Stardust Stardust discussion


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Stardust: Book vs. Movie

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message 1: by Kazima (new)

Kazima Neil Gaiman is an amazing author and I love everything I've read by him. Usually I would never hesitate to read a book by someone I love so much, but I saw the movie Stardust when it came out and was really disappointed. Not by the story or characters per say, but something about it seemed so tacky. Gaiman's writing is so magical, but there was nothing magical about the storytelling in the movie.

So since then I've been avoiding reading this book...

Can you who have both read the book and seen the movie please share some thoughts and experiences. I want to know if I should bother trying to read it even though my experience with the movie was bad.

Have I ruined my reading experience of the book by watching the movie first?


message 2: by Annalisa (last edited Dec 18, 2008 08:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa Read the book. It is magical. You know the end where the witches cart the star off and the boy has to go save her and there is a big battle? Never happens. In the book there is a metaphorical moment between the witch and the star that makes the book, but they took it out. The witch in the book isn't just straight bad but ambiguous and I enjoyed the relationship with the boy and the star more, the whole symbolism of the characters. Even though Robert DeNiro did an awesome job with his part, it's such a minor scene in the book that isn't even important. I haven't read Gaiman's other books, but I did enjoy Stardust. Somethings just don't translate to film though you know? I wouldn't say that the movie ruined the book. You'll probably still have images of the movie in your head, but especially if it's been a while since you've seen it, you'll see other things in the book, like the magic.


message 3: by Kazima (new)

Kazima Thank you so much Annalisa! This is just what I was hoping to hear. Neil Gaiman's writing is so magical, and you're right: somethings just don't work the same way on film. Btw, I would recommend Neil Gaiman's other books, I'm reading American Gods right now and it is so wonderful. He is able to make every fairytale and myth come alive at the same time. Pick it up if you have the time and I will give Stardust a try when I'm done with AG! :)


Heather steff wow, I am on the total opposite end. I saw the movie first and then read the book. The movie's characters have much more "flesh" on them, then in the book. Whomever wrote the screenplay did an awesome job of taking the short, disappointing book and making a very enjoyable movie for all the family to watch.


Lori This is the only time I have ever liked a movie more then a book. I mean I do think some movies are well done versions of books but the book is always better. I like Neil Gaiman but I didn't care so much for this book. I LOVE the movie.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I've never seen the movie, but I absolutely LOVE the book! It is an awesome fairy tale filled with adventure, love, and a weird little hairy man! It was so totally awesome, and one of my all time favorites!! !


message 7: by Mel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mel I'm on the side line on this one. Love Neil, love the book. It's everything I love about fairy tales (which are not fleshed out, look and the Brother's Grimm). Fantastical creatures, magical places, an extrodinary advanture, and one normal person trying to make sense of it all. (and bonus for the bittersweet finale) Also, much better in the more expensive illistrated format, the images do so much more for it.

However, a movie cannot follow a fairy tale's pace and characterisation, there needs to be meat and background to characters. They have to do goofy, realistic things or an auidiance would spit chips. As an 'idea' made into a movie, awesome! I treat them as completely seperate things and enjoy them for different reasons (even though the movie feels a little long-winded)

but that's just me :)


Helena Definitely preferred the book! I didn’t mind the movie when I saw it- but I found the book much more enjoyable. I didn’t think the movie did the book justice at all.


Audrey to me, the book and movie are almost like separate stories. i love them both, but the movie turned out so different from the book that it almost doesn't feel right to compare them. if i had to choose, i'd say the movie was better and more adventurous and fast-paced. the book had more backstory and a better-developed plot, but the movie's characters felt more real and it was more exciting.


VG/Allie i can't help but agree the bk and the movie were to different. and i have to tolaly agree with u Audrey. the bk seemed flat. and the movie has that feel good ending the human race has come to expect from a movie.


Neeke Saw the film - read the book - saw the film, and have to saw I enjoyed the film a bit more, though the book was great also.
The movie added some great scenes, such as the sort of 'end battle', which was a bit absent in the book, or at least less prominently there.

Have to agree with what's said be others as well: book and film can sort of be seen as separate stories. Just enjoy both :)


Fixer Don't forget that the book itself was meant to be a sort of graphic novel/storybook. If you read the plain text version without the pictures it might seem flat indeed!


message 13: by Andy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andy Norris book and movie are different


Audrey Fixer wrote: "Don't forget that the book itself was meant to be a sort of graphic novel/storybook. If you read the plain text version without the pictures it might seem flat indeed!"

really? i had no idea. i just read it as a regular novel. that definitely would have made it more interesting!


Emily I think I really enjoyed the story the movie told more than the story the book told. Not that I disliked the book, I just liked the way the movie ended best. And I didn't know it was supposed to be a storybook with pictures! Cool (: I wonder why they didn't publish it that way...


purplemunchkim This happens rarely but I enjoyed the movie more than the book. It's not that I didn't like the book because I did love it, but the movie was more exciting for me plus it was more action-packed. ^_^


James The movie made me want to puke. IMO it was a disgrace to the book. When I read a fantasy novel, I don't have images in my head of a run-of-the-mill fantasy movie with cliche color themes, camera angles, and acting. This movie sort of spoiled the book for me (even though I read it first). The only thing surprising about the movie was that it wasn't a straight-to-TV release for the SyFy network.


message 18: by A.R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.R. McKenna The book is so much better! I read this novel in junior high and thought it was amazing. The movie was pretty good, but it pales in comparison to the actual book. Neil Gaiman is amazing.


