Last night we went to see Stardust, the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess’ same titled graphic novel. Gaiman’s last foray into movies, MirrorMask, was interesting but somehow un-engaging, but Stardust is an absolute delight all the way through. A fairy-tale love story, set in a world alongside England – reached through a hole in the wall next to the town of Wall (near Ipswich). Once the protagonist, Tristran Thorne, sets off on his quest to find a fallen star the action comes thick and fast, with twists and amazing characters on the way that keep you constantly engaged and smiling.
My personal highlights are the ghostly chorus of the dead princes, all named based on their order of birth, from Primus to Septimus, and all vying to be the next king by dint of being the last one alive. The already dead brothers includes David Walliams and Rupert Everett, and en masse they inject a wonderful note of humour into a Shakespearean tradition. The special effects are also fully integrated, never too showy just there in subserviance to the story as they should. Plus you have Robert deNiro as a flying ship captain with a hidden secret, Ricky Gervais with a brief cameo as a salesman plus a panoply of other famous actors from both sides of the pond – thankfully a lot are British given that’s the general accent. Even Claire Danes’ accent is reasonable, if a little too plumy in places.
You know this movie would never have gotten made were it for the success of Harry Potter, so for that we owe J K Rowling another thanks. Gaiman is an amazing author and explorer of the imagination, but his popular success is still limited even after the oustanding Sandman graphic novels and a selection of successful novels. Indeed, rumours of Sandman’s movie debut have been around for many years now, but it has yet to appear. Fingers crossed that Stardust has enough box office success to put some steam behind other Gaiman adaptations. So go see it!