While the kaiju genre is on the rise in films, it has also been on the rise in other mediums such as books, comics, and manga. Basically any medium where reading is required. But what about books based on the movies? When I say books based on the movies, I am talking about the books that act as prequels or sequels to those films. While movie studios such as Legendary Pictures and TOHO Co. are taking full advantage of this medium to coincide with the Godzilla, Pacific Rim, and King Kong franchises book after book it makes me question if they are actually worth reading.
There are books that were released that I did like. I liked Godzilla Awakening (the prequel to the 2014 Godzilla) and Skull Island: The Birth Of Kong (the sequel to 2017's Kong: Skull Island) which both of them tell the story of Godzilla's and Kong's origins. While interesting, they don't add anything to the story of the movies that the books are based on. We already know that Godzilla came from an age before the dinosaurs or that Kong is the last of his kind and that he is still growing. It was already explained in the films. Also, it seems as though these books become irrelevant or forgotten about over time. In last year's San Diego Comic Con, Legendary Pictures were doing some marketing for Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island where they made a timeline of events that took place in the Monsterverse series. While I noticed that one book was referenced in the timeline (Skull Island: The Birth Of Kong) the other book (Godzilla Awakening) was not referenced anywhere. So it begs the question if that book is no longer relevant or perhaps forgotten. How long until the skull island book becomes irrelevant to the series?
Then there are the books that have information that should have been in the movies. I am talking about the book Pacific Rim Uprising: Ascension (the sequel to Pacific Rim and prequel to Pacific Rim Uprising). The movie, Pacific Rim Uprising, had problems with character development and story telling. The book, however, had more information that the movie didn't provide, but here is the problem. Shouldn't that info be in the movie instead of the books? Would it make sense if the audience knew that information while watching the movies instead of having to read it from a book that very few people are going to read? While the book itself was boring to read, it had some important info and backstory of characters in the movie that should have been shared in the first place. You may as well look up the characters on the movie's wiki if you really want to know more about Scott Eastwood's character or any of the other smaller characters that were in Pacific Rim Uprising. I'm conflicted between wanting to like this series because I love the first movie and can't like something unless I read the movie's prequel/sequel book that basically dumps everything on your lap! Why not just tell it in the movie instead of forcing your viewers to read something that shouldn't have to be read in the first place?! To me this is just one big cop-out so the writers, directors, and producers don't have to retell it again. If you want to read an actual good book go read A Monster Calls.
Last, but not least, there are the books that I want to read and can't due to the language barrier. Godzilla: Monster Apocalypse is Godzilla: Monster Planet's prequel novel, which tells of all of the events that happened before the movie. One problem I had with the animated movie that I mentioned in my review was that it didn't feel like it was a part 1 of this trilogy and that instead felt more like a part 2. Here comes this novel that basically explains everything as well as have a HUGE list of classic monsters and it's in Japanese only. Would it make sense to release a translated version of the novel for those that do want to read it? Also, with part 2 coming out soon in Japan (officially titled Godzilla: City On The Edge Of Battle) the novel got a sequel as well called Godzilla: Project MechaGodzilla. So again, we are not going to see this book translated anytime soon and a lot of Godzilla fans (unless you're fluent in Japanese) are not going to be able to read it. To be honest, we may never see a translated version of these novels at all unless it is announced that the novels will be a collectors item that is packaged with the DVD/Blu-Ray releases. Lastly, it goes back to the previous paragraph. Why read about it when it should have been in the movie in the first place? Here is a better idea. How about making Godzilla: Monster Apocalypse the actual part 1 of this movie trilogy instead of Godzilla: Monster Planet? It already sets up a premise that could also allow some character development for the main characters of the movie so they can be more relatable and likeable. Just a thought.
So are books based on movies relevant? In my opinion, they are not relevant. No matter how much info or how much we want to read them despite the language barrier, in the future these books will become irrelevant and forgotten because of how horrible movie studios try to extend these movies' stories through books that nobody would really want to read. Quite frankly, I should not have to read a book just so I can understand a movie better. Everything in the books should have been in the movies. If I have to read a whole book just to understand some characters in a movie that are just thrown to the side afterwards or story elements that was never fully explained in full detail in the movie, then that is just poor story telling on the studio's part.
What are your thoughts on prequel/sequel books? Do you enjoy them or do you find them pointless? Leave a comment in the comment section and make sure to share with your friends. If you're new and want to stay up to date, make sure to bookmark or subscribe to my page so you don't have to miss any future discussions, news, and reviews.