Céline I saw the movie before reading the book, and I definitely preferred the movie. The characters were more «plain» in the book, and it also lacked the humour there was in the movie ( I have captain Shakespeare in mind ;)). It was still a great book though.


message 20: by Benjie (new) - added it

Benjie I avoided reading other peoples comments because I didn't want to get mad before answering. :D

I loved both the movie and the book but: The movie seemed like the screen writer read the back of the book and then wrote the screenplay... all the stuff I think you are referring to as "tacky" wasn't present in the book at all... to the extent that I consider them completely separate works.

If you hated the movie but love Gaiman you will very likely love the book.


David I found the movie started out actually pretty true to the book, but (as usual) veered off on it's own tangent towards the end.


Siska Primaningrum I love both the movie and the book. Each gives different ending, and both were enjoyable.


message 23: by Sarah (last edited Aug 27, 2011 12:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah This isn't really an answer to the question anymore - just a book vs movie poll, but I've always felt very strongly about Stardust. I'm on the side that enjoyed the book more than the movie, and I was always hugely surprised to find how many people preferred the movie to the book.

I don't know what it is about it - perhaps because Stardust was the first Neil Gaiman work I ever read - but I was completely enchanted and enthralled by the book. One of the most magical things I've ever read, just the way he puts things on paper. I heard great reviews from the film, but I did end up slightly disappointed.

Prose and narration are a huge thing for me, and I guess that doesn't translate into a film, and as others mentioned, the characters needed something more to make up for that. The had to change a lot of things to fit the more formulaic movie arc, like the hero and heroine confessing their love for each other before the big battle. Which I understand, but it just didn't strike that same chord in me that the book did.

Still, any Neil Gaiman in any way is a good thing, and the Stardust film is still better than the average fantasy flick.


Tabatha I saw the movie before I read the book. I think you might not be too disappointed with the book. I preferred the movie honestly, but you might just be the opposite of me.


Angie ~aka Reading Machine~ I've read the graphic novel version of Stardust and loved it! I've also seen and own the movie Stardust. The book and movie ending are vastly different but both are very enjoyable. Yvaine has a bigger role in the book than she does in the movie. While Tristian's part is much bigger in the movie. I will read the book and watch the movie again and again.


Sarka-Jonae Miller I agree with David. The movie started off pretty true to the book and I liked it, but then it got of course. I liked the book much better, I actually liked the movie too --except that they pulled one of those "the hero transforms from an insecure weakling into a skilled fighter in two minutes" tricks that I detest. There really wasn't a need for Tristan to become an expert sword fighter, and it would have been completely impossible for him to do in such a short time anyway. I would rather have seen more time spent developing the "evil" witches characters. I think it helped that a lot of time had passed between reading the book and seeing the movie. I suggest that anyone wanting to do both space it out over a couple of years so you can look at them as two separate stories.


message 27: by Tim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim Mckinstry I watched the movie first, and found it unexpectedly brilliant!

So I had huge expectations for the book, but it didn't really live up to them. I'll have to try it again sometime.

It's a rare thing that I'm unsure if I prefer the book or the movie.


Teresa Edgerton Usually, if I watch both the book and the movie of something I like whichever one I saw first the best. In this case, I like them both, but for different reasons. The movie was visually stunning, and some of the acting was very, very good. (I thought Robert DeNiro was a bit over-the-top, but he did have his moments.). But in the book, Gaiman's prose is a delight, and of course they could never duplicate that in the movie.


Kelly I think the movie did a much better job of showing them fall in love with each other. I liked both the book and the movie, though.


Tabatha I got to agree with Kelly on that one, the movie did a really good job at showing the love between Tristan and the star herself. ;)


message 31: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna The movie pulling a random "lets overdue to gay pirate thing into "Andy Dick farce" territory quite honestly pissed me off

Also, the book has superior ending. Fits much better into the type of fairy tale that was weaved thru the story


message 32: by Mia (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mia I loved both the movie and the book, though I liked the book's ending waaaay better. I liked most of the casting for the movie (Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, DeNiro). The only one I didn't really like was Claire Danes.

I thought the movie was campy, but I like camp so it doesn't bother me. But the book's amazing. The ending's one of the many reasons I loved the book.


Brenda Kirton I have always found books to be better than the movies that are made from them. This book was the exception. I found it very flat. The characters were not as fleshed out. The scenes that were written for the movie added alot to it. The book just didn't have the life the movie had.


