Now, I know what you might be thinking…don’t tell me he’s one of those people who actually prefers the movies to the books? Well, usually I’m not because I feel that movie adaptations more often than not fail to live up to their literary brethren as they lost much of the original tone and voice. In this case though I feel I’m justified in choosing the movie adaptation. And that’s not to say that the book isn’t any good. Quite the opposite. Stardust is a very fine work by someone who I consider to be one of the most talented author’s alive.
Just to give you some background info, Stardust was written by Neil Gaiman in 1999 and was made into a film in 2007. It was directed by Matthew Vaughn and the screenplay was handled by Vaughn himself along with Jane Goldman. The running time is just above two hours, including credits which happen to feature the song “Rule the World” by Take That.
So why choose the movie? Here are the reasons:
It’s Funny Without Being Forced
Not cheesy funny, not corny funny, actually funny. The book isn’t designed to be a rip-roaring tale with plenty of belly laughs but the movie makes up for it and more. There are some great comedic moments that don’t feel like they’re being shoved down your throat. It isn’t a comedy by any means but the movie has a natural charm and humour about it. Many of the characters, also, are written in a light-hearted way but this does not detract from the main storyline.
The Special Effects
I’ve seen some great CGI in movies but Stardust sticks in my head. Everything about it is perfect. From the green flames to the dead brothers, it’s just right. In fact, it’s one of those movies that one watches and can’t help but feel impressed solely due to the visual spectacle.
The special effects help to add a magical quality to the movie that even the book can’t match. One thing I’ve noticed in movies is the overuse of special effects and CGI. This can make the movies feel laboured and reduce from the overall quality of the action but not here. In Stardust it’s used well and in the right places and adds to the viewing pleasure.
The Fight Scenes
Stardust has some brilliant fight scenes. Not because they’re gory, not because they show too much violence, but because they are unique. I’m thinking particularly of the scene towards the end of the movie between Charlie Cox and Mark Strong’s characters. It’s enjoyable and quite hilarious but in a very different way to what one might expect. In fact, that whole scene is pretty amazing and without doubt my favourite of the entire movie.
Gaiman’s a great writer but I’m not sure even his supreme talents can compete with the cast in this movie. The big names included are extensive; Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O’Toole, David Kelly, Ian McKellan as narrator, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Mark Strong and Mark Williams.
As expected, the quality of acting is pretty high. It helps to keep the intensity of the film up and the viewers interested. By including the likes of Gervais and Walliams and Mark Williams, it means there’s a nice change of pace in the storyline giving us comedy where needed.
Robert De Niro
I guess De Niro will always be a solid reason to watch any movie. He is one of the greatest actors to have ever graced the big screen and his award-winning roles are numerous. But in Stardust he doesn’t play the usual hardened, intense character we are so used to see him portraying, but a much funnier caricature of a captain of a ship named Captain Shakespeare. The role is great and though his screen time is limited, De Niro really gives his all and provides us with some absolutely hilarious and surreal moments.
Why? Well you’re just going to have to watch the movie to find out.
One thing about me is that I love a good soundtrack. Pirates of the Caribbean, amazing. Lord of the Rings, incredible. Robin Hood, astounding. The Last of the Mohicans, incomparable. There are a number of wonderful composers out there. Ennio Morricone, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, John Williams and many others but Ilan Eshkeri creates something that is both beautiful and compelling yet fits the not-so-serious and fun-filled nature of the movie.
In terms of the soundtrack, I find Shooting Star and Septimus to be particularly compelling. The soundtrack has been downloaded onto my iTunes account for quite a while now and I still love it. My only hope is that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
So that’s my verdict. The 6 reasons why the movie is better than the book. It could be considered blasphemy by some but I have to be honest and admit that while the book did bring me enjoyment, the movie is something I have revisited over and over again, and will continue to do so in the future.
Stardust will never be considered as one of the best movies of all time, simply because it isn’t that sort of tale. What it is though, is a magical, spellbinding tale that will hold your unwavering attention for an immensely enjoyable couple of hours.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any comments please leave them in the box below.