Archive for Movie Novelizations

Superman Week 2013: BB Hiller’s Superman IV novelization (1987)

Posted in books, comic books, movies, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

So the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, made it’s theatrical debut on Friday.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do another Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

Continuing Superman Week 2013 with another look at one of the Superman novelizations.  Here’s a review of the Superman IV movie novelization from 1987.  And yes, I’m pretty sure I hate this weird cover.

Supes 4 novel

The book is written by B.B. Hiller who is a veteran of movie novelizations. This guy has penned novelizations for Little Monsters (the one with Howie Mandell and Fred Savage), Ghostbusters II, Big, ALL of the 90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and ALL of the Karate Kid movies.  So this guy has been around…so to speak.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at these things, Hiller didn’t adapt any of the other Superman movies.  Only this one.  The last one.  And, ostensibly, the worst one. However, to be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of this last Superman movie.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely f**king terrible but I love it anyway.  And I wanted to see if the book makes an attempt at explaining ANY of the crazy ass insanity that goes down in the movie.  A quick check of the page count (144) tells me that, no, this probably won’t explain a g**damn thing.  But I decided to try it anyway.

The verdict?  It’s actually not that bad.  Somehow, the ridiculous story on the page comes across better than it does on the big screen.  However, there are several added scenes and subplots that help explain some of the ridiculousness.  Just so you know, about 45 minutes of footage was removed from Superman IV including an entire subplot about a first failed attempt by Lex to create a Nuclear Man.

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Superman Week 2013: William Kotzwinkle’s Superman III novelization (1983)

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week
It’s Day 3 of Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

For Superman Week in 2006 (“celebrating” Superman Returns), I reviewed all of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. So, for the release of this new Superman movie, I thought I’d go back and read the novelizations to two of those same movies. There weren’t novelizations of the first two Reeve Superman movies most likely due to a clause in screenwriter Mario Puzo’s contract that forbade anyone other than him from writing the novelizations. But for whatever reason, Puzo never got around to writing the books.  So Warner Books only released novelizations for the second two movies.  I looked forward to reading these novelizations because I love the two Superman sequels in a retarded sort of way and I wanted to see if there was any more awesomely insane weirdness in the books.

So, today, let’s take a look at the novelization to Superman III.

Written by William Kotzwinkle, the guy who also wrote the ET novelization.  The overall structure of the movie story is intact in the novelization.  The biggest difference with the book is that Kotzwinkle adds a sh*t ton of internal dialogue by nearly every character, but mostly Superman/Clark and Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor).  Many of the internal monologues are weird and in the case of Superman/Clark, completely against character.  A lot of Clark’s internalized conversations are him saying how he could fly someone he doesn’t like to the moon and leave them there.  You know, stuff like, “If only you knew I was Superman…” or “If I could, I would <fill in the blank with some super powered vengeance>”.  I’m fairly certain these are supposed to setup the evil Superman later in the book, but I wasn’t buying it.  It was against everything you think about Clark and Superman.

And as for Gus Gorman.  Ugh.  I didn’t really like Pryor’s character in the movie.  Pryor did good with what he was given, but the character was dumb.  This guy who can’t hold a steady job discovers that he’s some idiot savant when it comes to “computers”.  What?  And it’s even worse in the book.  It’s made more clear in the novel that Gus literally has no idea what he’s doing or how he’s doing it.  It’s like all of his computer skills are some sort of super power he can only barely control.  Pryor makes the character somewhat likeable, but you don’t have that luxury in the novel.  And it’s painfully clear that Pryor ad-libbed many of his lines in the movie because in the book, the dialogue for Gus might be some of the worst written crap I’ve ever read.  Filled with weird late 70s-early 80s colloquialisms that make no sense.  Pryor must have agreed because in the movie, he gets the same information across but in a better way.

As for the villains, the characters of Ross and Vera Webster and Lorelei aren’t much better in this novel than they were in the movie.  Their back stories are fleshed out a little.  We get that Vera is fiercely protective of her brother and craves his approval in everything she does.  There are even a few flashbacks to their childhood.  Lorelei, is still mostly one dimensional.  A poor man’s Miss Tessmacher.  She’s pretty and the book expands a bit more on the fact that Lorelei is actually smarter than everyone thinks she is.  But it’s honestly to no further end.