Teresa Edgerton Mia wrote: "I loved both the movie and the book, though I liked the book's ending waaaay better. I liked most of the casting for the movie (Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, DeNiro). The only one I didn't real..."
I agree that Clare Danes gave the weakest performance in the movie. I'm sure that's the reason that the romance was not my favorite part of the story. They didn't exactly break the bank on her costume either. She looked ... bland.


message 35: by Mia (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mia "I agree that Clare Danes gave the weakest performance in the movie. I'm sure that's the reason that the romance was not my favorite part of the story. They didn't exactly break the bank on her costume either. She looked ... bland.

I know! Everyone else had such great costumes (espc. The Lords of Stormhold). Her dress didn't bother me as much as the shoes. They looked like some kind of ugly ankle boots. I would've thought slippers or something more delicate, or, yah know, not fugly boots :)


Teresa Edgerton Mia wrote: "Everyone else had such great costumes (espc. The Lords of Stormhold).."

Oh, I agree. Septimus most of all. I do like a villain who knows how to dress!


message 37: by A B (new) - rated it 4 stars

A B Potts Read the book. I read the book before seeing the film and the movie was dire in comparison. You'll LOVE the book! I promise you!


Joseph Doran I liked them both. The book was a good fairy tale, with some interesting themes, and it broke the fantasy story mould in a number of cool ways.

The film was an enjoyable fantasy adventure, that I see as a separate entity from the book, in that while it kept some of the characters and places, it changed the plot in a number of ways. The book would have made a bad movie, because fairy tales are always pretty "out there" and that would alienate a movie going audience.

Like I said, both are good, and can be enjoyed as separate things, rather than two pieces of entertainment that are supposed to be very similar.


Vaishnavi I definitely loved the movie. I think startdust was a perfect movie that catered to my need of a Fairytale, Romance, Comedy as well as Adventure.
Reading the comments above, i'd really love to read the book tooo soon :D


message 40: by Aj (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aj This is perhaps the ONLY instance I have ever had where I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but at the same time I did watch the movie first which does seem to have an effect on your thinking, I have found it that way at least. Now I love Neil Gaiman, he is undeniably one of my favourites but for me, the movie (especially the pirates) was more enjoyable than the book.


Svetoslav One of the few instances where I actually like the movie more than the book and it is not for lack of appreciation for Neil Gaiman - I am a big fan. However, the movie was really well done and had more substance than the book. (I read the book first.)


Svetoslav Aj wrote: "This is perhaps the ONLY instance I have ever had where I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but at the same time I did watch the movie first which does seem to have an effect on your thinking, ..."

I wrote my reply, then looked at yours which is right above me and it was like 99% match between what we said. Ha! :)


Angky I read the book first, but somehow I ends up liking the movie better... Seems like I'm in minority here :/


Gavin I watched the movie first then listened to the audio book which was narrated by the author Neil Gaiman.
Stardust and Solaris are about the only two I can think of where I prefer the movie rather than the book.


Donna I loved both book and movie! though I can't remember the cross dressing scene in the book??


Rachel H Comparing the book and the movie. I have to say that I liked the movie better. Even thought the movie took some of the stuff out from the movie, I still thought that the directors did a good job with the effects and everything else so interesting. This is weired because usually I would prefer the book over the movie anytime,vs. the fact that most movies takes out the important parts, because they can't fit a 500 page book into a 2 hour movie.


Heather I'm a long time fan of Neil Gaiman and I've read most of his major stuff, with exception of Sandman as I just haven't had the money to invest in it. That said, Gaiman tends to have a really deep and heavy feel to his writing. This even comes into play in Coraline. However, his children's books "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" and "The Wolves in the Walls" or have the heavy themes but a touch of silly/hilarity to them. This is, I think what got focused on in "Stardust" the movie. I read the book before I saw the movie, years before and I read it again after. The book is a much more solemn affair and I think that the slapstick humor of the movie was very effective. I don't think I could choose which I liked more. They both are really good, in different ways, because they do different things. Neil Gaiman would be the first to tell you that when you translate something from one medium to another there have to be changes because things that are effective in writing, per say, won't be on the movie screen or in a graphic novel. In fact, I have heard him say this at the Hugo Awards when he was talking about the Graveyard Book.


Erika I read the book first then after a few days decided to watch the movie. I liked both of them but I have to admit that this one time, I actually prefer the movie more. Not the whole book, mind you, just the ending. When I was reading the book, I was so gripped by it but then I thought that the ending was a bit anticlimactic. The ending of the movie was much more interesting. The movie also had a more humorous and lighter air than the book which was fun to watch.


Heidi I saw the movie many times before I read the book. And this is one of the rare occasions I liked the movie better then the books. In the book it seemed like everything wrapped up in a nice little bow. There wasnt anything exciting or ponderous about it, it was flat.


message 50: by Alexis (last edited Apr 14, 2012 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alexis O Erika wrote: "I read the book first then after a few days decided to watch the movie. I liked both of them but I have to admit that this one time, I actually prefer the movie more. Not the whole book, mind you, ..."

That's funny because I felt the opposite about the ending. I enjoyed the movie more, but wished that they had used the ending from the book instead. The book's ending was just so sweet and lovely. That said, without consideration of the book, the movie's ending was completely satisfying. . . I think I'm going to watch Stardust now.


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