We don’t get out to the movies much; too little time mainly, so most of the time I catch up with them on DVD. (Ah, the joys of a Home Cinema system!) Anyway, the latest selection for the coveted Page Family ‘Movie Night’ is Stardust, a film based on Neil Gaiman’s book. (Gaiman is a stunningly brilliant writer who made his reputation with the comic book, Sandman, before turning to novels.) Stardust is a gem of a movie. It’s witty, beautiful, unconventional, full of interesting characters and extremely well-plotted. The plotlines weave and tie together well; the hero and heroine are thoroughly likeable and there’s a wonderful pervasive air of Englishness about it all. For me, the only wrong note was the casting of Ricky Gervais who, as yet, has not mastered the art of playing anyone other than himself.
Apparently, Gaiman gave the option on Stardust to the director Matthew Vaughn for free. Mainly because he trusted Vaughn and he wanted someone who would do justice to the book. Gaiman is also, I believe, executive producer on the film. His interest contrasts with the other great comic book writer, Alan Moore. Moore really does not like movies at all, and tends to dismiss any movie made from his work. I think this is sad, because it means so much of More’s great work is overlooked by mediocre films. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, for example, is a truly great comic book, turned into an entirely awful film. Other films based on Moore’s work (e.g. V for Vendetta, From Hell) are mediocre at best. I await the adaptation of Watchmen – possibly the greatest comic book ever written – with a mixture of eager anticipation and utter dread.
Still, at least we’ve got Stardust.