The 2014 movie "Amazing Spider-Man 2" (Rise of Electro) was a pretty average film. Despite some great actors and superb CGI work, the script featured far too much crying and not enough intelligence.
But things can always get worse, as we're about to find out.
This "Movie Storybook" (hardback, 7.3" x 10.3" 112 glossy full-color pages) contains a complete retelling of the movie's plot – but without any humour, action, depth, pathos, or characterisation.
I mean that most sincerely. Every single one of the film's redeeming qualities has been stripped out from this illustrated kids' storybook, leaving a superficially colorful disaster which fails spectacularly and simultaneously on both levels.
Firstly, the movie's visual elements are discarded. Instead of still-frames from the film, this book features clunky, static, amateurish illustrations. What was the point of that? They just spent four years creating Spider-Man images on very expensive computers. Why would you not put them in the book?
Secondly, the text is just awful. It's embarrassing. The writer has faithfully stepped through every scene in the film and effectively annotated. This is what happens in this scene. This is what people did. This is what they said. This is what they meant. This is how they felt. It's terrible. But the fault is not really with the writer – the fault is with the entire concept.
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."
Anton Chekhov knew his stuff. But even he might have struggled with this particular creative endeavor!
Job Description: Here is a 90 second scene from an action movie. Now write three paragraphs explaining to an eight year old exactly what happened in this scene. Repeat 60 times.
It's just not feasible. Any writer with a reputation to defend would tell you to take your job and shove it. But sadly, any aspiring writer without a Man Booker to their name would look at the paycheck and reach for their keyboard with a despondent sigh, knowing the entire mission was a hiding to nothing but doing it regardless.
So who is the market for this book? Completists like myself? Attractive gifts for children from relatives who buy the book based on the cover, weight and price tag without opening the pages? Children who love Spider-Man but can't afford a DVD player or the price of movie popcorn?
Instead of this fiasco, why didn't they just print a book containing high-quality stills from the film, with short captions. It would have been cheaper, a heck of a lot more attractive, and would have retained a shred of dignity.
This product was a doomed concept from conception to printing. Beautiful printing and packaging serve only to throw the disappointing content into sharper relief.
KA-PLOW!!! WHAM!!! CRACK!!!