Willow: Novel Paperback – 27 Oct 1988
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Novelisation to tie-in with the next george lucas film. A cross between "raiders of the lost ark" and "return of the jedi", this is a story set many years ago in a mythical country. It is an adventure fantasy and is basically about good against evil. Evil loses of course] is supposed to do for fantasy what "star wars" did for science fiction. 29/2/88:buying del rey film: a: 50000 at $2.99: 288pp: uc=21p: max. 09/05/88 resubmitted to show extra costs of including 8pp 4 colour inset.text & inset film from us.adapt us cover: 50000 at $2.99: 288pp + 8pp inset: uc=31p: max. UK FILM/TV TIE IN
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All right, this book is a novel based on the screenplay for the movie of the same name. It doesn't seek to be a mere text edition of the movie, but sets out to expand and improve upon the screenplay. Do you want to know where Vohnkar learned to be a great warrior? Do you want to know about the rise of Fin Raziel and Bavmorda? Do you want to know the past of Madmartigan and Airk Thaughbaer? Well, this book is the place to look! Being a fan of the movie, I deeply enjoyed all of the background information that this book gave me. It really filled in a lot of blanks.
Now, that said, how does the book do as a standalone novel? Overall, I found it to be somewhat thin when it came to motivation. That is, the characters often seemed to be marionettes going through an act, rather than living, breathing people, caught up in a dark adventure. But, in spite of that, I did enjoy the book, and am very glad I read it. I highly recommend it to all fans of the movie, and guardedly recommend it everyone else.
I feel I should start out by saying that Ifve never seen the film Willow on which this book is based. Doubtless it is very entertaining in the same amusing, 80s fantasy way that Labyrinth and Legend are. The plot is riddled with cliches, but it trundles along at a fair old pace and probably makes quite good cinema (albeit with special effects that are no doubt incredibly dated). The book, however, is genuinely dreadful.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this book is definitely a case in point. When adapting a film that is (according to Amazon) approximately two hours in length into a book, that book can either try to capture and convey properly everything that takes place in the film and thus be quite lengthy, or it can be quite short and skim along the top of the action and appear shallow. Sadly, Drew appears to have gone for the latter, depthless option (although how much choice he had in the matter I donft know; he may have been making the best of a bad lot). The writing continually states the obvious and is entirely without subtlety: no character has a thought which they donft vocalise, an emotion which doesnft show in their face or contemplates an action without immediately following through. There is no sense that any of the people Drew writes about have inner lives or even minds. Because of this, their actions often seem arbitrary, perfunctory and unreasonable. A character will suddenly decide they are in love or that al their actions up until now have been evil and they must change to fight for good, then act on these thoughts without further ado. It might work in a film, but in a book it comes across as utterly ridiculous.
The dialogue is wooden at the best of times and laughable at the worst. At one point, one character refers to another as a ejackassf, which is incredibly inappropriate vocabulary choice for a fantasy with vaguely faux-medieval overtones, as this one attempts to be (most of the time). These may be faithfully reproduced lines from the film, I donft know, but whatever the reason for them they donft make for good reading.