IV: No Escape

For the introduction to this series, click here.

The Karate Kid
Novelization by B.B. Hiller
Point 1984, 131 pages
Pictures: None! Woe is me!
The MRFH Movie Review

At the back of this novelization is one of those ad pages for other books put out by the same publishing house. You know the ones: they never look attractive, and they're always begging you to mail order books. Mail order? What, is this 1917? Will it come to my house by telegram, packaged in a brown parcel and tied with string? Anyway, the ad says, "Living... loving... growing. That's what POINT books are all about! They're books you'll love reading and will want to tell your friends about." Honestly, I think that's some gross assumption on their part. Have they seen my future and know of my passion for these slim novels? Am I compelled to tell you all to read these, or else I will wake up tomorrow without the use of one of my kidneys?

Can you tell I'm stalling from talking about the book itself? Yeah. I am.

The truth is, this isn't a very mock-worthy novelization. It's slim, basic, and polished to about the third grade level. We get advice like, "Being a live worm is better than being a dead duck." (p.43), although that statement is highly suspect upon whether or not worms have a lot of sex.

Hiller recreates the movie without much of its charm, although she does make a solid attempt to portray the events through Daniel-san's eyes. It's just too bad there weren't any pictures to take me away from 131 pages of trudging text and Metaphors 101:

"The Cobra, it seemed, could be poisoned by its own venom." (p.120)

Encino Man
Novelization by Nicholas Edwards
Point 1992, 165 pages
Pictures: None. No Pauly Shore! Alas.
The MRFH Movie Review

Back in high school, I discovered a powerful truth when our principal, at an assembly, used the infamous "NOT!" line from Wayne's World: adults have the complete ability to make things very uncool, very fast, particularly if it has to do with modern lingo.

That's how I felt, reading this epic tome, starting with the cover blurb of "Based on the buff new comedy from Hollywood pictures". Auther Nicholas Edwards writing this 14-point font, 1-inch margins thesis went all out to try to incorporate the weird early 90's Encino Man colloquialisms, not just in the dialogue, but also anywhere he could get away with it. The result? Well, you tend to get lines like this:

"Robyn was a neo-normal, and very pretty, although she seemed somewhat uncomfortable with her looks." (p.16)

"Neo-normal"? Did anyone, anywhere, ever use that word in a real life sentence? Oh, it gets better.

"[The cavegirl's] hairdo was wild — but, oddly, looked just like the big-hair of any modern surf-rock chick." (p.1)

And so on, and so on. It's a quick, breezy read with all sorts of empowering sentences that made my goosebumps go "Hey!" and my mind reel with imagination. NOT! There's also an atrocious amount of floundering metaphors and other snappy lines, which I will leave you to.

"He pulled her down next to him, and they cooed and kissed. It was prehistoric domestic bliss." (p.3)

"Jerry... looked like Indiana Jones with love handles." (p.18)

"The man in the block of ice was like some secret prize they might have found in a Cracker Jack box when they were five. Except, of course, it would have had to have been an extremely large box of Cracker Jack." (p.31)

"Link might be a caveman, but it was time for him to start acting like one." (p.104)

"Link picked up the frog and popped it into his mouth, whole. A pretty girl sitting nearby had noticed, but her only reaction was to look at Link and smile, and offer him her frog instead." (p.108)

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Novelization by James Khan
Ballantine 1983, 181 pages
Pictures: The cover advertises a "Fabulous 8-Page Color Insert", but the previous book's owner tore them out. I have since sent a reverse hex their way. CURSES!
The MRFH Movie Review

Holy crap. Wow. Holy crap. I don't think I ever pulled so many quotes from a book before, but if there's an exception to the rule, it's the sacred behemoth of Star Wars. Return of the Jedi is just a gushing fountain of weird facts, bizarre lines, and all sorts of wacky taffy that wasn't in the film.

Let's start with some largely unknown Star Wars trivia, shall we? Did you know, for instance, that the planet of the Ewoks is — against all reports contrary — called "Endor", a moon of a planet long since lost? Yup, according to the novel, the whole "It's a MOON of Endor" politically-geeky correct speech is now moot. Also, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the flesh-and-blood brother of Owen, the guy who raised Luke: "So I took you to live with my brother Owen, on Tatooine..." (p.66). Also also, Jabba the Hutt used to have hair and the Emperor ordered the Death Star to blow up Endor. Really.

As I dove into the book, I discovered that the author made an unfortunate decision to phonetically spell out a lot of R2D2 and Chewie's dialogue, resulting in whole gobs of lines like, "'Poot-wEEt beDOO gung ooble DEEp!' vocalized R2" (p.7) and "Chewie filled him in at length. 'Arh arhaghh shpahrgh rarh aurowwwrahhah grop rahp rah.'" (p.27). Guess how much fun THAT is to read for a whole novel!

This being Star Wars, there's a fair bit of uncomfortable physical foreplay going on. "Foul beast that he was, Jabba poked his fat, dripping tongue out to the princess, and slopped a beastly kiss squarely on her mouth." (p.26) Oh, think that's just limited to the bad guys? Check this out: "Han reached up and scratched his partner's chest; Chewie cooed like a pup." (p.27) Yeah, I don't need any more of that. But, hey, even Ewoks love a good romp in the hay now and then: "[Chewie's] gruff guffaws were really hilarious to the chuckling Ewoks, so — as was their custom — they jumped on him in a frenzy of tickling, which he returned threefold, until they all lay in a puddle, quite exhausted." (p.116) And Leia obviously misses her A New Hope days of non-stop hugging: "Leia could bearly restrain herself. She wanted to hug them all." (p.36)

It gets better. Just for Sue and any romance novel readers out there, we get the creme de la creme of Han and Leia's relationship: "Even so, they'd had each other for a short while, at least. They'd come together from opposite ends of a wasteland of emotional isolation: Hand had never known love, so enamored of himself was he; Leia had never known love, so wrapped up in social upheaval was she, so intent on embracing all of humanity. And somewhere between his glassy infatuation for the one, and her glowing fervor for the all, they'd found a shady place where two could huddle, grow, even feel nourished." (p.150)

Hey, wonder why the Rebel Alliance got started in the first place? "It was this, then, that the Alliance was fighting to preserve — furry creatures in mammoth forests helping scared, brave princess to safety. Leia wished her parents were alive, so she could tell them." (p.97)

There's just a treasure trove of embarrassed text in this book, and I'll leave you with some of the best (my favorite is the last line):

"This robot was going to be trouble, that much was obvious — one of those droids who always had to prove she was more-droid-than-thou." (p.14)

"What else was a protocol droid to do, in a place of so little protocol?" (p.15)

"Boba Fett remained motionless, an arrogant sneer all but visible behind his mask." (p.19)

"Well, blast it, blind is blind. No use wishing for moondew on a meteorite" (p.26)

"She closed her mind to Luke, to keep herself from distracting him; yet at the same time she kept it open, ready to receive any sliver of information she might need to act." (p.30)

"Chewbacca and Artoo thought that was very funny... Chewbacca had to wipe a tear from his eye." (p.102)

"Leia was fast becoming distraught, confused. Intimations were rushing at her like wild owls out of the night, their wings brushing her cheek, their talons catching her hair, their harsh whispers thriller her ear: 'Who? Who? Who?'" (p.118)

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  • 1.18.06

    Also Check Out:

  • Revenge of the Novelizations I: The Horrible Beginning
  • Revenge of the Novelizations II: Forging The Nightmare
  • Revenge of the Novelizations III: Word Count of Doom

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