Aug 28 2013 10:15am

Stardust Had Better Become a Fantasy Film Classic

Stardust movie 2007, Yvaine Claire Danes Charlie Cox Tristan

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is a delightful book, a layered and delicate thing that satisfies the adventurer in us all. Its screen adaptation made it to theaters only nine years after the book’s release, but getting it there was a rough road that eventually saw Terry Gilliam drop out of the project and Matthew Vaughn leave to direct Layer Cake. Vaughn happily came back a few years later, and after swapping Sarah Michelle Gellar out for Claire Danes in the leading female role (which I think we can all agree was a win in this case), Stardust hit screens in 2007 to generally kind reviews—but not enough buzz to make it a runaway hit.

Which is not fair because it’s easily one of the best fantasy films of the past 20-odd years.

In the vein of The Princess Bride—which it deliberately mimics, after a fashion—Stardust is a movie for people who like comedy, sword fights, unlikely friends, transformations, personal discovery and above all, love. True love at its sappiest but most earnest, the sort of love that makes you feel bad for being cynical on the subject, that makes you think dash it all, I want to be loved like that and damn the consequences. We don’t make movies like that very often, and when we do they’re often trapped in layers upon sticky layers of rom-com rhetoric that suck the life out of them and highlight the cynicism for us. This is exactly what Stardust in not, and for that alone it deserves attention.

Stardust movie 2007, Dunstan and Una

Tristan (who had his name simplified presumably because Tristran is harder to say or because people are less familiar with the variant?) is still in love with the impossible Victoria Forrester and still determined to fetch her a fallen star to prove his love. But the first time he attempts to cross the Wall, he is sent back to his father with a black eye.

Here the film pulls away from some of the moral ambiguity of the book; at the start of the tale, a younger version of Tristan’s father Dunstan is not looking to impress his intended back home, and so his tryst with the captive Una is received in a more charming light—particularly when we find out that Dunstan never got married at all. It gives an entirely different spin on the character—Dunstan Thorn, the single father whose son doesn’t quite fit into his world. In some ways it’s adorably rewarding because how frequently do you find portrayals of awesome single fathers awesomely raising their half-fae sons with love and compassion and encouragement? Stardust as a film loses many of the book's gray areas, but what is choses to render in black and white is fresh and forces us to rethink some old tropes.

In the film, Tristan’s journey is less about finding that he belongs in another world, and more about figuring out how to be himself. It’s an underrated portion of the journey into adulthood—while we’re busy figuring out what we like, or what we might like to do at early ages, that still conveniently avoids the question “Who am I, really?” Tristan’s greatest quality (played with a jarring sweetness and naiveté by Charlie Cox) is his willingness to go along with everything the journey hands him. And that includes realizing that his ideas about the world are inevitably right and wrong by turns, and choosing to handle those lessons with a fair share of humility. He’s the sort of hero you wouldn’t mind more kids emulating; funny enough, he actually has very few strengths (even once he gets some helpful sword-fighting lessons) besides dreaming big and being genuinely kind. What Tristan teaches us is not that it’s important to be brave, or be strong, or even to learn where you belong—though he does by the end—but that meeting your life’s greatest challenges with eagerness and a good heart overrides all attempts at heroism.

Stardust movie 2007, Tristan, Septmius, Charlie Cox and Mark Strong

Though the swordfight he has with the dead body of his uncle is admittedly one badass piece of fight choreography.

The bit parts are all played out with infinite candor, from Mark Williams as the goat-turned-inn-keeper, to Ricky Gervais putting his own spin on a classic seedy salesman of magical goods. We get fabulous turns from Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Michelle Pfeiffer, and of course Robert DeNiro, who you can tell is just having the time of his life getting the chance to be flamboyant and play dress up in petticoats and boas. It is unarguably one of the best roles he’s ever taken on.

Stardust movie 2007, Captain Shakespeare Robert De Niro

I’m reticent to use the word “romp” when describing movies because it always smacks of faint praise in my mind, but the unbridled rollicking nature of the film is one of its best features by far (that is only helped along by a truly gorgeous soundtrack from Ilan Eshkeri, a frequent collaborator with Vaughn). The film is full of small touches that belie the thought put into every frame: when Primus is slain we find that his blood is blue; Yvaine’s level of star-glow is carefully monitored and adjusted in each scene; and items from “our world” keep showing up, likely bought in markets just like the one that happens near Wall.

