I am a massive Star Wars fan, and in many cases it is often difficult for me to decide whether I enjoy the films or books more. Admittedly most of my love for the books comes from the Jude Watson’s middle grade books set before the events of the Phantom Menace, The Jedi Apprentice series, but when it comes to the novelisation of the films I am completely hooked.
I first read the Terry Brooks novelisation after I had read Brooks’ autobiography, and after the chaos he went through writing the novelisation for Hook, I am so grateful that he took the risk of writing The Phantom Menace, because the book is honestly brilliant. I know a lot of people don’t like the film, but as I state in my own review of the film, I do like the film, Jar Jar Binks doesn’t annoy me and Anakin’s character as a precocious child does make sense to me.
I’m quite willing to be alone in my opinions on the film, but I will say to detractors ‘have you read the novelisation?’. The reason I ask is because Terry Brooks did an absolutely fantastic job. You understand all of the characters better, there are scenes included that aren’t in the films and the tone of the book overall is a more serious ‘Star Wars’ story.
There are lots of people who hate watching films being adapted into films because you have to miss so much out, well let me tell you this, reading the novelisation of a film has the opposite effect, because the author has the free reign to add more in, to go deeper into the psyche of the characters than a screen can show you and there can be clearer explanation of plot points.
If you are a detractor of the film then I highly recommend the book by Terry Brooks, because you might be pleasantly surprised by how good a story the Phantom Menace is, and how great a starting point it is for Anakin’s story. If you’re like me and you don’t mind the film, then the novelisation with give you even more depth to explore.