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.