This is a movie in which acceptance in necessary, though it is full of people who are fighting the process: the witches cannot accept their aging bodies and limited lifespans; Tristan cannot accept that Victoria won’t see him as more than a shop boy; Septimus cannot accept anything but his father's throne, even if it means he has to slay his entire family to wear the crown. Even Captain Shakespeare shies away from acceptance, unwilling to let his crew see him prancing about in dresses with paper fans. Unbeknownst to him, the crew accepted him long ago exactly as he is, and don’t find him any less “manly” for it either. Some viewers have found it strange that Shakespeare’s subplot was given so much time and attention, but his journey is really just an easier way of illustrating the central themes of the film: accept yourself as you are, and the valuable people in your life will do the same.

Stardust movie 2007, Yvaine Claire Danes Tristan Charlie Cox Captain Shakespeare Robert De Niro

Unsurprisingly, it is only once Tristan has accepted himself that Yvaine realizes she loves him. A pretty clear line from Point A to Point B, there. And Shakespeare—a figure who has spent such a long time cultivating his personal self—was the perfect person to show Tristan the hows of that road, doling out valuable advice, good haircuts, and brand new “très you” clothes. The Wall-bound duo eventually make it back to the faerie market, but not before Yvaine has confessed her love to Tristan-as-a-mouse, thinking he couldn’t possibly understand her in rodent form. Honestly, it beats John Cusack with a boombox any day of the week.

Tristan does stop off at home to say goodbye to dear Victoria, and he’s not particularly kind to her when he does so, but can you really blame him? It’s the inevitable moment of realization—this is what I wanted before? This is the person I was so stupid over? He tells her what he himself needed to hear from the beginning, a piece of advice that she could do well with also: grow up and get over yourself. Then he leaves so she can happily marry Humphrey (wait, oh no, it’s too good, it’s a blonde, mustached Henry-Superman-flipping-Cavill! I love everything about this), which is too bad because later we see Humphrey flirting with Captain Shakespeare, so that marriage is definitely not gonna go how she expected.

Stardust movie 2007, Sienna Miller Victoria Forrester, Humphrey Henry Cavill

By the time Tristan gets back, Yvaine has been kidnapped by Lamia, and is about to have her heart cut out by the three evil witch sisters. Tristan still isn’t really much of a fighter, so the rescue goes a bit differently than he planned, and love saves the day. Literally. The power of Yvaine’s love for Tristan, the ability to focus that love due to his presence, allows her to shine so brightly that she dissolves Michelle Pfeiffer into a couple dust motes. In a world where most fairy tales turn on the Weekly Prince Charming proving his love by cutting through briars, kissing without permission, or forcing every woman in the kingdom to try on the same uncomfortable shoe, this is such a beautiful twist. A twist that didn’t have to occur by making Yvaine take up a sword and “fight for her man.” One heart in exchange for another and every evil in the world conquered.

I’m not crying, there’s just a thing. Poking me in the eyeballs.

Tristan’s mom and dad get to be together after all these years (d’aww), he and Yvaine get to rule Stormhold, and the kingdom gets its first line of rulers who aren’t cruel and capricious. Then, rather than Tristan dying one day and Yvaine taking over for him since she’s not going anywhere anytime soon, they take their wedding gift—one of those handy Babylon candles—and adjourn to the sky together. Because the only people who can live forever are those who have the heart of a star. And Tristan has one, doesn’t he?

Stardust movie 2007, Yvaine Claire Danes Charlie Cox Tristan

Just something prodding me in the tear ducts…. I’m fine.

There are some movies that are designed specifically to make you so damned happy that screenings put you in danger of smiling until your face feels like it ran 5K on behalf of your legs. Stardust is one of them, so do yourself a favor and watch it. It is probably the best piece of advice anyone is going to give you today, and it’s all for free.

Emily Asher-Perrin actually shrieked last time she saw the movie and realized that Humphrey was Golden Cavill. She has written essays for the newly released Doctor Who and Race and Queers Dig Time Lords. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

1. fadeintodawn
I really enjoyed your take on this movie, as I agree it's underrated. It is funny, sweet, and yet manages to gently satirize the tropes that it contains.

