It is a shame that by plowing through some of the most vital parts of the story, Godzilla vs Kong doesn’t reach its full potential
ONE WILL FALL in Godzilla vs Kong. But can Greg Keyes’ Official Novelization truly sum up this clash of the titans?
The film is holding the top spot at the U.S box office at present. In other countries, it is being viewed on PVOD at a good rate. And the merchandise and tie-in material are currently in stores and available online. So, of course, a novel of the film has hit bookshelves. Author Greg Keyes has been retained to write this novelization of the new movie. Keyes wrote the novel for the previous film ‘Godzilla: King Of The Monsters‘. And this new novel follows the same writing style.
Greg Keyes is no novice to writing tie-in novels for various movies. His book for ‘Interstellar’ was quite enjoyable. His ‘Marvel’s Avengers: The Extinction Key‘ was a fantastic read. And his expanded novels of the new ‘Planet Of The Apes‘ films and his ‘Independence Day: Crucible‘ novel was much better than the ‘Independence Day: Resurgence‘ film itself. However, I had a problem with his ‘King Of The Monsters‘ novelization. To me, it felt a little too rushed, flying through the story and events without pausing for breath. It didn’t hook me like it should have done.
GODZILLA VS KONG: THE OFFICIAL MOVIE NOVELIZATION | TITAN BOOKS
This time around, Keyes manages to redeem himself somewhat. Keyes has made the story and events pacing much better. Characterization, so vital in any novel is present in spades here. You would expect that the book with these firmly entrenched within the text would be immune to criticism. And here-in lies the problem. While adjusting the shortcomings of his previous dive into the ‘Monsterverse’, he repeats the mistake. Keyes spends so much time building and wonderfully explaining the build-up to events, the description of the action is lacking. The main selling point is rushed through once again.
The build-up takes up page after page setting up the action which is seen on screen and pictured in the reader’s mind. But when it gets to the action scenes, the novel rushes through them in a little over three pages. The big climax is given a little more attention to detail but once again, the action and big reveal are rushed through on their way to the resolution. And that alone undermines what should have been a fantastic book to read.
The book follows the events of the film fairly faithfully. Kong is housed in a dome that is artificially created to study him. He is unaware that he is no longer free on Skull Island. His best friend is a young deaf girl named Jia who communicates with him via sign language. Bernie Hayes, an employee of Apex Cybernetics extracts data from the facility he works at in Pensacola. He hosts his own Titan conspiracy theory podcast and intends to use what he finds on his podcast. But while he is there, he discovers a huge device inside the building. Godzilla suddenly attacks the facility, apparently for no reason.
Madison Russell, a fan of Bernie’s podcast and survivor of Godzilla’s battle against King Ghidorah in Boston enlists her friend Josh to investigate Godzilla’s attack. CEO of Apex, Walter Simmons recruits a former Monarch Scientist Nathan Lind to search for a power source in the Hollow Earth. Lind, who has lost his brother while investigating the theory of hollow earth is at first reluctant but relents when Simmons reveals Apex has developed HEAVs. These are specialized crafts designed to withstand the pressure exerted by the gravity field in the hollow earth.
Convincing his old friend Llene Andrews, who has been studying Kong to allow the Eighth Wonder of The World to guide them through the hollow earth via an outpost in Antarctica; Lind, Andrews, Jia, and a sedated Kong make their way towards the entrance. Kong is being transported to Antarctica on a modified barge being escorted by the U.S Navy. However, while en route, Godzilla decides to attack the convoy and in particular, Kong himself. A creature who was considered mankind’s protector quickly becomes their greatest enemy and threat. And the race is now on to discover why Godzilla has turned. And for Kong to discover his true home, preparing to take on Godzilla once again.
The book is a decent little timewaster to be completely honest. It won’t win any awards but it keeps the reader’s attention and makes for an enjoyable read. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that the book was longer than it is and was edited down to create a novel of the standard length of just over 300 pages. It seems as if these new tie-in novels have a mandate to be either 300 pages or less or just slightly over. And that is a shame. If this is true, then it ruins what could be a longer, more in-depth read.
As it is, the novel is a worthy read and does make for a rollercoaster ride at times. Keyes’ descriptive prowess comes through and he does indeed throw in some delightful insights into not only the human characters but the Titans too. And that is what makes the book as enjoyable as it is. While rushing what should have been the most fascinating and most enjoyable parts of the film translated onto the page, the book still shines. It is certainly not a shameless cash grab unlike so many other novels of its ilk. It is just a shame that by plowing through some of the most vital parts of the story, the book doesn’t reach its full potential.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!