The Phantom Menace Novelization Review

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The first 2 chapters are all about Anakin Skywalker as a young slave boy on Tattooine.  These scenes could have really helped the film establish Anakin as the main character in this movie. In the 1st chapter, he wrecks Watto`s pod racer that he references later when he meets Qui-Gon and crew. In the second chapter, Anakin and his friends Kitster and Wald go to a place to get some kind of drink and meet an old Republic pilot who says that he saw Anakin driving his pod racer and was impressed. Anakin saw his first tusken raider ever just before we meet him in episode 1. He went to trade with jawas for Watto and found an unconscious tusken raider on a hill, and he tried to help him survive. The resolution of what happened with the Tusken Raider is never revealed, but it is a nice contrast with what Anakin did to the Tusken Raiders in Attack of the Clones.

Here are some nice little tid bits in the book that weren’t explained in the movie:

  • The author reveals that Anakin was named C-3PO because 3-PO was the 3rd family member in his family at the time between him and his mom.
  • Remember the scene in the movie where Obi Wan is running from the droid on the mini speeder just after they landed on Nabooo and Qui-Gon deflects the blaster bolt back into the droid? Well, Obi-Wan forgot to turn off the power on his lightsaber while he was in the swamp water causing it to malfunction.

Differences from the movie:

  • The deleted scene from the movie when the rodian fights Anakin thinking he cheated in the pod race is included in the book.
  • Anakin says goodbe to Kitster just before saying Goodbye to his mom and taking off from Tattooine.
  • I`m pretty sure there is a deleted scene in the movie where Qui-Gon destroys the sith probe droid that was following him, and that was included in the novel.
  • Darth Maul actually jumps onto the ramp to fight Qui-Gon before they escape in the Queen’s transport from Tattoine.
  • Darth Maul actually starts to throw things at Obi-Wan with the force in the final battle scene, which he did not in the movie.
  • Terry Brooks includes a nice little bit of Sith history after the scene when Darth Sidioius and Darth Maul are on the balcony in Coruscant. Darth Bane is mentioned as the sith lord who started the rule of 2. Since this book came out in 1999, this was before the Darth Bane trilogy of books had been released, which means this was the first ever appearance of Bane in the star wars universe.
  • Once Palpatine finishes his chat with Queen Amidala and she reveals that she is leaving Coruscant to go back to Naboo, Jar Jar notices out of the corner of his eye that Palpatine is evily grinning

Character Development:

  • Anakin Skywalker- He is established as the main character in the book, and has more of the story told from his perspective than in the movie. He has dreams about his mother the night before the Boonta Eve race. There is much conflict within Anakin about his mother. The love he has for Padme came across less creepy and more genuine.
  • Jar Jar Binks- He isn’t AS clumsy in the novel as he comes across in the movie. You really get the sense that he is just afraid of pretty much everything in the galaxy in the book.
  • Yoda- His reasoning for not wanting to train Anakin became clearer and more motivated than in the movie.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi- He was kind of a jerk in this book. He hated some of the things Qui-Gon did that distracted them from their missions. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan philosophical differences are really brought out in this as well. Obi-Wan really didn’t like Jar Jar Binks, but  I don’t  blame him.

The narrative style of the story is rather quick and simple. Brooks is not nearly as descriptive as other writers, but I actually liked that about it. Some writers go way too overboard with descriptions. The phrases “brow furrowed” and “out of the corner of his eye” and the word “gaze” we’re used about every other page. The chapter dedicated to the pod racing wasn’t nearly as good as the movie, but I can’t blame the author for that. It is impossible to convey what happened on screen into a page. Overall, I was never bored and the few extra things that were not in the movie were great additions.

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