Plus, the cast is charming and they all appear to be having so much fun in the roles, especially De Niro and Pfeiffer. And don't forget Sir Ian McKellen as the narrator!
2. Hedgehog Dan
Stardust is one of my favourite movies, period. It helps me every time when I feel depressed. It is goofy, loveable, beautiful, sweet and always conquer cynicism.
3. Wizard Clip
I suspect I'm in the minority here, but I really dislike this movie and find it painfully dull. Yes, many of the performances are good (DeNiro is hilarious), and it has nice touches here and there, but overall I feel it loses most of what makes the book great and tries to shoehorn in elements to make it more "epic"--similar to what Peter Jackson seems to be doing with The Hobbit.
4. Shariq
Oh man, I'm right there with you. Stardust is absolutely one of my favorite movies. There is so much pure, unbridled joy through the whole thing. Let's not forget the plethora of memorable supporting characters either; the ghost princes ("Bravo! Good riddance to you!"), Shakespeare's entire crew ("You're still our captain, Captain."), Lamia's sisters Mormo and Confusa ("Sister, you look awful! HAAHAHAHHAA!"), and poor Bernard, ("He's a bit small to pull your cart...").

I also loved how this movie just embraced some of the silliness, like the scene where Septimus inadvertantly poisons the Bishop, which devolves into ultra-dramatic cutting back and forth between the living brothers' faces, complete with closeups of their eyes accompanied by brass stabs in the score. Totally genius.

I agree with you that the movie is a modern fantasy classic. This is right up there with The Princess Bride.
David Thomson
5. ZetaStriker
I hadn't read the book before seeing the film, but my sister was a huge Neil Gaiman fan so I had pretty high expectations going into it. I came away actually rather disappointed though; I remember it feeling like a movie without focus, skipping from locale to locale while failing to create a fantasy world or characters in which I could truly invest myself. I felt the touch of a myriad of interesting ideas, but rarely were they fleshed out well enough for me to care through to the end. Even though I do wonder if the movie suffered due to my lack of experience with Gaiman's written version I still haven't read the novel, but I certainly don't think the film should be called a classic if it falls flat without having done so.

That said, I do find it intriguing that you mention that this film should be viewed in the same way one might The Princess Bride. I had gone into the theater expecting a something else entirely, but looking back I really can see that it does fit the mold. Its tone wasn't quite as apparent as the beloved classic - which is like which caused the dissonance that led to my dissatisfaction - but I wonder if I may get more enjoyment from it if I went back and watched it again with that in mind. At the very least, we'll still agree about one thing; Robert De Niro is an absolute highlight of the film, and even when I didn't like the movie I still loved his part in it.
Jeremy Goff
6. JeremyM
First of all let me say this was a great article. This really is one of my favorite movies. I didn't see it until about a year ago. Since then I have bought the bluray and have watched it numerous times. It's one of those movies I put on when I just want to feel happy and entertained. I do the same with The Princess Bride and Singing In The Rain. I may have watch all three of these tonight now.
Sol Foster
7. colomon
For me it's the Princess Bride comparisons which make Stardust a bit of letdown. The Princess Bride is a great book with a great movie. Stardust is a lovely book (though I don't understand why there are editions without Charless Vess's fantastic illustrations!) but I don't think it's quite up there with The Princess Bride, and the movie suffers even worse for the comparison. It's twice as complicated and half as charming.

That said, it's certainly the second-best post-LotR fantasy movie I've seen. It's just that it's more "one of the best of the decade" rather than "best of my lifetime."
8. indy606
Truthfully, I am of two minds about this movie... as it amazingly manages to illicit two completely different reactions at the same time.

One the one hand, it is impossible to ignore that taken together, it is simply not especially good. The fact that it was touched and managed by so many different hands is painfully obvious as it swings drunkenly from scene to scene, tone to tone and theme to theme. For all the praise of the OP, the truth - and irony - is, this movie never knew or accepted what it was meant or to be (a HUGE difference when compared to The Princess Bride... which new from it's first moments exactly what it was - and was true to that spirit until the end). And yet, as so many others have mentioned, it does have moments of beauty and fun... making it episodically worthwhile. As a fan of the book, this was especially challenging to accept... and made watching it with others not familiar with the source material more than a little painful.

Sadly, I came away from this movie thinking less about how much I liked it and more about what might have been.
Chris Nelly
9. Aeryl
This is one of my favorite movies, I was recomending it on DeNero's performance alone, but there are so many wonderful things in it.

