Flatliners - Leonore Fleischer

I'm not an expert when it comes to novelizations (books based on movie scripts). In fact, I can count on one hand how many I've read: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, HOOK (which was written by the ever pleasant Terry Brooks), and INDEPENDENCE DAY. I will say that INDEPENDENCE DAY was fun, and gave the reader a better glimpse of Randy Quaid's eccentric character. I also remember how they changed the final battle, wherein he flies his crop duster with a bomb strapped to the underbelly into the alien ship's guts instead of the fighter jet he uses in the movie. Those are the novelizations I've enjoyed; the ones that expand upon or change details to make the literary venture a different experience. 


FLATLINERS: THE NOVEL is nothing like that. Truth be told, I liked the movie much more than this book. And I believe my enjoyment was squashed by the author the studio went with to pen the novelization. Leonore Fleischer comes from the school of old school horror, a time when adverbs ruled the day. If someone were to remove all the needless adverbs from this book, we'd lose around five thousand words. Yeah, it's that bad. 


I didn't get a good feel for the characters here, as most of the descriptions of said characters were nothing more than caricatures of the actors who played the roles in the film. I even believe the film did a better job with the back stories, which is rather odd, considering that's the whole reason you read a novelization; for the inner thoughts and unspoken pasts of the characters. This novelization is written in omniscient, which means there's godlike introspection and head-hopping, but it also means we don't get any real one-on-one time with the cast. And that's a very unfortunate thing indeed, especially in a story like this.


In summation: I never thought I'd say this but the movie is much better than the book, and I can't think of a single reason to read the novelization. FLATLINERS is a classic, and if you haven't seen it, you should remedy that foible posthaste.The film gets a solid five stars, but this book barely makes it into the realm of three stars. And it only gets that because the story is the same.