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Author Topic: Novelizations?  (Read 6473 times)
Kooshmeister
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« on: March 31, 2007, 08:38:24 AM »

I debated where to post this, in Bad Movies or in Good Movies. Ultimately this one won out. Why? I did the "Eine-meenie-minie-mo" thing. Simple as that.

Anyway! What does everybody here think of film novelizations? Usually they're just cash-ins, to be sure, but sometimes they can add a whole new dimension to the films (like the title character's weird crush on Elliot's mom in the novelization for E.T.). If you like them, what are some of your favorites?

Mine are:

E.T. - As I mentioned above, the wierdo factor of E.T.'s crush on Elliot's mom alone is enough to make the book worth owning. Plus I also like the way it fleshes out the character of Keys (the lead government agent) and makes him a somewhat more sympathetic character. It's been a while since I've read it, though, and I can't remember who the author is.

King Kong - Possibly the very first film novelization, written in 1932 by one Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong has since gone on to be, to my knowledge, the only film tie-in book to be regarded as something of a minor classic, getting reprinted every few decades or so, and even being part of the Modern Library Classics Line! It contains a lot of the stuff that got deleted from the final cut of the film, including the infamous chasm filled with giant man-eating creepy crawlies, and some extra encounters with dinosaurs such as a bit where Kong has it out with a bunch of triceratopes. What's not to love?

Warlords of Atlantis - Now we're getting into outright obscurity here. I'm unsure how many people were actually aware that the so-corny-it's-lovable 1978 Doug McClure sci-fi epic about Atlantis was novelized, but it's a pretty good book. Author Paul Victor seems to have been laboring under the delusion, however, that his version of the film's story would be somehow regarded a lot more highly than it ended up being, considering that the book comes complete with a preface about the history of the Atlantis myth in the real world, apparently to provide more "weight" to the ensuing cheesy story. The novel has a completely different beginning and ending (although personally I prefer the movie's ending), rearranges the order of some scenes (such as the attack by the flying fish happening earlier), and even adds a new character in the form of a fourth crew member named Chuck (who admittedly doesn't last that long). It also goes into a little more detail about the Atlantean society and makes the whole "seven cities of Atlantis" angle a lot clearer than it was in the movie.

Ghostbusters - In this case I'm referring to the book by Richard Mueller published in 1989 (to coincide with the sequel), not the original, shorter one by Larry Milne, which I have not read. Interesting, and sometimes bizarre, subplots abound in this retelling of the story of the first movie, which provides a buttload of backstory for all four of the Ghostbusters, including the fact that Ray is estranged from his family due to Peter making a pass at his sister at a family reunion. Mueller even goes as far as to make the Louis Tully character into even more of a hopeless loser/creepy stalker than he was in the film, and even expands on the infamous "Murray and Aykroyd as bums" deleted scene by including two homeless guys based on them (named Harlan and Robert) who keep turning up in the oddest places throughout the story.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2007, 08:41:41 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
The Burgomaster
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 08:49:57 AM »

I read a few film novelizations when I was younger (probably around 12 years old) and I found them to be terrible.  They are usually written by hack writers out for a quick buck.  The ones I remember reading are:

* GREASE - Awful and nothing like the move;
* THE BAD NEWS BEARS - They cleaned up the swearing and racial slurs because the book was aimed at kids;
* THE STING - They took an excellent movie and turned it into a crappy book.

These days, I avoid books whenever they say, "based on the movie . . . "


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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2007, 03:24:14 AM »

The most interesting one I read was.  Dean Koontz's The Funhouse, simply because it was Dean Koontz adapting a movie.
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dean
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2007, 05:13:40 AM »


For some reason, some novelisations that I have read [and enjoy] have been a good read, even if they were total crap.

At the moment I'm sort of plugging my way through 'Aliens' which although is far from a classic, does give a bit more depth to the characters.

I borrowed it from a friend and he has all the Aliens 'books' and Mad Max 1 and 2.  I'm sure they are terrible.

Of all of the ones that I have read, the best is probably 'Tomorrow Never Dies'.  Adds alot more to a movie that otherwise didn't really have a lot of substance.  I was actually quite surprised that the novelisation actually improved on the movie, rather than blank cut and pasted it like normal.

But yeah, most are just cash-in ploys, but sometimes worth a look if you're bored and have a trip to take, and you just borrow it from the library or something.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2007, 07:02:24 AM »

Been a while since I read any novelizations. The last one IIRC was the tie-in book for Circle of Iron that I found in a used book store several years ago. It was pretty decent for what it is, added some depth to the characters, although knowing more about the Blind Man (including his name) actually took away from the story. Seemed to downplay the Buddhist and philosophical elements in favor of the quest and action, one of the things I liked in the movie actually. The humor that was added to the script was missing, although I wish they had included a little since the book needed it.

I remember in high school several of us reading the novelizations of horror films like Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and the first three Nightmare on Elm Street films, which were published in one omnibus edition (all three were short, barely 100 pages each I think). The Jason book was okay, added some backstory, a sex scene and how Cort picked up the girl in the first place, went inside the thoughts of the victims as they were killed. Also upped the sexual tension between the sheriff's daughter and the hero, including a car ride with his head buried in her lap so no one will know he's in the car with her. But for that scene to work (he's staring at her crotch during the trip) he'd have to turn his head around like in The Exorcist or sit really awkwardly in the passenger seat. But to hell with logistics, a girl in skin tight jeans is a girl in skin tight jeans.

