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Monday, January 14, 2008

Another Disappointing Film Adaptation

Don't you hate it when you love a book, and Hollywood announces it's making a film based on the story? You wonder if the writers/actors/producers will do justice to the words and characters that swept you away when you read the book. You cringe to think of the many, many ways Hollywood could alter - or even destroy - the work you love so dearly.

This is why I watched Stardust (the movie based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name) with so much anxiety. I loved the book. It was charming, magical and sweet. I hoped the movie would be the same, and that I would adore it as much as I did the book. But, I just ... didn't. Don't get me wrong - I didn't hate the film, I just didn't like it as much as I wanted to. Somehow, it lacked the magic of the book.

On the Plus Side: I did like Charlie Cox as Tristran. I thought he was loveable, with the right mix of vulnerability and inner strength. I also thought Michelle Pfeiffer was well cast as Lamia, the hag. Also, the movie, on the whole, succeeded in being whimsical and lighthearted, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much.

On the Other Hand: For some reason, I wasn't impressed with Claire Danes as Yvaine. She just seemed awkward in her role. I also think she and Charlie lacked chemistry. Some of the minor characters irritated me as well, especially the dead princes. However, I loathed what the filmmakers did to the kindly pilot, Captain Alberic. They turned him into Captain Shakespeare, a blubbering, cross-dressing fool (Robert DeNiro's most humiliating role since Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents/Fockers). Ugh.

In general, the movie was disappointing. I really, really thought I would love it and I think I would have if Hollywood had stuck closer to Gaiman's original words and characters. Taking the Gaiman out of the story just took away the magic for me. What did the rest of you think?


  1. I have not read the book yet and I liked the movie pretty well. I concur about the Robert DeNiro role. Eeew! I did sense the lack of chemistry between the leading characters. Guess I'll have to read the book and see what I think.

  2. The only movies I've ever seen that remotely compares to the books are The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Color Purple and both Charlie/Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

  3. I am so glad I saw the movie first! I loved it . . . as I do most "chick flicks". It was light and fun, and charming. DeNiro played the role he was given by screen writers. But it was a farce, fanciful, and fun! I am now very excited though to read the book! Thanks for the insite!

  4. I know what you mean about Stardust. I enjoyed it but not as great as the book for sure. Everyone I know who saw the flick without reading the book (sinners! the lot of 'em) loved it though. Its not as disappointing as Eragon and GOlden Compass...


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