The Last Jedi novelization review
The Last Jedi is set for a home release soon. Next week it will be available as a digital download on Disney Movies Anywhere and on March 27th on Blu-Ray and DVD. This week however saw the release of the official novelization written by Jason Fry. Normally I am not a big fan of novelization. But as The Last Jedi ran for two and half hours and was not without controversy I sought an alternative adaptation.
The dark side, and the light
There is both good and bad with this novelization. The good is the extra content. The novelization starts off with an extra chapter – from of the point of view of Luke Skywalker. In this chapter he dreams of what would have happened if he never went with Obi-wan Kenobi on their quest to save Princess Leia and destroy the Death Star. It is a good introduction – thought provoking, and obviously a foreshadowing of his confrontation with Rey. This novelization is filled with smaller pieces of extra content as well. Readers learn that the First Order’s hyperspace tracking is no more than a database of hyperlanes, trajectories and rendez-vous points. It was something I wanted to know more about, but the explanation left me unfulfilled.
The bad is that the writing does not add any new depth to the story. Despite the point of view often being semi-first person I did not feel as if I learned much about the characters. Ultimately Jason Fry does not deviate from the established movie in any significant way. It reads very much like the way the story played out on the big screen. If Rey was frustrated with Luke not being the Jedi master she hoped for – well we already knew that from watching The Last Jedi. The author often includes a sentence about how a characters feels at that moment, but it is nothing special.
Overall the novelization is good. There is nothing wrong with the writing – even if it is nothing special. Fans might enjoy the little bit of extra content, and some of it does enlighten viewers of the movie. However, the extra content is sparse and most of the novel just reads as it played out on screen. Reading it is a time sink. Also the paperback I bought felt rather cheap – printed on flimsy paper. At twice the price of a movie ticket I was left unimpressed. My guess is that saving 20 dollars for the digital download or Blu-Ray version is more worthwhile in the long run.