One Wednesday night last October, I had some free time on my hands. ‘Twas the night before my holiday in the south of France, and I didn’t feel like sitting at home. So I went to the cinema to see Stardust. As with most movies I really like, the reviews were lukewarm at best, and it didn’t do too well in the theaters.
There’s this rule I’ve made up some years ago: I cannot see a movie based on a book by Stephen King before I’ve read that book. For Neil Gaiman, I have no such rule. I just started reading my first book by him—in fact, I had it with me for during the ads and waiting—and I heard good things about the movie. The movie, and later on, the rest of Smoke & Mirrors, peaked my interest in the book.
Fast forward to some months ago, when I was in a comic shop, picking up the new episode of The Dark Tower comic. Browsing through the section for graphic novels and hardcover collections, I happened on the Gaiman section, and an illustrated version of Stardust. (Soon after placing Stardust on my mental to-read list, I found out that the book was first published as a four part graphic novel illustrated by Charles Vess. It was surprisingly hard to find an illustrated version in The Netherlands, until I actually looked at the other merchandise in a shop I regulary visit.)
While the book and movie are quite alike, they’re quite different as well. Gaiman allowed the screenwriters quite some liberties, as he did not want people to go the theater expecting to see a film which was completely loyal to the book and failed. As a result, you got the same story about a boy who travels into Færie to find a fallen star for his beloved and what happens to him on his way back, but they seem too take two completely different ways home.
In the end, I think I like the book more than the movie, but I’m just like that. Recommended. Both.
- Book read
- Neil Gaiman — Stardust, Being a Romance within the Realms of Færie
- First line
- There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire