Friday, June 07, 2013

Why Do We Read Movie Novelizations? Or Do We?

Big Hollywood movies arrive in theaters with an entourage of tie-in merchandise at their heels, ready to lure you in with their enticing buy-ability. Aside from action figures, apparel and the endless other products we expect each summer, studios partner with book publishers to produce one of the more intriguing film extension items out there: the novelization.

From a piece in Lit Reactor...

For those of you in the dark, a novelization is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a transformation of a movie into a book, whereby the original narrative is delivered to audiences not through images, sounds and special effects, but through prose—or, the exact opposite of a novel's adaptation to the big screen. If you've never come across one of these literary oddities, that's understandable. While once a fairly popular medium, the novelization has lost some of its sway over the average consumer. Not only this, numerous articles about novelizations...speak to the mediocre writing seemingly inherent to the medium, a byproduct of tight deadlines (most are written in four to six weeks) and, most likely, the author writing for money rather than love. Peter Kobell...says "these illegitimate offspring of movies and novels are often pulp fiction of the rawest sort. The literary equivalent of the action figures in fast food restaurants..." This is one of the nicer quotes about novelizations out there.

So what is it about novelizations that appeals to us? Why would anyone elect to read a book based on a movie, when there are countless original novels out there? Let's take a deeper look into this genre (and yes, it is a genre all its own) and see just how the novelization cemented its place in popular culture.

No comments: