Batman by Craig Shaw Gardner
Book Report by Vincent
Fans of Robot’s Pajamas will know that I love the 1989 Batman film like life itself (check out some nifty toy commercials here). You can understand then that I was incredibly excited to find the novelization. While some of you could probably have predicted this, it wasn’t a very good read.
The first thing you should know about the 1989 Batman book adaptation is that it’s an almost word for word translation of what happens on screen. Yes, movie novelizations are supposed to reflect the movie, but this sucker is not very long. While there are some scenes that expand on the events of the movie, there’s not many. The biggest difference between film and book is a major departure. Bruce Wayne doesn’t use a serving tray to block a bullet in Viki Vale’s apartment, instead the bullet hits something on his utility belt he’s keeping in a bag. He then follows the Joker’s escaping van, gets into a car with Alfred to put on his costume, and then has a bit of a showdown with the Joker at Gothem’s bicentenial parade. The Joker ends up escaping on a rocket powered statue of himself. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds and it’s no wonder why it never made it into the film, the cost alone would have been enormous for this elaborate sequence, not to mention how stupid it would have looked to see the Joker flying away on a Joker rocket statue.
There are a few other extra bits that help explain things a bit better and make it worth reading for the die-hard ’89 Batman fan. Why weren’t there any cops stopping the Joker’s parade? Most of them were taken out by poison coffee!
Now I don’t want any hurt feelings here and I can’t really judge author Craig Shaw Gardner’s abilities based on one book, but the writing really didn’t jive for me on this one. The times where the focus was put on Joker were really… terrible. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it just didn’t work for me. But what do I know? For another opinion you can go here and see a guy who loves this friggen thing.
Overall, the 1989 Batman tie-in novelization is really only worth reading for die-hard fans of the ’89 film. Like me. If you can find it at a thrift store, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did, so if you do end up reading this sucker, I want to hear what you think.