Friday, December 26, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: December 2014

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: The Empire Strikes Back
Author: Donald F. Gult
via Wookieepedia
When asked for my favorite movie, I generally dodge the question by saying I have three: The Empire Strikes Back, The Philadelphia Story and The Usual Suspects.  But for as much as I prefer the latter two on an intellectual level, my heart shall always belong to Empire.  I was a big fan of fantasy and science fiction from a young age and the galaxy far, far away has long been the most potent mythology in filtering my worldview.  The first Star Wars film is a genuine classic but the second is the reason why the franchise is what it has become.  With the introductions of the diametrically opposed Yoda and Emperor Palpatine, the battle between the forces of good and evil was clearly outlined.  And with the ending twist, one of the greatest in all of cinema, my concept of villain was chucked out the Cloud City's exhaust vent.

Obviously, it's easy to enjoy a book when I already have a deep affection for the story.  Reading the novelization offers new perspectives on an old friend.  For the most part, the book is very close to the movie but there are subtle differences in details.  Yoda is blue in the book whereas he's green in the movie.  Darth Vader's light saber is also a different color: blue instead of what would become standard Sith red.  The dialogue is not always identical either.  For instance, the classic exchange between Han and Leia as he's descending into the carbon freeze chamber - "I love you." "I know." - is absent from the book.

More significant are the qualitative contrasts in the portrayal of the characters emotional states - clearly spelled out in the book but conveyed differently on screen.  In particular, the budding romance between Han and Leia is more thoroughly developed and, if anything, more tender in the novelization.  

The book is no substitute for the movie but I imagine it would be enjoyable for most fans of the franchise. 

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post January's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is January 30th.


30 comments:

  1. Although I read the book back during middle school, I doubt I'll ever pick it up again. I'd forgotten that Yoda was blue.
    And the classic exchange between Han and Leia isn't in the book because what occurred in the movie was never scripted. Harrison Ford came up with that simple exchange because Fisher, after many takes, wasn't able to deliver the lines as written.

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    1. Harrison Ford had other great ad libs. His "boring conversation anyway" line in A New Hope was unscripted, too.

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  2. Sorry I can't join in this month due to work load and family commitments. Will pop back later and see other reviews when things return to normal.

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  3. It's been a long time since I read it, and I really have actual memories from the adaptations of the other two. At some point I'll read all of them again.

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    1. I think a re-read is unlikely for me but one never knows.

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  4. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I so enjoy these behind the movie/book reviews.
    Star Wars will always be a favorite for me right behind Gojira.

    cheers, parsnip

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  6. A blue Yoda! That's just crazy talk.

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  7. I think that movie is that best of that bunch. A lot of great moments.

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  8. Those are excellent movie choices.

    Love,
    Janie

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  9. Deeper romance between Leia and Han? You've sold me!
    Veronica

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    1. It's fairly tame by your standards, I expect. Still, it's interesting. I wonder what it says about the book-reading public as opposed to the movie audience.

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  10. It is hard to imagine a blue Yoda! I have never read the book, but I have seen and loved the movie. I should definitely out the book. Thanks!
    ~Jess

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    1. It's no substitute for the film but it's fun.

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  11. I didn't know about the Star Wars books.

    I seriously have to see the movies. I haven't seen any of them yet.

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    1. Now, that's just crazy! Go watch episodes 4-6 right now, then maybe #3. You can skip the other two.

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  12. I have a hard time reading novelizations of movies...that being said, I'm now kind-of intrigued. I think this will be a good jumping back in point to return to the blogging world! Count me in!

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    1. We'd be delighted to have you join us, Heather!

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  13. Sounds like a good read - I've never read any novelizations of these movies. Though I think it would be weird to read about a blue Yoda. ;)

    Sorry I missed the book club - I've posted belatedly! ;)

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    1. No worries. I wasn't even able to make the rounds until today. Always glad to have you join us, Trisha!

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  14. I don't get why Yoda would be blue instead of green. I guess maybe it was written before the movie version was set in stone?

    I have a soft spot for Return of the Jedi too. It was the only original Star Wars movie I saw in the theater, and I guess the Ewoks were created specifically for 6 year old me to adore.

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    1. I thought the Ewoks were cute, too. Jedi does a nice job of tying up the loose ends from Empire.

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  15. Sorry I missed this one, Squidifer! On the road...

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    1. No worries. I didn't even get to make the rounds until today.

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