I consider Darren Aronofsky my all time favorite director. I love his style, his dramatic approach, and to me he is basically an amazing storyteller. Visually, he captures movies like masterpieces of art. When his latest film Noah was released, needless to say I was excited.
So when Titan Books released the novelization of the book (based on the screenplay by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel), I was interested and skeptical at the same time. Films hardly ever match their book counterparts in quality… but those are movies based on books. So what happens when the book is based on the film? And more importantly, how will it fair when the film is from such a great director, who has already established a reputation for the visual, the epic and the dramatic? Good luck, Mr. Author… good luck.
I went into this not expecting much, but to my pleasant surprise, the author Mark Morris not only captures the same atmosphere of the film, but somehow adapts the imagery almost to the dot.
Lets gets something straight… I read a lot. Being visual in “writing” isn’t just about words. Stephen King has a way of visualizing a scene with few and simple descriptions; Robert Jordan can put you in a room and spend 4 pages with you, till you can see the threads of the curtain. The point is, it’s not about what words are used, or how many… it’s about “how” they are used.
On this regard, Morris is actually a good writer. I never found myself bored, distracted, nor frustrated with his writing – and that’s an accomplishment in itself, considering the amount of books I have read from authors that just don’t have this talent. He reaches a middle ground between simplicity and descriptiveness that keeps the pages turning and the story flowing. And despite knowing everything from having watched the film, I kept waiting for some free time to take down some more pages.
An important note here is that, to my knowledge, the author Mark Morris worked off the screenplay of the film, not the actual movie. So, technically, there was no vision on screen he worked off. He was not describing a shot from the movie… he was describing and even vaguer description from the script; if you’re not familiar with screenplays, you should be aware that they are basic and simple in their descriptions of scenes and emotions/thoughts. Covering mostly actions and dialogue, it is the director who puts the image to the story.
This lack of image was something Morris had to fill in on his own to write the novelization. And this is where the impressive comes in, as the scenes are eerily close to the film. Both with the character development and emotions, and the visual scenery. And best of all, Morris manages to keep the feeling and the drama in the story, which is what keeps the reader going. As mentioned before, I knew the story, yet somehow, I felt the need to keep reading… to get to the next scene and relive it (as I did when I watched the film).
All in all, as a novelization, I would give Mark Morris a couple thumbs up. I think if I ever decided to read another novelization of a film, I would hope its from him, or at least judge it to these standards. I would be interested in reading something original from the author and see how he does on that aspect. I would also be interested in reading one of his novelizations before watching the film, and see if the imagery and feeling of the story still holds true the other way around.
Titan Books have definitely become the go-to company when it comes to media-oriented publications. A previous review, some graphic novels based on the Dead Space series, were awesome; and Noah is now another great example that they know who to work with, in order to bring something to life in print. Time to get online and see what other story/universe Titan Books has to offer and expand on! If you want your own copy of the book, check out the Titan Books page HERE.
And as far as the actual film goes, if you haven’t seen it by now, do so… a great adaption of an epic story.