Stardust, the book and the movie

  Along with the romances, Bella has always loved a good epic fairy tale, especially on screen.  The Tenth Kingdom (8.1/10.0 imdb), the TV miniseries with nine 45-minute episodes, that incorporates every fathomable fairy tale princess and a dashing prince who’s been changed into a golden retriever? She’s seen it a dozen times – probably once with each member of the family, and all her closest friends. She’s even had The Tenth Kingdom slumber parties, where the entire object of the evening is to get through all 417 minutes.

So, when I first caught glimpse of the Stardust (imdb 8.3/10.0) preview with a dashing hero off on a great adventure to retrieve a fallen star for his true love, I had a feeling Bella would be into it. So sure in fact, that I had Chad pick up the book by Neil Gaiman, thinking that I could lure Bella away from reading the Harry Potter series for the third time (she says it’s comforting…) I left the book out enticingly around the living room for weeks. No bite.

I even packed the book and brought it with us on our trip back East, when I remembered the best way to pique Bella’s interest – Dawkins hardly needed any encouragement at all; I wiggled the book in front of her face and thing I knew she was on the sofa deeply engrossed. Once Dawkins was done, Bella demanded to be the next one to read it, and strangely, it sparked a whole reading frenzy while we were traveling. We were gone only two weeks and besides Stardust, Dawk read The Giver (second time), and three by that old favorite Madeleine L’Engle: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Bella read Stardust and the sixth Harry Potter in preparation for the seventh one (which we got at midnight, and she read for the entire plane ride home, despite the fact that she had had less than five hours of sleep!) That was a lot to fit in between all the photo scavenger hunts and the America’s Top Model reruns.

Then when we got home, Chad pounced on Stardust, and finished it in short order. So, by the book was free, and I was done with Foer’s book, I was full of great anticipation for a great read.

Humph.

It was funny, but light – featherweight light; meaning there were not enough words; it felt practically like an outline. It was the kind of book you read, and think, sheesh, I could’ve written that one. But then Chad explained that Gaiman, the author, is actually well-known for his graphic novels, and it all made more sense. This guy isn’t used to creating pictures with his words, he’s used to having accompanying images – which, while it didn’t make for a terrific book, made for a simple, clear-cut translation to the screen.

Skip the book, but the movie is a fun one. There are some groaners (like deNiro playing a woopsie pirate captain of a lightening hunting ship), but there are laughs too (when Michelle Pfieffer’s boobs fall). It can definitely wait for DVD, but seeing that I am bit of a sucker for Claire Danes (ever since My So-Called Life), I didn’t mind coughing up a few bucks to watch it in the theater.

I give it a B-. 

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