Unfortunately, there’s no extra story to the evil Superman stuff.  I was hoping we’d get more scenes, but we really don’t.  Although, the book does say that Superman’s suit turns fully black and his eyes glow green.  THAT is pretty awesome and I wish the movie would have taken it the whole way.

evil_superman_superfriends
I’m Superman. BITCHES.

The book’s climax is essentially the same.  Not really much to add.  No further explanation about how Gus came up with the Super Computer idea.  It’s essentially taken from drawings on napkins to fully realized in the cave.  Who developed the AI software the computer runs on?  Gus?  He acts like he’d never seen the computer before when he walks into the cave after riding the donkey down the mountain.  Don’t you think he would have supervised the entire construction?  When the computer shoots the “correct” Kryptonite ray at Supes, how does the computer synthesize the .052% of unknown in the chemical makeup?  It’s UNKNOWN to humans.  Stuff like this needed a better explanation.

I was very disappointed with this book.  I love movie novelizations and it’s rare that I don’t actually enjoy one.  Especially if I like the movie.  I didn’t like this and I can’t recommend it.

If you want a peak into the Superman III movie that could have been, take a glance at this unused Ilya Salkind story treatment.  Prepare for appearances by Supergirl, Brainiac and Mr Mxzyptlk.  It’s weird, but I think it could have been spectacular.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: The Nightmares on Elm Street movie novelizations

Posted in A Nightmare on Elm Street, books, Freddy Krueger, Halloween, holiday, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Paxton

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Welcome to Week 3 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Week 1 was Psycho Week in which I looked at Norman Bates.  Week 2 was Friday the 13th Week in which I looked at Jason Voorhees.  This week is Nightmare on Elm Street Week.  So be prepared for some Freddy Krueger goodness all week.

In the late 80s St Martins published two collected volumes of novelizations to the first 5 Nightmare on Elm Street films. Both volumes were under The Nightmares on Elm Street banner.

The first volume was published in 1987 and called The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, 3: The Continuing Story. It was written by Jeffery Cooper.

Nightmares on Elm St 1, 2, 3 Nightmares on Elm Street parts 4 and 5

Here is a review of the separate stories.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – This is very similar to the movie. You get a few more insights into Nancy’s thinking. However, honestly, I think this version is a bit abridged. It’s just over 70 pages. It seems like it should be longer. I feel like there were a few dream sequences that were cut from this novel. I could be wrong because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie. I know some of the Freddy-Nancy dream chases were a bit different in this book. But it felt short.  But it was good nonetheless.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – This particular movie gets so much crap from Nightmare fans. I know I hardly ever think about it. It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. The book is similar to the movie. Interesting at best. It continues the idea that Freddy feeds on fear, which is really dropped by the movie version of Part 3. I also feel like this is an abridged version. Again, it’s about 70 pages. I’m not sure what, if anything, was cut because I haven’t watched this movie in years, but nothing really jumped out at me as being different.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors – This one was the most fascinating. The book is apparently based on an early version of the script so the characters are mostly the same, but the story is wildly different. Especially the aspects of the Dream Warriors’ powers. Kirsten is mainly unchanged with her powers and character. Kincaid is a large, streetwise black man, but his dream power is flight instead of super strength like in the movie. Joey, who was mute for the majority of the movie but only part of this book, was the one that was super strong. Taryn, instead of being a punked out rocker chick with no powers actually breathed fire in the book (so much more awesome). Jennifer could turn invisible or phase out and the kid in the wheelchair, Will, that loved fantasy role playing and had wizard like powers was actually stupidly named Laredo in the book and not in a wheelchair at all. But he had the same wizard powers. Also, gone is the subplot involving Nancy’s dad and the burying of Freddy’s bones. Kirsten still tries to kill herself in the opening and gets sent to the hospital. There she meets the other Dream Warriors. Nancy shows up similar to in the movie. Nancy and Neil Guiness (Gordon in the movie) have a romantic attachment/affair. We find out about Freddy’s origin not from Amanda Krueger’s ghost but from plain and simple detective work by Nancy (which I like better). Joey isn’t seduced by the nurse but an old high school crush. The big dream fight where Freddy kills some of the Warriors is a lot bigger and more grandiose. Laredo (Will) actually has a pretty awesome shape-shifting fight with Freddy where he turns into a fire breathing dragon. If filmed, it would have been pretty epic as opposed to the lame fight that’s in the movie. Pretty much everyone dies. Kincaid, Taryn, Jennifer, Joey and Laredo (Will). Oh and Nancy dies killing Freddy. Kirsten and Neil are the only ones left. Somehow, Kirsten keeps Nancy alive in the Dream World and Neil visits her every night when he sleeps. It’s weird, honestly. The book ends similar to the movie in that Kirsten’s model Elm Street house has a light turn on. As if Freddy’s not dead.  In many ways, I liked this story better.  Especially the end battle between the Dream Warriors and Freddy.  Plus, the themes from the first movie about Freddy feeding on fear and to defeat him you must take away that fear are more prevalent.  However, with the novel, you don’t get the Dokken theme song, but I guess you can play that while you read the book.

