Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review: Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker

Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker is the original novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope, one of my all-time favorite movies.  In many ways, it is like an expanded script for the movie.  It adds to and changes some details from the movie.  The book will also likely challenge your vocabulary a bit.  On the whole, this was only a mildly interesting read for one who has already seen the movie.

This book, even more than I expected, was the script of the movie with a few added and changed details.  Having seen the movie so many times, it was nearly impossible for me to come to the book with fresh eyes.  Darth Vader is described a little differently in the book, but I was not going to get visions of one of the most iconic movie characters of all time out of my head.  The movie was definitely playing in my head.  The book did show me what certain less intelligible lines from the movie are.  I felt like I was going through the movie at a slower pace.

The book contains more back story than the original movie, although much of it has been retconned.  You can tell the Japanese influences on the Star Wars universe.  George Lucas is a big fan of Japanese samurai movies, especially the works of Akira Kurosawa.  Here, the Emperor is more like the Japanese emperor, a tool of his warlords, and the similarities between Jedi and Samurai are more pronounced.  The force is slightly different, too, in ways that I am glad were lost in the final movie.  Intense focus seems to lead to blackouts where everything gets done without a character remembering it.  The most pronounced change is that this Bigg includes the somewhat famous cut scene of Luke and Biggs on Tatooine.  This scene gives Luke more backstory and makes their ultimate reunion at the rebel base more meaningful.  I was glad to see it cut from the movie on the other hand because Episode IV is already the slowest in the series and need not have been bogged down any further.

If you are like me, this book will leave you thumbing through your dictionary.  When I read books, I like to look up and write down the definitions to any words I do not know.  This book kept me busy with different cultural and science and technology references among other things.  George Lucas has a very knowledgeable brain.

Ultimately, this book is more of a curiosity than a great book.  If you want a window into George Lucas's vision of Star Wars in the early stages and before the movies came out, this is it.  Personally, I would rather just see the story in its more official form and lazily avoid reading a book.

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