Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stardust Theatrical Reminiscence

Stardust was the second book by Neil Gaiman that I read. It's probably not his most well known piece, people tending to favor his more popular works from American Gods to The Sandman. Stardust is kind of somewhere inbetween with fairies and stars fallen to earth. And the truth is, I can see why people just aren't as engaged with it because I spent the entire afternoon one dark and dreary December 31st trying to finish it so that I could start the new year with a fresh new book, something miles away from Stardust. I couldn't bear the thought of having this book hanging over me at the start of another year. Yet I'm not here to talk about my dissatisfaction with the book, I'm here to talk about the movie that came out over two years later in the summer of 2007. Because I had disliked the book so thoroughly I oddly had no expectations of the movie. I literally was just excited to see so many British actors I loved from television on the big screen, from Henry Cavill to Nathaniel Parker, Jason Flemyng to Mark Heap, and especially Julian Rhind-Tutt to Mark Williams! Also, never forget Ricky Gervais is in this movie fresh off the success of Extras.

My friends thought I might have been a little too excited, I got lots of the "yes yes of course we'll see it" responses with the underlying message being "will you be quiet about it if we agree to go?" It came out the weekend before my birthday and it really was an early gift, despite the grumbling company.  

Stardust is literally one of my favorite movies. A stellar cast, a wonderful love story, magic, humor, a flying ship, oh, and the realization that I actually like Mark Strong. The movie captures that same ephemeral quality that is in The Princess Bride that you can't quite capture if you set out to replicate it. Just look to Neil's own flop MirrorMask which was deliberately meant to be Labyrinth for a new generation. MirrorMask is best forgotten, unlike Stardust. Stardust showed me that you really never can tell about books and their adaptations. They just might surprise you. Just as a great book can make a horrible movie, so can a mediocre book make a fabulous movie. Preconceptions get us nowhere and if we leave them at the door we might be surprised. Though I do think it's time for me to give the book another chance. I've only journeyed back to Wall in the delightful short story that Susanna Clarke set in Gaiman's universe, but you never know, Stardust might end up like The Princess Bride for me, the book and the movie being equally good for entirely different reasons.


I still need to see this movie!!

You simply must Ashley! Oh, also, good Halloween movie by chance?

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