Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Went to a preview of Stardust tonight. Now, I don't know if it was the heavy pimping that creator Neil Gaiman was doing on his blog (heavy self-advertisement from someone as universally loved and famously level-headed as Neil Gaiman I tend to regard at times as more trepidation than triumph for some strange reason) or if it was my pessimism about most comic book movies getting to me, but I was bracing myself for a disappointment.

Well, if I were Mr. Gaiman, I would have been working it like he was too. He must be, quite honestly, very proud. Stardust the film was a perfect reproduction of the 4-part series beautifully rendered by Charles Vess. No over the top special effects for special effects sake, no fart jokes or animals voiced by Eddie Murphy inserted to play to the lowest common denominator. Just a superior story told through picturesque sets, wondrous special effects with an eye toward restraint and beauty rather than "look what we can do," nicely done action sequences, and classic character archetypes. Especially impressive -- no dumbing it down "for the children." It was, in fact, a great family film, and also a very romantic love story. Casting choices were lovely. Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer were absolutely amazing. In a word: quality.

I love stories that can so seamlessly transport you into a fantasy world and hold you there, rapt, right up until the final page. If you are familiar with Gaiman, it goes without saying that he has a gift for conjuring forth vibrant, whimsical, exhilirating, and dangerous fantasy worlds -- but with just enough of the real to seduce and allow your imagination building rights on it. And the fans' imaginations do run wild. That is why it is such a daunting task to try to put Gaiman's -- and so many other beloved authors' -- creations to film. So to take this story and make such a successful visual of it, that's something. Lovely lovely film.

Alan Moore, take note -- Neil was a producer on this one.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Mark said...

Funny how Alan Moore despises all these movies, but all the corresponding artists (Kevin O'Neill, David Lloyd, Dave Gibbons) all seem to enjoy the process. That said, V FOR VENDETTAs producer did lie rather shamelessly about having Moore's approval, tipping the great man over the edge on this subject.

The fact remains that Gaiman loves cinema, wants to be a movie maker, and Moore doesn't give a f**k. So when a producer rolls up and asks to make a movie of even something Moore owns the rights to - such as FROM HELL, he was prepared to take the check, and turn his back. But when its DC exacerbating their already poisoned relationship with him, (and yes, they've pretty much stolen his rights to V) well, then he's prepared to give long quotes undermining the project to any media hack looking for a story.

August 2, 2007 at 3:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

Probably should have been "whereas Moore doesn't give a f**k" there. I'm sure if his great mate Gaiman wants to be a movie maker, big Al's right behind Neil's decision.

August 2, 2007 at 3:22:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

Hey Saudade,

Excellent post! Stardust was way beyond what I expected, and I think both you and Mark say about Gaiman and Moore is right on. In Gaiman's case, he was willing to put in the time, and thus received the benefits, of being a producer. That said, when you compare the Company Credits for Stardust and V for Vendetta--V4V included both Warner and DC, while SD, yeah has paramount, but just wasn't as big a production. Less people means more control on the individual level.

Moore not only doesn't have a lot of respect for the cross-over from comic to film, and has no interest in involving himself (as Mark points out), but also would never had the same chance to affect his creation's cinematic life.

That's one of the things I really enjoyed about SD--it had good effects, and a great cast, but still had the feel of a small, creative, and independent film.

August 2, 2007 at 4:34:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

Hah! Just checked IMDB.

SD's budget = $65,000,000
V4V's budget = $54,000,000

Guess SD was a less of an indie than I thought!

August 2, 2007 at 4:36:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Regardless of the reaming Moore was subjected to by DC, I do think he would do well to take opportunities to consult or produce on at least non-DC projects. The film adaptations of League and From Hell stood to be much improved -- to at least reach for the bar his stories set rather than being allowed to create a whole new abysmally low one. And I love Alan Moore, but his harping after the fact always annoys me. If he really doesn't care about the film versions, take the money and really run, Alan, don't comment on what you didn't try to make better and that you supposedly abhor.

Granted, he may not have been given the opportunities, and if that's the case, it's a real shame.

Anyway, Gaiman is doing something right. Whether he's out to be a moviemaker, he's been given more creative influence, or he's just lucky**, this film adaptation was awesome. He's set his own bar for film versions now.

**Actually, it's probably just because he works like a madman and is so damn nice. It would be good to see that actually still gets you somewhere.

August 2, 2007 at 10:16:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

Yup. If Moore played the game, asked for script approval, producer credit, etc, FROM HELL could have been much better. But even then, I don't think DC would have necessarily felt obliged to let him have any influence on LXG or V4V (aren't these abbreviations cute?).

Still, I'd attest that it's Moore's single-mindedness that has made him the great artist he is, so I forgive him readily.

August 3, 2007 at 1:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Heh, reminds me of car names -- presenting the Toyota LXG, now with a V4V engine. Just too bad it's a lemon!

August 4, 2007 at 11:58:00 PM PDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home