At the end of the book there’s a short story that supposedly tells the “origin” of Freddy Krueger.  It’s not really considered canon by anyone involved with the movies.  And that’s fine because it’s not very good.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Simon Hawke (1986)

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Paxton

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Today, we are going to look at a novelization for one of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th franchise, Part VI: Jason Lives.

F13 VI: jason lives

This novelization was written by Simon Hawke and published during the original release of the movie in 1986. Hawke would go on to write novelizations of the first three Friday the 13th movies in 1987 and 1988.  Hawke’s novelization of Part III would be the second novelization for that film.  I reviewed both novelizations in yesterday’s article.  And I don’t know about you, but that book cover is AWFUL.  I don’t know why they didn’t just use the awesome poster for the movie.

Jason Lives poster
This would have been a much better book cover.

This particular novelization, like many of the other F13 and Nightmare books, has become very hard to find.  Again, I want to thank my friend Jason for loaning me them for the purpose of this review.

This novelization is a very good adaptation of the movie.  Not much new in so far as cut scenes.  However, what Hawke does here that he would carry over into his novelizations of Parts I-III is to go into the heads of not only the main characters, but also Jason himself.  There are many passages in which Jason questions his undying existence and wonders about his constant blood lust.  It makes the story more interesting and adds an extra depth to the mute Jason.  These inner monologues are used to fill in backstories for many of the other characters as well like Sheriff Garris and Tommy Jarvis.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Review of two Friday the 13th Part 3 novelizations

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Paxton

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And so continues our second week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Last week was Norman Bates/Psycho week.  This week is Jason Vorhees/Friday the 13th week.  Let’s start off this week with TWO novelizations written for the same movie; Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D.

Yes, there were two novelizations written for Friday the 13th Part 3.  The first was by Michael Avallone and published the same year as the movie’s release in 1982. This particular novelization was the first published for any of the Jason movies.

F13 Pt 3

Right away, the cover for this novelization is pretty awesome.  First of all, the hockey mask isn’t the standard Jason mask.  However, Jason didn’t actually get the mask until Part 3, so the Jason hockey mask was not the iconic symbol when this book was published that it is today.  Also, I love that they included the 3-D moniker in the title.  Like the book is actually written in 3-D (IT SHOULD TOTALLY BE WRITTEN IN 3-D!!!).

For most of the book, the story sticks pretty close to the movie.  A few deviations here and there, nothing really to mention.  However, that is, until the end.  This novelization is interesting in that it features an alternate ending from the one used in the actual movie.  In this ending, Chris, who is in the canoe in the lake, hears her boyfriend’s voice back at the lake house.  She gets out of the lake and runs back up to the house and opens the door only to have Jason decapitate her.  This is vastly different than the “it was all a nightmare” ending that was actually used.

This novelization would go out of print and become fairly hard to find until Paramount decided to publish Friday the 13th novelizations for the release of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

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My preparations for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

Posted in books, movies, Star Wars with tags , , , on February 3, 2012 by Paxton

Star Wars Episode I in 3D comes out on February 10 which is a week from today.  Being a Star Wars guy, I’m really excited to see the movie again on the big screen.

Episode I 3D

I was just the other day reading my 10th anniversary review of Star Wars: Episode I.  Hard to believe that was nearly 3 years ago.  While I think the movie runs a little long, there are scenes and moments in it that are awesome.  Darth Maul, obviously, is a BAD ASS.  Darth Sidious/Palpatine is great.  Qui Gon Jinn is awesome.  Ewan as Obi-Wan, podracing, the final 3-way lightsaber battle and John Williams’ score (and most notably Duel of the Fates).  All awesome.  Not awesome?  Jake Lloyd.  This kid has been vilified for this movie, and I feel bad for him.  I do.  But his performance is terrible.  And Jar Jar.  What can you say about f**king Jar Jar other than he sucks ass?

