"Godzilla - The Official Movie Novelization" Book Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
Published by Titan Books
Written by Greg Cox
2014, 304 pages, Fiction
Released on May 20th, 2014
Godzilla has been my favorite movie experience thus far this year. A little background before we get started. I became a fan of the great green giant the first time I caught his act on the Creature Double Feature, a Philadelphia area Saturday morning collection of low-budget sci-fi and heavily edited horror movies. I remember the first one I saw too. It was Godzilla on Monster Island (aka Godzilla vs Gigan) and it was love at first sight. I've seen every Godzilla movie made and have instilled a similar love in my children.
So, when I was offered the chance to read the novelization, I jumped on it with both feet. I'm happy to say that author Greg Cox captures almost everything great about the movie in a more portable version. Godzilla is well written, compelling, and heartfelt. There's very little derivation from the screen to print besides some expository backstory here and there, and this makes me happy. Not as happy and school-kid-giddy as the movie, but happy nonetheless.
The one thing the book doesn't capture as well is the heart of the movie. There's a certain magic to the iconic Godzilla roar that just does not translate to the written word. Likewise, the moment where Godzilla's atomic breath starts to make his tail and back plates glow is lost on paper. This was the moment in the theater where my nine-year-old son exclaimed loudly, "YES!!" The same child made no such exclamations while reading the book. So, there's a little of the magic lost in translation here, but that's me being nitpicky and wanting the same experience out of reading the book as I did watching the big guy stomp the holy hell out of San Francisco. It's not a fair expectation. The build up to the fights are there. The action is lovingly transcribed, it's exciting and dynamic and exactly how it happens on screen, but it just doesn't have the same impact. I like it. I will gladly recommend it to others to read. I just am not as head over heels happy about it.
Unrealistic expectations aside, Cox delivers a tense but terse tome as easily digested as MUTO snacking on a nuclear missile. All 304 pages fly by in a flurry of fun fictional catastrophe. The human side of the movie is actually better served by the written word, as the characters seem to have more presence and breadth of care than can be given in their screen time. All in all, this balances well as a counterpart to the screen experience. It's best to take in both to get the full package of emotion and action. Godzilla was a fun distraction while I wait for the Blu-ray to release.