Geek 12 Review: Stardust

Stardust   by Neil Gaiman

How did you like Stardust? How do you think it compares to the movie, if you’ve seen it?

Okay, so I haven’t read or seen the movie Stardust by Neil Gaiman. So, I was wondering if the book sticks to the movie – have you seen it?

I liked Stardust very much.    I didn’t love it, however.   It was nice.   What I am excited to do here is to answer your NEXT question…

I read this book for a number of reasons.   1.  Nymeth recommended as the best book for introduction to Gaiman.  [and I had just received Stardust in the mail via Netflix – quite timely!!]   As a relatively unaware book lover, I really don’t have any concept in my head of the fantasy genre.    I loved LOTR.  (I only read because they were making the movies)  I love The Chronicles of Narnia.  (read 30+ years ago.)   I just don’t seek out books just because of who wrote them and I don’t stick to genres.   Heck, I don’t even KNOW all the genres or pay much attention.   I’m very much a person who reads a book that falls into my lap and I can rarely tell you how or by which channel it fell there.   Sometimes I wonder how I ever decided what to read before…  until…

book blogging.    I’m learning about book classifications, and authors, and genres and words, etc, that totally escaped my notice.    Ya don’t know what you don’t know, right?    [also, keep in mind, I can’t recall taking ANY  English/Lit classes in college which was more years ago than I care to share;  all this academic stuff is FUN to me but I’m extremely rusty on what is what.]

I had never heard of Neil Gaiman until quite recently.   I kept seeing his name bouncing around.    Then I watched Stardust – it featured a few of my favorite actors so I added it to my Netflix queue.   

(I have a feeling this post is going to be long.    Please feel free to search for your name if you only want to read the answer you proposed…   My hub is out of town and I’ve been sitting at my PC all…   day..    long…   My poor dog is giving me that look:  “Come ON mum, let’s DO something.”)

As for Stardust, I’m a Gaiman fan so I hope you had a grand time reading that one and would soon read his other books.

I’m going to address Lightheaded’s comment before jumping headfirst into shallow water with my book vs. movie dissertation.     I did enjoy Stardust and I will probably return to Gaiman someday.    I am curious about those graphic Sandman books.   And am willing to consider any sugs, as well.

OOPS!  As I began to write this, I feel I must acknowledge that I read a paperback print version with only illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.   I was not aware until 3 seconds ago when I did a google search for ‘Claire Danes Stardust’ and these words popped up:   Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise…    I did not read a graphic novel.  

The movie of Stardust intrigued me and I’m interested in seeing it; however, I haven’t read the book yet. Will I still be able to enjoy the novel if I see the movie first? Will I enjoy the movie if I read the novel first? Did the movie stick pretty closely to the novel or are you given two different stories? If there are two different stories, was the movie version well down or a complete hack job?

BOOK Versus MOVIE.   

I enjoyed both the book AND the movie equally!   No, I take that back.  I think I liked the movie better.    As for the question to watch first then read or read then watch; well, I’ve ruined that opportunity to compare the experience.  Anyone else want to provide the read –> watch perspective?  

Jackie – you may not want to read what I have to say next…  However, I don’t think it will diminish the book if you see the movie first, imo.    The movie was NOT a hack job…

Viewing the movie did not ruin the book for me.   But the movie is fuller and richer.   AND, you gain the benefit (or have your own imagination ruined) by having the images of what the Star looks like (Claire Danes) and seeing the village of Wall, etc, ready made in your mind for you.   

It is interesting that Inkdrinker’s question was phrased ‘does the book stick to the movie’?  and not the other way around.   Am I to assume the movie was created first and then the book was published?    That can’t be right.  

No, the movie does not stick to the book.   The book has a nicely wrapped up ending – all sweet and easy.   The movie needed violence and big drama fighting to realize WHO the final ruler of Stormhold would be.    In fact, as I write this, I don’t even remember if the mean witch (Michele Pfeiffer in the movie) character even dies?    I don’t recall what happened to her, now that I think of it…   uh oh.   

And the movie does a very creative fanciful handling of the lightening pirates!   I loved this part!   It’s totally different in the book.    Again, sweet and easy.

Tell me about your favourite minor character from Stardust.

My favorite minor characters were the dead brothers!    In the movie, these guys were terrific comedy.   I was also impressed at how well they came alive (so to speak) in the book, too, but less comedy in written form.

I loved Yvaine as a character, she was so unexpected as a falling star. What did you think of her?

Since I saw the movie first, I feel I can’t address this question of her being unexpected.   She was adorable and feisty and quite true to character as written.    I loved the speech to her beloved when he’s a dormouse in the little cage.  Which is NOT IN THE BOOK, darn it.

So I saw the movie for Stardust and I hated it. Have you seen it yet and if so how does it do as an adaptation?

I am curious as to what exactly you hated about the movie.    Just not your taste and style in sweet fantasy love stories, perhaps?    What were you expecting?   I personally had few expectations.    I knew it was supposed to be a sweet fantasy love story adventure and that’s exactly what I got.  The book was also a sweet fantasy love store adventure.   The movie was more so – it had MORE.    More story, more comedy, more.

Do you think people who don’t normally read fantasy will like Stardust?

Tough, tough question.   I think it depends on why they don’t normally read fantasy.   If they don’t read it because they’ve just never gotten to it (like me) and not out of some preconceived prejudice, then YES; they might like Stardust.    It’s really not that meaty of a story – just an enjoyable read.   Nothing too deep, just sweet and easy.   (if it was supposed to be deep, I missed it.)
Finally, ALL of these next Qs were asked by
Joy Renee
How was Point-of-View handled? Was there a single POV character or did it alternate among two or more. Was it always clear whose eyes and mind were filtering?

Um, help!   I think it was just third person.   I can’t break it down much more than that – too many years away from school.   I think it was just third person….   I don’t remember even thinking about this while I was reading.   So, at least I can say it wasn’t distracting!   No alternating…

How was language used to set tone and mood?   Was the prose dense or spare? Were sentences generally simple or complex?

Language was light and beautifully descriptive – not too much, always enough.   Not too dense, nor too spare.   I would say it was generally simple.  As for tone and mood, it is an adventure and it never got too dark or menacing even though our heroes do face some menacing characters.    Perhaps, since I had seen the movie and knew how it would play out…

How was metaphor used? Were associations fresh or did they tend toward cliche? Did they add to your understanding of the theme?   What was the central or organizing theme?

Ugh.   I’m skipping this.     (sorry!)

How does the title relate to the story? Was it fitting?   YES!   The title refers to our human understanding of a star and how it can be totally different in other worlds; we need only apply a little magic and imagination and suspend some of that annoying disbelief.   Uh oh – does this answer fit the question I just skipped?  

Re Gaiman: I’ve yet to read even one but I keep seeing his name everywhere online and note he uses themes I gravitate to–mythology for one. Can you say anything that might make my desire to try a Gaiman more urgent.   

Nope.   I have a blank to this one, too.    I suggest you seek out one of the many enthusiastic Gaiman fans.   (I’m not quite there.)

Bart’s Bookshelf has a wonderful ‘what-this-book-is-about’ (which I obviously failed to provide…) post which you can get to by clicking here.

♦ ♦