Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and Stardust at Hoyts, Broadway

I’m not a huge Neil Gaiman fan (except for Good Omens) but when I found a copy of Stardust going cheap, I thought I might as well read it before seeing the film. In some ways, it reminded me a bit of Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, in that both books are written in a very self-consciously twee style (particularly at the beginning), and yet their purpose is really to subvert the conventions of fairy tales. While I quite enjoyed Stardust, I don’t feel that my life would be any less if I had never read it. It is probably more subversive than Howl, but I think Howl is a bit more fun.

The film of Stardust, on the other hand, is not really subversive at all. It was all very nice and pretty, and there were some fun performances (Robert De Niro, playing a part that basically didn’t appear in the book, was having just way too much fun) – but ultimately it was fairly lightweight and forgettable. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, and I have even recommended it to people, but if it was trying to be this generation’s The Princess Bride (and I think it is), well, it just doesn’t come close.

Being completely honest, I probably preferred the film to the book – in that I’m slightly more inclined to see it a second time than I am to re-read the book. However, I think the book had more substance to it: it was deliberately playing with the genre, whereas the film was just trying to be a crowd-pleaser.

1 Comment

  1. Di said,

    November 12, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Harriet, I haven’t seen the movie yet (it only lasted 2 weeks up here) but I believe the graphic novel with Charles Vess is the best version. Did you want to borrow it?

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