Audio : Spider-Man 3: Movie Tie-In Sound Book

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Once upon a time these play-a-sound books were a true rarity. These days it's a mandatory requirement for one to turn up in time for the Spider-Man movie season every couple of years. This one is no exception, it's named "Spider-Man 3" and doesn't even have any other moniker to distinguish it.

It's actually created by Meredith Books, who have been producing a bunch of other books for the past two or three years. Try a search for "Meredith" on our Comics Page to find more books by these guys.

In Detail...

Spider-Man 3: Movie Tie-In Sound Book
Apr 2007 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0696234092
Publisher:  Meredith Books
Writer:  Brandon T. Snider
Illustrator:  Loston Wallace
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Review

This follows the standard play-a-sound layout, with a panel of sound buttons on the right hand side (16 buttons this time). The overall thing is 11.5" x 12" with a hardback front and back. The book part is just over 8.5" wide, and features about 20 pages of story. That's US$16 worth of book according to the sticker price.

The story follows the movie - minus Venom, and most of the interesting details. Typical text for a page: The police (x) arrive, lead by Captain Stacy. "You just saved my daughter, Spider-Man," (x) Captain Stacy says. "This calls for a celebration! I hereby declare tomorrow to be Spider-Man Day!" Close by, Sandman (x) watches and plans from the shadows. Perfect! Tomorrow I'll show this city just what I'm made of, the villain thinks.

The (x) mark sound effects, where you're supposed to push the indicated button.

The story is rather disjointed, and in many cases directly opposes the events of the actual movie. For example:

  1. Eddie Brock turns up in JJJ's office, and Peter is fired - but then nothing more is said, Eddie never appears either as himself or Venom. At the end of the story, Peter is still left presumably unemployed.
  2. The Sandman is a villain through and through, determined just to be bad, with no goal or motive in mind at all. In the end, he is defeated by a giant hose pipe and washed down a drain.
  3. Harry is first off-hand with Peter, then tries to kill him, then comes to rescue him, with no explanation of the switches.
  4. Mary Jane appears on Broadway, but no mention is made of the success or failure of her role. Peter says that "tonight is MJ's night", but then goes to visit Aunt May and is later attacked by the New Goblin. Some night that turned out to be for MJ!

In General...

As you've seen, the story bears no relation really to the movie, despite attempting to use the same characters. It introduces a bunch of elements, and then fails to do anything with half of them. Why even mention that Peter went to visit his Aunt May? She doesn't appear in the pictures or the sounds, and adds nothing to the story.

The sixteen sounds themselves are remarkably same-ish. Five or six of them are nothing more than a rushing sort of "whoosh" noise, almost identical to each other. Mary Jane sounds like a ten year old from a Charlie Brown cartoon. Jonah's SFX is "Get In Here Parker!" Well, given that his line is actually "Now get out of my office!" that really makes no sense at all.

Combine a bunch of bland special effects with an inane story, and you get nothing but a sad and sorry little muddle of a book. I can't imagine how anybody working on such a cool project as this could have such a lack of pride in their job. Clearly it was just another day at the office. I can see why they didn't even bother to give the story a name.

Overall Rating...

One and a half webs. There's just something utterly cool about the whole concept that makes me reluctant to drop the rating much lower. But really, this is a pretty shonky effort.