Archive for film novelizations

thrift store finds: batman (1989) novelization

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the books I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)

I was the last generation of kids for whom home video wasn’t a given. By the time I was in junior high, VHS had pretty well taken over the world, allowing even the most meager of homes the luxury of making it a Blockbuster night. Moreover, as home video rental stores began to get a foothold in towns and cities across the country, the window between a film appearing on the big screen and in your local video store narrowed considerably.

When I was a kid, however… this was not the case. If you wanted to see a movie, you saw it in the movie theaters. If you were lucky, a year or so later, it’d appear on HBO… and a year after that perhaps, on one of the Big Three TV networks. If you wanted to know more about that movie, you’d watch Entertainment Tonight. Many a Monday evening I remember spending glued to the television watching the ageless Mary Hart opine about weekend’s movie grosses.

There was no immediate gratification of a home video release. There was no Internet to sate a budding cinephile’s interest in the making of their favorite movies. It was catch-as-catch-can.

…and this is where movie novelizations picked up some slack.

When I was growing up and you wanted to re-experience that movie you loved so well, they were the only game in town. Novelizations were written retellings of your favorite flick, normally based on the screenplays of major motion pictures rather than the finished product that landed in movie theaters. Stemming from this fact, movie novelizations were often rife with “bonus scenes” and extra perspective on characters in a flick, simply by virtue of having to be written months before the actual movie was completed. After all, a film novelist couldn’t know which scenes in the shooting script would end up on the cutting room floor. As a reader and a movie fan, I always found this thrilling. For instance, I remember reading Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of Alien 3 and enjoying it MORE than I enjoyed the movie at the time.

I’m not sure movie novelizations serve much of a purpose in this day and age, when the Internet so readily caters to the whims of the cinematically obsessed… but I was vividly reminded of my my own obsession with novelizations this past weekend when trolling a New 2 You thrift store in Mason and discovering…

the novelization of the 1989 Batman movie by Craig Shaw Gardner.

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