Remember that Stardust Read-Along we were doing for Once Upon a Time? Well, today is a kind of bonus post, doing a comparison to the movie version.
If you’ve been following along, you know that I really enjoyed Part One, then found myself with serious issues in Part Two. I enjoyed the book…but! I loved reading everyone else’s thoughts, and I found it so fascinating how other people drew such wonderful meaning, insight and complexity from plot elements that just didn’t speak to me.
I stand by my opinion–but I love the complexities other people saw too. And with that divergence in thought, I suspect I’m going to be an outlier on my opinion of the movie too!
So I know it wasn’t as complex. I know it was much more conventional. I know it didn’t have the same depth of insight. But you guys? It just made me happy watching it.
The story is essentially the same: bumbling Tristan (who lost an R somewhere!) quests through Faerie with a fallen Star named Yvaine, while they’re being pursued by a nasty witch and a couple of ruthless princes.
I felt like the movie gave us that character growth and developing romance that I thought was lacking in the book. It was mostly just little moments here and quick conversations there (which was all I ever really wanted in the book) but it was enough. I could see Tristan learning from Yvaine and from the other people he was meeting. And I could see Yvaine falling for Tristan–in delightful fashion. Maybe it’s cheesy for a star to shine when she’s happy…but I thought it was a fun character device, and one that was used effectively.
I enjoyed the villains as well. I love that the ghosts of the murdered Stormhold brothers hang around for the whole movie, and I love that there was a final confrontation with the villains. Yes, yes, it’s much more conventional–but it was satisfying.
The movie doesn’t have the same airy, gossamer magic of the book, and not quite the same mysterious fascination or touches of darkness. On the other hand, there was so much that was funny or clever.
At the end of the day, I fully acknowledge that Gaiman’s book is attempting to tell a story that is far more complex and impressive–but it just didn’t quite work for me (obviously it worked for other people!) The movie’s goals were lower, but (for me!) it succeeded much more at what it was trying to do.
I would definitely recommend the movie if you haven’t read the book. If you have…well, that might be a bit more complicated!