Sunday, July 21, 2002

Review: "The Star Wars Trilogy: The 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition"

Being the "Star Wars" fanatic that I am, most people will probably find it surprising that I've never read the novelizations of the first three films. But a couple of weeks ago, a package that I couldn't resist hit the shelves.

"The Star Wars Trilogy: The 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition" ($25.95, Del Rey) pulls together the first three novels of the saga in one hardcover volume.

From the arrival of R2D2 at the moisture farm on Tattooine with his message from Princess Leia, to the final reconcilation between Luke and Anakin, it's all in this one volume - Yoda, Jabba, Ewoks and all.

If you're one of the few people in the world who is not familiar with "Star Wars," I'd probably recommend seeing the movies first. This is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book.

These books seem to be written directly from the original scripts, and therefore aren't quite as interesting as the big-name author novelizations of "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." You won't find many extra details or deeper story development in these volumes. It's pretty much a straight, blow-by-blow report of the movies.

That being said, it's still something that I'd recommend to any "Star Wars" fan. It's a nice package and certainly a big piece of "Star Wars" history.

The novelizations of the three films, written by George Lucas, Donald Glut and James Kahn, respectively, improve as the story moves along.

Lucas' "A New Hope" and Glut's "Empire Strikes Back" read much like the movie script. There is some nice background information that the films didn't have, but beyond that, they're a solid retelling of the story and not much more.

While many people consider "Return of the Jedi" the weakest installment of the first three films, it's the strongest in this case. Kahn spins a bit more of a tale than Lucas or Glut. It still sticks with the script, of course, but it moves a little more smoothly and is more entertaining.

How much you'll like this volume depends largely on what you expect out of it. If you want something that sheds new light on the first three "Star Wars" films, you'll probably be disappointed. If you want to experience the movies in a slightly different way, then you'll likely enjoy it.

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