Regardless, I am excited to see this again in theaters and in 3D.  Plus I’m almost positive they’ve replaced that fugly looking Yoda puppet with full CGI.  I saw clips of the scenes at that Star Wars Concert that toured the country two years ago.  That is exciting.

So, in preparation, I’ve been reading up on some of the Episode I ancillary material to round out my experience with this movie.  I know Episode I has been a bit maligned, but honestly, I think it’s better than Episode II: Attack of the Clones which is mostly terrible (except for, again, the final 3-way lightsaber battle).

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading to enhance my readiness for Episode I in 3D.

Darth Plagueis
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno – This book was released in January.  I borrowed it from my friend Dr Mike and read it this past week.  I just finished it on Tuesday.  It’s amazing.  Epic and sprawling, the plot of this book spans many years beginning 30+ years before The Phantom Menace and ending just after the events of the movie.  It’s a “behind the scenes” book.  The book is obstensibly about Darth Plagueis (Palpatine’s Sith Master), but it’s every bit Palpatine/Darth Sideous’ book as well.  You see Plagueis come up as an apprentice, kill his master, obtain Palpatine as an apprentice, then begin the Grand Plan to bring down the Republic and decimate the Jedi Order.  This book is mostly, like I said, behind the scenes, but it’s amazing how it tries to reconcile plot lines from the movies, TV shows, comics and other novels.  Truly worth the read.  This book makes the convoluted Trade Federation subplot in Episode I almost make sense.  I have a feeling this book is going on my year end “best books” list and it’s only February.

SW Ep1 Journal
Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul by Jude Watson – This came out the year after Episode I. It was during the early days when we knew nothing about Darth Maul. This was the first time he was revealed to be a Zabrak from Iridonia.  I loved Maul so back in the day I bought up everything I could about him.  This is a light, fluff read.  Less than 100 pages.  It’s essentially written as Maul’s journal during the events of The Phantom Menace.  It’s a behind the scenes book similar to Plagueis but you don’t get as much information.  It’s mainly Maul waiting around to do stuff.  Cool but a bit light in detail.

SW Darth Maul
Star Wars: Darth Maul – This was a comic series from 2000.  It’s a fantastic story that takes place a few months before The Phantom Menace.  It depicts Maul’s first real assignment from Darth Sidious.  Essentially Darth Maul vs Black Sun.  And it’s awesome.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Official Universal Studios Wolf Man books

Posted in books, monsters, movies, Universal Studios, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 9 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010.  This is werewolf novel week.  Today, let’s take a look at official Universal Studios Wolf Man books.

Universal Studios has often tried to spread their popular monsters into other media besides movies.  One of those being paperback fiction.  Despite having a stable of very popular monsters, their efforts have been hit or miss.  Here are a group of fully authorized Universal Studios Wolf Man novels.

I’ll review the ones I’ve actually read.

The Wolfman novelization
The Wolfman by Jonathan Maberry – This one is the most recent.  It was released in February 2010.  This is the movie novelization of the recent Wolf Man reboot by Joe Johnston staring Benicio Del Toro and Sir Anthony Hopkins.  I haven’t read this, but I enjoyed the movie enough that I may try to grab this off Paperbackswap.com.  I know the movie had a bunch of script problems and changes, I’d be interested to see how this novel’s story is different.  If you haven’t, check out the movie.  I’ll talk more about the movie, including a review, in the next few weeks.

Blood Moon Rising
Blood Moon Rising (Universal Studios Monsters Book 2) by Larry Mike Garmon – Released in 2001, this was book 2 in a Juvenile Fiction series. I mentioned Book 3 during AWESOME-tober-fest last year because it features Frankenstein.  When I stumbled across this book at the annual library book sale this year for less than a quarter, I decided to pick it up.  And I read it.  And it sucked.  They aren’t kidding when they say JUVENILE fiction.  This book was like one of the bad Scooby Doo episodes.  The story revolves around three teens who mistakenly release the Universal Monsters into this world and must chase them all down and trap them back into their movies.  Book 1 featured Dracula.  This book features Wolf Man and the story takes place down south in the Florida swamps.  The whole book and storyline is a pale imitation of a Three Investigators or Hardy Boys book.  It may work for late elementary and junior high kids, but it’s really bad for anyone that’s any more mature than that.  I was really disappointed at the cheesiness of this book.

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