There is no doubt in my mind that Neil Gaiman is a true blue romantic at heart. Just read his fantasy work Stardust, which was adapted into a movie starring Claire Danes, Robert de Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, and which I simply had to watch, and you’ll surely agree with me.
Let’s talk about the book first, since I like it slightly more than the movie, which I watched just before reading the book. The story revolves round a young man Tristan Thorn, who set off on a quest to fetch a fallen star to win the hand of the town beauty. His quest took him into the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall from which his tiny village took its name where he encountered strange things, magical creatures, witches and other wondrous things that belong in Faerie. Along the way, Tristan uncovered the truth of his parentage, found his heart’s desire and learnt the meaning of true love.
I took to Mr Gaiman’s imaginative story-telling right away. This is the Brother Grimms for grown-ups, and living up to the tradition of the fantasy genre, the realistic yet poetically tragic ending was more palatable to me than the pat happily-ever-after curtain closure the movie attempted to conjure. I mean, the heroine is immortal, but the hero isn’t. Some of Gaiman’s wry humour wasn’t moved to the big screen.
However, the swashbuckling action and the villains’ antics and manipulations in the movie were really entertaining. Overall, both book and movie delivered this adult fairy tale about love, friendship, magic and adventure in a thrilling and utterly enchanting manner.
The movie was in fact recommended by a colleague. I rented the video after I bought the book, but ended up watching the movie first. Claire Danes was simply divine as Yvaine and Michelle Pfeiffer was wickedly marvelous as the witch queen. Robert de Niro’s character was quite different in the book though, but played an equally pivotal role in Tristan’s rite of passage.
Other than the ending which was a little too pat for me, and definitely made to appeal to the movie-going audience, the movie was a real delight to watch, especially with such stellar performance from a strong cast of actors and actresses.
Rating: 5.0 for the book, 4.5 for the movie
The movie website boasts loads of interactive features, so be sure to drop by too!