Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I just finished Neil Gaiman's Stardust - stayed up last night to finish reading the epilogue. On balance, I enjoyed it much more than American Gods. It has a beautiful feeling of archetype and fairy tale, yet delivered with a sly humor. Much of this comes from a matter-of-fact tone. In American Gods, this surrealness sometimes worked to the detriment of the story - things were so detached they seemed unrealistic. With Stardust, the tone blends wonderfully into the mood.

One thing did disappoint me, and I'm not sure if it's partly because I saw the movie and I was expecting a big climactic battle: the ending was very flatline. It didn't really "go" anywhere. Even the romantic revelation at the end just sort of happens. I do agree that the flash-bang in the Stardust movie would have been inappropriate here, but to me, it seemed less like a novel climax and more a simple stopping point.

The epilogue, I should add, was lovely, and it made me sniffle. It was a striking final note. (I am counting this as an "after the ending" summary.)

Having now read the book, I'm rather puzzled by the movie adaptation in general. It seemed to spend a lot of time on elements that went by in passing in the book, while excluding others ... and even adding things that don't seem to fit with the Stardust world. Some I understood for adaptation and presentation, and others just due to Hollywoodisms, but the pacing between book and movie leaves me a bit bewildered. I did think the portrayal of the Stormhold ghosts was delightful, however. Nicely done.

No comments: