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Mediocre novelization combined with a bland reading equals a poor listening experience
on January 10, 2013
To be clear, this is a review of the audiobook of James Rollins' novelization of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Also to be clear, I should say at the outset that I really like the film, which I found to be a fun, engaging yarn. (Not perfect, mind you, but very entertaining.)
Rollins fails to convey much of the fun of the film in his text. He also appears to be saddled with a lot of material that may have been cut from the movie (if it was shot at all) and that drags things down. There are a lot of "humorous" bits that feel awkward and *may* have worked on screen, but certainly don't on the printed page. There is a great deal of backstory added for the main villain, Irina Spalko, and while I know some fans crave that sort of thing, the film didn't need it, so I don't need it now. It has the effect of taking what is a rollicking adventure and making it plod along too much.
None of this would matter if the audio presentation was more substantial. I guess I've gotten used to the Star Wars audiobooks, but not hearing the Indiana Jones theme at the beginning got me off on the wrong foot immediately. Not only that, there is *no* audio production on this at all. There's no music, no effects, no voice distortion or anything like that. I prefer audiobooks that are real *productions* and this one isn't.
Reader L.J. Ganser's vocal choices are also unfortunate. His Indy is...passable, but he gives Mac (who speaks with a lower class English accent in the film) an erudite air that doesn't fit the character at all. I can't blame him for not knowing what the character would sound like in the film, but the way he talks (very rough) should have told him *that* voice was wrong.
So, a disappointment overall. I would have liked to have seen more effort put into making this one shine like even the lousiest of Star Wars audiobooks do, but a so-so book read without gusto and no production backing it means this one is for the completists only.