's really what Star Wars is kind of about.


* To this day, I wish I had this version. I just love how non-Star Wars it is. 
** I'm actually due for my annual reread, but all of the books (as well as the DVDs) are in storage right now. Le sigh. 
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