And it's not misogynist as all get out, that really helps.
10. Debra Perrin
As a huge Neil Gaiman fan I always felt guilty that I preferred the film to the book . I watch the film at least 3-4 times a year for exactly the same reasons as the reviwer. Perhaps the fact that we are both Perrins means we see things the same way ;)
Robert Dickinson
11. ChocolateRob
Perhaps you should have started with - MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT - for those that may think that this was to be more of a review for recommending the film to any that haven't seen it yet.

I love this film, it differs from the book but the book's structure would not have worked so well as a film. I only read it once so my recall of it is a bit flimsy but I felt the book was a bit flighty in many of it's aspects, more of a whimsical tale, as if details have been lost in centuries of retelling. Most of it happened because of a wish that the character was granted at the start in exchange for a favour, this allowed things to happen not because of the struggles of the people involved but because a wished up destiny said so. At the end the eldest Lilim pretty much gave up on her quest, Tristram and Yvaine never fully healed from their injuries (burned hand, broken leg) and Yvaine was left alone (once he died of old age) looking up to the sky she couldn't rejoin. just kind of grim all in all. It works in a book but would not for a film.
(The pedant in me was also irritated by the two Mondays coming together in a week curse breaker, a Monday and a Forrester came together to become two Mondays.)

The film told a much firmer story, and delightfully too, for all the reasons listed at the top. There were plenty of other aspects I enjoyed too -
The way they ended up in the clouds made more sense in the film and was darned funny to boot.
In the book the Witches were just called the Lilim but needed names for the film so they were given female names from some of Neil Gaiman's other works, in the case of Michelle Pfeiffer's character the name Lamia came from a character in the tv series Neverwhere played by Tamsin Greig. It just gave me massive chuckles that she was named after a character played by 'Fran' from Black Books (British channel 4 comedy).
I saw the alternate ending on the DVD where Yvaine is still young and Tristan is old and it squicked me out, the ending they went with is far more touching. Best of all it makes sense in the context of the story, it implies that having the love of a star is true immortality, cutting out and eating the heart of a star is but a temporary, pale shadow of this wonderful thing.
The film ended with the plots coming together in a final dramatic confrontation rather than just drifting off as they do in the book. I loved the final battles, the imagery of Septimus drowning in midair then his corpse rising at impossible angles to have a swordfight with the hero as his ghost watches on in confusion, grimacing whenever his body is damaged.
As mentioned above, the very literal power of love saving the day and you realise that it is not just a nice effect that defines her stariness but a tangible power with a great purpose.
The DVD commentary where I learned that Matthew Vaughn (I think) is partly colour-blind so when they talk about Lamia's green fire magic he was pretty much - "It was green?" not important but it amused me.
Also on the DVD comentaries the discussion of Dexter Fletcher making himself more noticeable in all his scenes. Little touches like this here and there that you may not notice at the time, another one being at the wedding where you see Bernard is now one of the pirates.