The Nightmare books were so-so, I remember little of the first one. The second one played up the "gay seduction" subtext of Freddie and the male lead even more than the movie. And Freddie's claws burst out of the chest of a different character at the end on the bus ride to hell. The third one was more about action than horror, but is probably the best of the three.

I remember reading the tie-in book for Outland, I actually liked it better than the movie. Follows the story pretty well, but gives more background to the operation of the mining operation and how people live and function (or don't) there.
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2007, 07:26:58 AM »

 I read quite a few in High School too.It was easy book report material...andI could always cut out the pictures and put them in the book report,which was fun...
 
 I read alot of them then,like NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD,Clash of the TITANS, the 1976 KING KONG (Why...I don't know...),Most of which didn't have any distinctive style.
  I remember reading Pierre Boulle's PLANET of the APES...and disapointed that it was nothing like the movie...they were all French! And the humans talked...aLOT!
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2007, 12:36:14 PM »

  I remember reading Pierre Boulle's PLANET of the APES...and disapointed that it was nothing like the movie...they were all French! And the humans talked...aLOT!

I had the same experience when I was a kid. Where was the trial?  Where was Zira? ...and where the hell was Nova?!? Wink

Years of appreciation and study put the production of the entire pentalogy in perspective for me.  I'd advise any fans of the movies to seek out the behind scenes stories...Paul Dehn's script issues, AP Jacobs and the magic subsequent halving budgets, Natalie Trundy(as much a fixture in the series as Roddy)...one of the greatest making of stories around.

I was working at the bookstore when the APES remake came out.  It had sparked a little revival of interest in the Boulle book.  People poured in to snag it and I had to warn a few of them not to be surprised by the vast difference between the book and what they had presumed about it.

So many people are surprised to see just how much of the 68 film is Rod Serling's (and Michael Wilson).  In fact, if you're familiar with Twilight Zone at all, the 'Serlingisms' literally jump off the screen in APES.  The final shot being the gimme.
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soylentgreen
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2007, 01:05:07 PM »

D'oh forgot to mention...

Some of the novelizations I've accumlated...

AMERIKA - the novel of the controversial ABC miniseries about the Red take-over of the USA.  Pretty straightforward dump of the script.  I've been hunting a decent boot on DVD for a little while now.

STAR TREK IV - another basic cash-in, notable for some key little scenes..one, where as the crew members walk thorugh 1980's San Fran, Sulu spots and meets his great-great grandfather as a little boy...and another where an after-dinner mint explains quite a bit about Spock's swim.

DAWN OF THE DEAD - The jewel in my treasury.  While, like most others, it's pretty much a dump of the original script, it benefits from using an earlier version of Romero's story.  Some extra dimensions are the presence of a little puppy and a more horrific exploration of what the scientist on the tv is proposing as a strategy for handling the zombiepocalypse.

....and I must mention this,
BATMAN - the '89 novelization based on the Sam Hamm(I Am!) screenplay...complete with a subway train chase(!) and a caped crusader on horseback(!!).

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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2007, 01:25:46 PM »

I also read a bunch of those novelized movies in my time. Before VHS it was about the only way to revisit favorite movies. Now when I see some of these movies again for the first time in years I find I sometimes 'remember' scenes that were only in the novel version! To this day I'm still surprised whenever I see JAWS 2 there's no subplot about the Brody Kids learing to scuba dive or baby white sharks fighting each other in the womb.

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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2007, 05:06:23 PM »

The most interesting one I read was.  Dean Koontz's The Funhouse, simply because it was Dean Koontz adapting a movie.


I liked "The Funhouse" too, and for the same reason, another one that I've read is "The Abyss", liked the novelization more than the movie as it goes into detail about the motives of all the characters, From the oil drillers to the friendly aliens.
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2007, 10:30:01 PM »

The novelizations of Alien and Aliens had some of the scenes that weren't included until the special editions came. 

I admit I have a copy of Sword and the Sorceror...
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2007, 08:42:53 AM »

'Course, while I obviously champion movie novelizations, there are a few that are complete duds. Such as Christopher Golden's novelization of Peter Jackson's King Kong. It's little more than a rote retelling of the final draft of the script, with entire descriptive passages taken verbatim from said screenplay.
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2007, 09:15:47 PM »

I still have a few old (and newer) novelizations on the shelf:

Battlestar Galactica - orginal TV pilot
Alien
The Thing (Carpenter version)
Dragonslayer
Krull
Back to the Future II
Star Trek V
Star Trek VI
The Abyss
Terminator 2
Willow
Event Horizon
The Chronicles of Riddick
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2007, 09:41:00 PM »

I have not read any film adaption books. I avoid those but I think I will look into the 1932 Kong book. I briefly read a passage of Jackson's Kong and I found myself annoyed that Anna revered to the V-Rex as that, V-Rex's. I found that a little out of place since it's a made up dinosaur and I think it would have made more sense if she called them T-Rex's.

But I do hate comci book adaptions of movies. I disliked the Batman Returns comic, and the Spider-Man 2 adaption cut out too much action.
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2007, 12:07:07 PM »

Alan Dean Foster's novelization of THE BLACK HOLE is pretty good, with a better ending than the movie.
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