Often times when movies are based on popular books, what’s on screen doesn’t live up to what first appeared on the pages. Stories are altered to fit into the allotted time and the vision the reader had in mind doesn’t always mesh with the producers’ interpretation of the book.
But what if a book served as a companion to the movie, instead of an alternate version? That is what you get with “The Dark Knight Rises,” Greg Cox’s novelization of the Warner Bros. Pictures film directed by Christopher Nolan.
While the third movie in the most recent Batman trilogy is based on a classic comic-book character, so many adaptations have been made that no one is really calling out Nolan for not getting every detail right. That’s
because he has made the franchise his own — this is his version of Gotham City, as are the heroes and villains who occupy it.
That’s why this book works. Instead of trying to put his own spin on what Bane would attempt to do to terrorize an entire city, Cox instead enhances the scenes that played out in the movie.
In 413 pages, Cox does as great of a job showcasing literary wonders as Nolan did visually. The emotions described in the novel bring new layers to the characters in much of the same way that aerial shots of city-wide destruction on film somehow manage to be both terrifying and beautiful.
And if 400 plus pages seems daunting, it’s because it is. But it’s rewarding, much like the nearly three-hour movie currently holding the top spot at the box office.
About a month ago, I wrote here about the marathon showing of all three of Nolan’s Batman films at The Rave in Montgomery. When I walked out of the theater at about 3 a.m., I was more than pleased with the movie, but did feel it was a bit long and overly-detailed.
After seeing the movie for a second time this weekend (in IMAX, which I would highly recommend), I’ve come to the conclusion that the fatigue I felt from the marathon clouded my judgment. Yes, it is long, but I found myself not wanting the movie to end. And all those details were greatly appreciated now that I had a clearer head to focus on them all.
What I liked about the book is that it helped with those details. It moves fast and gives the story time to breathe.
So while the book doesn’t serve as an addition — it doesn’t really answer any burning questions you may have about the movie — it does help clarify a few things.
For example, the opening airplane sequence moves swiftly and was a bit hard to follow (though that may have been due to my fatigue). That act in the book spreads over 16 pages and fleshes out multiple viewpoints, providing a couple different perspectives.
It’s just one example of how the book enhances the movie. So if you couldn’t get enough of Batman in theaters, check out the novel and get lost in the world of the Dark Knight all over again.