That all said I felt the Moon Whisper exposition was a bit forced, too much detail when it should have been a more urgent, brief, suggestive "she's in danger, get up now!"
Joseph Cook
12. Jobi-Wan
My wife took me to see this movie in the theater and I had no idea what it was about. I loved it and still do, I watch the DVD of it that she bought me a few times a year. I still have not read the book or any Gaiman for that matter so I think I need to delve into his works here very soon.
Nick Smith
13. nms72
The constant comparisons between this and the book (which I adore) just kept getting in the way. I wish I could have wiped my memory of the book before seeing the film; maybe I would have enjoyed it more.
Alan Brown
14. AlanBrown
I get sick and tired of people using initial box office as a measure of quality for films. Stardust is already a fantasy film classic, and will stand the test of time.
Stardust is one of my all time favorite movies, in my mind it ranks right up there with Princess Bride. I love the performances, the many little touches that reinforce the story, the way the whole thing kind of resonates with a positive energy and message.
And ranking it alongside Princess Bride is high praise, because the Princess Bride is woven into the fabric of my family's life--quoted frequently, and beloved by three generations (maybe four--if I am not mistaken, my late dad enjoyed it, too). I remember finding a used paperback copy of Princess Bride in the waiting room after my wife was wheeled in for an emergency caesarian, and reading the first page or so approximately 37 times as I waited for news of my son's birth (if that sounds strange, you try getting anywhere in a book in a situation like that). And that same son grew up wearing out the VHS tape, and cannot attend a wedding without breaking into that "Mawwidge" speech. "As you wish." "Have fun storming the castle." "Inconceivable." The quotes pepper our family's conversations. In fact, the only criticism I can muster regarding Princess Bride is that cheesy '80's synthesizer soundtrack.
Stardust is a wonderful movie as well. Based on a great book that plays with, while not mocking, many of the fundamental themes of fable and fantasy stories. There are so many wonderful moments, so many great character turns, and such a fun and positive spirit to it all.
If I am not mistaken, I read an article by Gaiman where he stated that he had been consulted during the filming, and agreed that (at least in general) the changes made between book and film were positive, making the story better suited for the media of film. We all need to learn to go into movies with an open mind, not looking for a rigid retelling of what we read on the page.
Doc Tobin
15. thegooddoctor
i loved the movie, even more so than the book, though i saw the movie before the book, so that might have something to do with it. either way, they are both fantastic.
rebekah fletcher
16. rfresa
I agree that this is one of the best fantasy movies of all time. Along with Willow, Princess Bride, and Inkheart, it's one that I couldn't stop watching over and over again until I picked out every little detail and nuance. Then I read the book and was underwhelmed. It's great, but not better than the movie by any means.
Iain Cupples
17. NumberNone
I went to see Stardust on its release with my kids - two boys, seventeen and thirteen, and a ten-year-old girl. All of us loved it. I can't think of another film in this decade that all of us loved, that each of us got something significant out of.

It's a horribly abused word, but Stardust is a real family film, for me - something for everyone. The comedy is pitched just right, not too crude or too highbrow (though Gervais is a weak point there: but it sort of works, because he's supposed to be annoying). The action scenes are used perfectly, not excessive but enough to entertain. The love story is played right too, foregrounded but not dominating the movie. And the performances are something anyone can enjoy. It's already a classic, to my eyes: can't understand anyone not liking it, but there's no accounting for taste, I guess.
18. a1ay
The pedant in me was also irritated by the two Mondays coming together in a week curse breaker, a Monday and a Forrester came together to become two Mondays

No, that's OK. Think of someone saying "I first met my wife on a ferry crossing the Channel." That's perfectly OK in common usage, even though she wasn't his wife at the time. It would be odd, though correct, to say "I first met the woman who would later become my wife"; and you certainly wouldn't say "I first met my wife at our wedding, because up to then she wasn't my wife". So the two Mondays came together that week, even though only one of them was a Monday at the time.

I can see that it could be annoying to compare the film to the book - I saw the film first, and that's definitely the order I would recommend.
Tudza White
19. tudzax1
Nope, they totally lost me with the Captain Shakespeare business. Where did they pull that character from? I was just sitting in the theater saying to myself, "I've read the book. I don't remember this at all, and I think I would remember it."
alastair chadwin
20. a-j
Great film and great article. Agree wholeheartedly.
Incidentally, I also think how this film (along with Master & Commander: The Far Side of the Earth) is a textbook example of how to adapt a novel to screen. Chop and change to allow for the different mediums, but still hold to the original spirit of the book.
I have to confess, I've never entirely understood the complaint that 'it's not like the book'. I don't want a slavish re-enactment, I want a film variant so that now I have two great versions (as with this film) or, if I'm not taken with the film, well I still have the original so nothing is lost.
Rosemary Smith
21. RoseRedFern
Amelie is another wonderful film that is quirky and delightful. I haven't watched Stardust in a while. Time for a rewatch!
Melissa Shumake
22. cherie_2137
i initially heard about the book by seeing one of the big cardboard cut-out movie promotion things at the theater. thought, ooh, that looks pretty, eventually picked up the book, and didn't see the movie for a while. go figure, right?

this is probably my favorite de niro role ever, and i absolutely love yvaine's monologue to tristan-as-a-mouse. this and everafter are probably my two favorite feel-good fairy tale love stories, and it helps that the women in both are very capable of saving themselves.
Gregg Chamberlain
23. greggchamberlain
Stardust is one of the top favourite movies for me and my anne... we love everything about it. I have read the book and think it is good, very much enjoy the Cabellian aspect... but I think, in this case, the movie is superior to the book on its own merits.
Iain Cupples
24. NumberNone
@20 a-j: I think Gaiman has been very lucky in film adaptations of his work - Coraline is another great example of how to successfully adapt a novel to work on screen.
25. Albert_Scoot
I've always enjoyed the movie very much and I'm happy to know that other people like it too. Even on the itnernet I've rarely heard it brought up in any positive light or negative but still. Their method of remaining together forever is one of my favorite happily ever afters.
26. Jason Morehead
I agree with Wizard Clip. Or, as I wrote in my review:

