Reels & Reads: Stardust

Hello Book Nerds! Welcome to March's installment of Reels and Reads.
What is Reels and Reads? It's a (roughly) monthly post where I try to compare movies to their books without being too nitpicky (SPOILERS, obviously). After all, we all know that the book is almost always better.

March is all about Stardust.

This is one of the few times that I saw the movie before I read the book (well, I listened to the audiobook). Indeed, I fell in love with the movie (it is one of my absolute favorites) years before I realized it was based on a book. 

The story in a nutshell:
Tristran Thorn crosses the wall (which no one does) to retrieve a fallen star and win the heart of his one true love. Along the way he runs into bloodthirsty princes, evil ancient witches, and lightning-catching sky pirates.

Let's start with the little change that bothered me in a BIG way:

There are no little changes between the book and the movie. There are only massive changes. Seriously. The character names are the same and the basic plot is the same, but the movie took some serious creative license with the story. The ending is not even recognizable. Without really giving anything away, I'll just say that the movie is an action-packed masterpiece of special effects. The book is quieter and just slips into the ending. If I hadn't seen the movie first then I may have accepted the book's ending. But I did see the movie first so I was kind of disapointed with the book's conclusion.

And about the characters...

Who Didn't Make the Cut: There are quite a few characters that didn't make the movie. Tristran's  father gets much more backstory in the book than he does in the movie. In my opinion, the book spent to much time on Tristran's father. He isn't that important to the overall story.

Who Show Up More Than Expected: Well, that is easily Captain Shakespeare. I say easily because he is not even in the book. :)  I'm more upset by the fact that this character isn't in the book than I am about the fact that they made up an entirely new character to add to the movie (with the author's input, I believe). Captain Shakespeare is my favorite character in the movie. Robert De Niro did a fantastic job.

Who Just Don't Get Enough Time Anywhere: Oh the ghosts. The murdered Princes of Stormhold are stuck as ghosts until a new king is crowned so they follow the living princes around. The ghosts appear more in the movie than the book, providing humorous commentary, but they've got several clips in the deleted scenes. Quite simply, next to Captain Shakespeare, the ghosts are the best and need more time in the book and the movie.

Finally, A Little Reader's Advisory...

I will say that I thought this was a YA novel, but it most definitely not. There was a sex scene early in the book that is only implied in the movie. Since I saw the movie first, I was wholly unprepared for this scene when I was listening to the audiobook.  The movie is PG-13 but I think the book requires much more parental discretion.

* * * * *
Well, there you have it. I'm sorry, I feel like I didn't write anything of substance but I try really hard to avoid spoilers.  Stardust the movie is so loosely based on Stardust the book that you can't really compare the two. If you've read or watched Stardust I'd love to know what you think. Maybe you really love both? Perhaps, like me, you fell in love with the movie and think the book is just kind of meh. Or do you love the book and hate that the movie is so different? Let me know!


  1. Wot? I've very surprised that Captain Shakespeare is an original character for the film!

    Stardust is the only one of Neil Gaiman's adult fiction titles I've ever been interested in reading. I finally got to watch the film last year and I found it similar to The Prince Bride sort of fantasy ... amusing and quirky.

    I have a feeling that while I might check the book version out, I'm going to be sticking with Gaiman's juvenile literature titles. I had to read The Graveyard Book for my Books and Media for Children class and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to. He's quite the clever author. =)

  2. I read the book after seeing the film. You are right they have very little similarities outside the names of the characters. I did enjoy both though!


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