William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

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William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

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Category: Humour
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A retelling of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace in Shakespearean prose, William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Phantom of Menace does far more than you may expect. Ingeniously clever, with brilliant jokes and references, and a new depth added to certain characters who did not fare so well in the original film. A great read for fans of both Star Wars, and Shakespeare…
Buy? YES Borrow? YES
Pages: 176 Date: April 2015
Publisher: Quirk Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781594748066

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Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars Episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. 'Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies and doomed romance…all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with gorgeous illustrations. Hold on to your midichlorians: The play's the thing, wherein you'll catch the rise of Anakin!

First things first – I am a big Star Wars fan. My name is Luke, and I have had I am your Father jokes since I was a small child, so it is testament to the wonder of the original Star Wars trilogy that I didn't end up hating it. I had a very full on addiction from the ages of six to eighteen, and this has only lessened slightly in recent years. So you may well be expecting me to dislike this book, given that it is based on Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, a film that was almost universally disliked by fans, due to its slightly dull plot about trade federations, and a character who, whilst mainly created in order to sell merchandise, angered many with his irritating presence and the unpleasant racial generalisations his character presented. In truth, I am not one of those who hate The Phantom Menace. I was 11 when it was released, and, already a huge Star Wars fan, I absolutely adored it. I will admit that recent viewings have left me less excited, and I do appreciate that when one takes away the lightsaber battles and space fights, the plot is certainly lacking - but I really don't think The Phantom Menace was quite as awful as often made out.

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace is a continuation of Ian Doeschers work – he has already recreated the original Star Wars trilogy into Shakespearean prose, and adaptations of films two and three will be released later in 2015. Whilst initially appealing as a joke gift, these really are incredibly clever books, Doescher providing much more than just laughs and antiquated language. Whilst the original three books stayed very close to both the story and characterisations of the original trilogy (and frankly, why would you alter perfection?), there is more room for improvement when it comes to the original trilogy. With Episode One, Doescher really lets loose, and alters several components of the story for the better. The main being Jar-Jar Binks, who is turned from a bumbling idiot into a wise fool – one who is working for the good of his people, and who is a great deal cleverer than everybody believes. The change makes him a very Shakespearean character indeed, and is a wonderfully clever change. In addition, Doescher manages to make Anakin Skywalker likeable – which certainly wasn't something that happened in the original film.

A pod race is conveyed in ingenious manner – with Fode and Beed a particular highlight. Mace Windu peppers his speech with clever references relating to Samuel L Jackson's previous roles, and Darth Maul is allowed to speak more than the few words he did in the film. The addition of both the Chorus and Rumour figures help explain things far better than the film did –the political wrangling surrounding the Trade federation and the Republic is clearer to me know than it ever was before.

A read far cleverer than first impressions may suggest, this is a brilliant short read, filled with witticisms and references for fans of Star Wars and Shakespeare alike. I can't wait for the next two in this series – and sincerely hope that Doescher will be tasked with writing the upcoming films in the Star Wars series too. For further reading I'd recommend Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown – another book set in the Star Wars Universe, that, whilst aimed at younger readers, is filled with wit and references that an older reader will still enjoy.

Buy William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher at Amazon.co.uk


Buy William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher at Amazon.com.

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