Sitzbook Review: “Star Wars – A New Hope” by George Lucas

I took this picture in 2016 at the Star Wars costume exhibit at a Denver museum.

I’m running out of time for today if I want to keep up my “post a day” trend for Septemblog. I’ve been really busy today because I was working on immigration paperwork for my wife. As someone who has immigrated to another country, then gotten residency and eventually citizenship, I’ve already been through the process once, and I can’t really say I recommend it.

I would recommend moving to another country and living abroad and falling in love and getting married and all that, but the paperwork and bureaucracy really suck. That’s the part I’d not recommend. But it’s a necessary evil. A very evil necessary evil.

Speaking of evil, have you ever read this novel from the late 1970s about a bad dude named Vader? I think his full name was Bad Bad Leroy Vader. In any case, the book is called “The Star War” and I heard it was made into a movie, but I never saw it.

Just kidding, of course. I’ve been reading through the novelizations of the original Star Wars trilogy. I remember I read them all in the 1990s, but I wanted to check them out again. Fortunately, my mom gave me a nice, hardcover copy that has a fancy picture of Darth Vader on the front and the droids on the back.

Inside, the books are…pretty OK. Honestly, I should have expected that the novelizations might not be that great in comparison to the movies, since I love the movies so much.

And they’re definitely not bad, but they’re a bit overwrought (I think that’s the word I’m looking for). I’m still reading Empire now, and each one was written by a different ghostwriter, based on the screenplays. Empire is a lot more natural, but I get the feeling that the guy who ghostwrote A New Hope had just gotten a new thesaurus and simply couldn’t wait to take it for a spin.

To see what I mean, check out this passage from page 210, in which the author describes the area surrounding the Rebel base on the moon of Yavin:

“Strange cries and barely perceptible moans sounded from every tree and copse; hoots and growls and strange mutterings issued from creatures content to remain concealed in the dense undergrowth. Whenever dawn broke over moon the fourth, heralding one of its long days, an especially feral chorus of shrieks and weirdly modulated screams would resound through the thick mist.

Even stranger sounds surged continually from one particular place. Here lay the most impressive of those edifices which a vanished race had raised toward the heavens. It was a temple, a roughly pyramidal structure so colossal that it seemed impossible it could have been built without the aid of modern gravitonic construction techniques. Yet all evidence pointed only to simple machines, hand technology–and, perhaps, devices alien and long lost.”

Basically the whole first novelization goes on (and on and on) like that. That’s just way too many words to describe what could be summed up in the phrase, “There was a temple in the forest, and the area around it was noisy as hell.”

I don’t want to sound negative or like some dummy that doesn’t understand big words, because I actually do understand everything in those two paragraphs above (with the possible exception of the word “copse”–I’m a bit shaky on that one). But part of the brilliance of the Star Wars movies is that they tell a human story that we can relate to on some level, and all this blathering on just sounds pretentious.

On the other hand, I definitely wouldn’t want to go to the other extreme. If this were written based on a screenplay from 2018, it would probably read like:

“Braxtyn Solo pulled out his pocket communicator to send an urgent communique to Senator Princess Kaytlynne Organa. ‘this forest noisy af LOL’ he swiftly texted.” 

Anyhow, in the end, it hardly ever mattered whether the writing was pretentious or natural. That’s because I’ve seen the movies so many times that I basically have them memorized, so when I got to a long-winded passage like the one above, I just imagined what was happening on the screen, or I was able to compare how the dialog had changed by a few words here and there.

So even though the book at times has delusions of grandeur, it was still entertaining enough that this fuzzball was able to thoroughly laugh it up.

How about you? Have you ever read the novelizations of Star Wars or any other movies that you loved, or was that just a weird thing that I did in the 1990s? I can’t have been the only one out there. If so, chime in below in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

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Sitzman

Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
Hey! I'm Ryan Sitzman, the person in charge of Sitzblog. If you want to know more about me, you can check out my profile on Google or go to my personal site, RyanSitzman.com. You can also click on any of the redundant little boxes to the left and it should take you to my profiles for all kinds of social networks. Thanks!

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