"It’s a wonderful story—in the book, at least. And the filmmakers get it wrong on nearly every count. What bothers me is not the stuff that they’ve added—e.g., Captain Shakespeare, a cross-dressing sky pirate played by Robert De Niro—but rather, the stuff that they’ve removed. Specifically, every bit of wit, cleverness, subtlety, mystery, and sadness that exists in the novel, and all so that they can have a big, bad-ass, pyrotechnics-filled—and utterly generic—Hollywood fantasy film....

Every time I sat through another sweeping, epic vista, or watched another slow-motion chase with galloping horses and a pounding orchestral score—all of which seemed like little more than the filmmakers begging for Lord Of The Rings comparisons—or whenever the movie tossed out a little joke or got tongue-in-cheek—Robert De Niro’s prancing, Michelle Pfeiffer’s vamped-up performance—my heart just sank at how far the filmmakers had missed the mark....

And finally, while I won’t spoil any endings, I will say this: the novel’s ending may be a good deal more melancholy, but it’s also filled with magic and grace, and is therefore much more haunting and memorable than the movie’s ‘fairy tale’ ending. This is perhaps the filmmakers’ most egregious error: they exchange a subdued-yet-perfect ending for, of course, a needless climactic battle and a denouement whose only purpose, it seems, is to ensure that certain characters receive their comeuppance—rather than the grace and forgiveness that they receive in the novel."
27. Martyn Drake
I absolutely agree - I consider it to be a classic movie. Whereas studios like New Line were trying desparately to try and cash in on the success of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings (and failing), Stardust does exactly what it says on the tin. No pretence, just good solid, fun entertainment.

Have a read of an interview with Jane Goldman about adapting Stardust for the screen. Some good insights into its making.

Interestingly there's a musical piece that's been left out the film (which I was very kindly given access to by the folks behind the film's score) - a very funny and interesting take on "What do you do with a drunken sailor?" Whether that'll ever be released on a future re-release of the film I don't know.
Brad Kane
28. bradkane
I loved Stardust, and Neil Gaiman, and if this film had been made in the 1980s (it certainly feels like it could have been), it would already be a cult classic. It was a bit too weird for mainstream success, but luckily the film got greenlit during a time in Hollywood when everyone thought fantasy was the next big thing...
29. srizzo00
I actually saw this movie before I was ever familiar with Neil Gaiman (yes, I know, I'm a latecomer), and sat down to watch it with rather low expectations (along the lines of what I would have for something like City of Ember or just about any romcom), not even knowing that it was based on a book. I remember it totally exceeding those expectations. I didnt' read the novel version until this year. FWIW, I found that I enjoyed the movie version better, on the whole.
30. Guinevere
I know I'm coming late to the party, but I have to comment because Stardust is far and away my favorite movie. I saw it eight times in theaters, bought it the day it came out, and have probably watched it more than a hundred times. I've searched and searched on the internet for people who are as into it as me and have never really found any.

I think its comparison to Princess Bride is completely apt. I'm hardpressed to think of any other fantasy movies that really match it, at least as far as the comedy and general heart-meltingness of it are concerned.

I read the book the night after I watched the movie and was utterly disappointed. The movie is a sweet fairy tale with beautiful visuals and heroic characters; the book struck me as crude and too stylistic to really draw me in as a fantasy reader. The movie definitely has its flaws, but I agree that its one of the best fantasy movies out there and it is depressingly overlooked.
31. TimmyR
Having both read the book and seen the film, I find myself wanting say for the first time ever, I much preferred the film. The characters were richer and more fully developed in the film, as was the whole story.
I found the book's ending rather disappointing, not because we're not given a nice Hollywood they-all-lived-happily-ever-after-apart-from-the-baddies-who-git-what-they-deserved, but because I didn't find the book's ending believable.
If you haven't either seen or read Stardust, my recommendation would be (I hate saying this), watch the film. You be disappointed with the book, but you won't be with film.

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