For Once, I Liked the Movie Better

Yeah, yeah, brow-beat me about it for all I care. I just finished reading Stardust, and I must say, the movie was better. This is the first time I’ve ever come to that conclusion, and this includes other times when I’ve seen the movie first (which I don’t like doing) before reading the book.

Seriously. Things were done in the movie to expand the world of Faerie, the backdrop to the plot, which weren’t done in the book. I suspect, however, that Neil Gaiman had heavy involvement in the creation of this movie, as he is listed as one of the producers. And I also suspect that his participation is why I loved the movie even more. He probably used the film medium as a way to delve further into the world of the story, as well as to answer some “what if” questions.

What if the sky pirates played a bigger role?

What if we can get a better idea of the scope of Faerie?

I would have taken that opportunity.

I quite enjoyed the book, though, and found myself chuckling out loud. I appreciated it as the stand alone work of fiction that it is. I also realize it is the inspiration for the film. So, by “better than the book,” I mean that the film was able to do things with the world of faerie that the novel was not. The film was also a way to play with character roles, and change things up. I still recommend the book, whole-heartedly. It is a short, easy read, full of whimsy and adventure, danger and excitement, love and longing.

I think, generally speaking, that Stardust is often considered YA in genre, although I usually find it tucked away in the SciFi/Fantasy section of the bookstore. There’s a lot of blurred boundaries between genres these days, so that does not matter a whole lot. I will say that Gaiman’s descriptions are always concise and apt. He paints the landscape and characters with words very effectively. Despite having seen the movie first, I could still imagine the characters as they were described in writing, rather than as they were portrayed in the film, at least mostly. The same goes for the scenery. The passage of time between seeing the film and reading the novel may have helped. It’s been a few years.

One word of warning: If you get the e-book, be careful you don’t miss reading the epilogue. It came after the excerpt for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for some unknown reason, and I almost missed it.


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