I’m a great big slobbering fan of Quentin Tarantino’s films, so when I saw that he had released a “novelization” of his most recent film, “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood” I added it to my shopping list.
I greatly enjoyed reading this book, but one thing you need to know about it is that it is not the same story as the film. First of all, since it is a book there is a lot more of the story told from inside the heads of the characters. You see the world through their eyes and histories, rather than through your eyes and Tarantino’s camera. There are long expository sequences recounting the history of cinema and television, as regarded by different characters. These sequences inform the actions of the characters, but this exposition is not present in the film.
Actually, the book is edited so that the entire “point” of the story is different. If you utilize my theory that a well-crafted story ends on the point, then the end of the movie indicates that what Rick Dalton really wants to be is a real hero (like his friend Cliff Booth is), but the end of the book indicates that what Rick Dalton really wants to be is a real actor. This is a big difference.
Some of the Charlie Manson stuff from the movie is present in the book, but much of it has been edited out. Rick Dalton even makes some different choices in the book than he does in the movie, or at least that is what is implied. Anyway, the book is different than the film. I enjoyed both, but they are not exactly the same. I wonder if the book is the movie that Tarantino kind of wishes he could have released, but the movie is the movie that he knew he had to release to avoid bad reviews. Maybe Tarantino is just making fun of the way that novelizations are almost always different from the films.
The design of the book is really cool, mimicking the design of movie novelizations from the sixties. There are even ads for sixties books and movies in the back. I wish there was an ad for Red Apple cigarettes. I have so many old SF paperbacks with cigarette ads in them.
These three scroll blanks are traced from a frame captured from “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” a 2013 animated film Studio Ghibli. This film is beautiful, and has a large number of beautiful images in it.
This modern animated film is based on an anonymous 10th-century folk tale called “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. It follows the life of a mysterious baby girl who is found in a shining bamboo stump and raised to be a princess by a poor childless couple.
For almost a decade following its release, this was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced, possibly due to the art style that is based on the Yamato-e style of old Japanese illustrated scrolls (emaki). In 1999, director Takahata published a book called “From a Painting” in which he explored traditional Japanese art and its ties to his animation.
In this image, the devoted maidservants of the Princess ready her cart for travel.
This one, I think I laid the color on a bit heavy. It’s vibrant as heck, but you can’t tell that the maid’s gowns are four different colors.
This one’s a bit lighter, but still too heavy. I tried a different green on the cart, and embellished it with bamboo leaves the way it is in the film, though.
This one is so much lighter, and you can really see the different hues on the robes. I’m starting to get the hang of using really watery mixes of paint to wash color into the paper. The paper is super-absorbent, so you need a light touch to keep from creating blobs of color. Super happy with this one.
I liked it, overall. It is first and foremost definitely a Star Wars movie. It failed to do some things I was hoping it would do, but it also declined to do some things I was hoping it would not do, so I guess that’s a wash. It did do some things I was not expecting it to do, but that I am glad it did, so that’s a net positive. I suppose that I am most impressed with the way that it resolved some things that had to be resolved, but left open some things that were more important to leave open. Well done, Mr. Abrams. There are still plenty of people who aren’t going to like this on its own, and people who aren’t going to like it as the finale to a 9 film series, but I think it’s good.