Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stardust, Short Story Sunday, And A Sad Article

I finally made it out to see Stardust tonight and I was so pleased with it! I can't wait for the DVD release of this movie now and I came home wanting to dive right back into the novel for the second time this year. The movie started out a bit rocky for me. It took me a little while to get out of critic mode. My main complaints were with the beginning of the movie in that it was too rushed, the every 9 years fair didn't exist (it was instead just a part of "Stormhold"), and all of Faerie became known as simply Stormhold...but I can overlook that with how wonderful the rest of the movie was done. Sure there were some other parts that weren't exactly like the book, but what movie is?

The casting was absolutely wonderful! Claire Daines as Yvaine was a perfect fit. She played the part wonderfully and I think they did a terrific job with translating her character onto the screen. Michelle Pfeifer deserves a nomination for her portrayal as Lamia. She did such an amazing job and I so looked forward to her screen time. Her final battle was superb. Charlie Cox as Trist(r)an was another great casting decision. This guy did such a great job with the part. Perfectly done. And Deniro...I was so leary about what they were doing with Captain Shakespeare, but it was....well, fabulous.

The ending, which I won't talk about, was totally different from the book...well not totally, but yes totally, you'll just have to see for yourself. But it worked for the movie version. I wish that they would have filmed the book ending as well to put on the DVD, but Neil has already said on his blog that they did not :(

All in all, I was very pleased with the movie, the special effects were amazing, the acting was top notch, and the story...well it's Gaiman! Entertainment at it's best. I loved it. For fans of the book, as hard as it is, go into it realizing that no book is going to translate perfectly to the screen...some changes are going to have to be made for the wider audience and for times sake. Just pretend that Peter Jackson didn't do such a good job with Lord of the Rings :p

Next topic: I've decided that I'm still adding stuff to the RIP Challenge! I'm also going to take up the additional peril of Short Story Sunday. For this peril, I'm going to be imbibing in the Wizards collection, which contains 18 stories by some amazing authors. This will work out nicely with 2 stories per Sunday, so I think I'm going to start that this Sunday! And it begins with the first chapter of Neil Gaiman's forthcoming The Graveyard Book!

And finally, I wanted to point everyone to this very disappointing article on CNN's website that you may have seen floating around on other people's blogs. It's an article about the reading habits of Americans. According to the article, "One in four Americans read no books last year". I couldn't believe that! That's so sad. The whole article is sad really. I sort of surround myself in this little book blogging bubble where everyone reads and forget how small of a chunk of the population we really are. It's unfortunate that more of us don't read. The "typical reader" of America....the person who actually does read, still only reads 4 books a year. Which I'm not complaining about, that's still wonderful! But it's so sad how unpopular reading has become. So I really, honestly want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone out there who does sponsor these reading challenges, or works as a librarian, or works in a bookstore, or writes, or reads, or recommends a book to a friend. It's important to keep books out there and to keep those minds working!

OK, I'm off my high horse :p


Quixotic said...

Ooh, now I wish I'd bought Wizards back with me from Wales...will have to write it on my list of things to bring when I visit the house in three weeks.

I'm going to have a tantrum if you Americans keep talking about Stardust!! ;)

I'm not surprised by that article really. I imagine the statistics for this country would be similar. Our current flatmate doesn't read at all, and turned his nose up when he saw me reading. The same guy doesn't know how to amuse himself most of the time, and spends much of his spare time looking at videos on youtube and watching Big Brother. Sigh. I do not understand how I always seem to end up surrounded by people who find it hard to comprehend the love of reading. It seems desperately unfair!

Rhinoa said...

I am not reading your review on Stardust as it isn't out in the UK yet and I haven't read the book or graphic novel yet. I can't wait to see it and I keep seeing previews and reviews on tv.

I think I'm just going to read what I can for the RIP challenge and see where it takes me. I have too much going on over the enxt two months to be any more organised.

I know what you mean about being sad when you find out others don't read. My close friends are all keen readers, but when I am out it suprises me that others don't read at all. My sister also only reads books she has to for work and I can't remember seeing her read a book for pure enjoyment for many years, if ever.

Debi said...

Oh, I so want to go see that movie, but I haven't read the book yet *hanging head in shame*...though I did finally buy it a few weeks ago. After joining the OUaT challenge, I was introduced to a whole new world and have sooooooo much catching up to do!

That article was depressing! I have to admit, I was very surprised. Most everyone I know truly does love to read. Guess I don't get out much, huh? (Well, only to the book stores and the library!)

DesLily said...

i go in spurts.. I go for some time reading or rereading favorites... then for reasons I don't know I seem to come to a screeching halt and barely read..this has been my way for all my life.. maybe life gets in the way.. maybe my depressions.. whatever, at least I always seem to get back to it!

Chris said...

Quix, You still have plenty of time! Knowing you, I'm sure you have plenty of other short story collections lying around that will hold you over for three weeks ;) But definitely get it next time your there so we can compare notes!

Just look at it this way...the wait will only make Stardust that much better ;) least I hope...and I'll have a tantrum if you Brits don't stop talking about your wonderfully cool weather and lush landscapes :p

It really is sad that people don't read! Like I said...I guess, I guess I get stuck in my own little book world and forget that others don't read. I've been looked at like an alien before when talking about books!

Rhinoa, I keep forgetting it's not out in the UK yet, which is just horrible. They all have British accents and live in England! Yet the movie comes out here first...makes no sense.

I'm entirely over organized for the RIP challenge. There's no way I'm going to get to that many books, but hey..I like to pretend ;)

Debi, I think you'll love both the book and the movie when you get a chance to read and see them. They're both wonderful. The world you were introduced to with the OUaT challenge is indeed a wonderful one ;) And there are endless amounts of books to be read in it! It's my favorite genre, so I definitely look forward to you discovering it!

Depressing is right! I was surprised to by the article. That's just so sad and so upsetting. It makes me want to start a big reading campaign! JK Rowling needs to write another series :p That will get more people reading!

Deslily, I used to be like that, though for the past 4 or 5 years, I've been a steady reader. Before that though sometimes I would go a whole year without reading a book (except for school books). I think a big part of that was being in school and not wanting to read any more than what I was forced to read for school.

Marina said...

Chris--glad to see that someone picked up the article and did some commentary--I posted it to my blog yesterday, but wasn't up for writing much more (and it didn't help that I was getting drained from all the other writing I've been doing).

Like you, I was a steadily voracious reader pre- and post-college. In a good year, I can get through over 100, and normal years usually mean 1/week. Someday, I'll get my logs together and have a more complete life list, but I know I'll have big gaps anyway.

Chris said...

Marina, I actually found the article through you! :p 100 was going to be my goal this year, but that's just not going to happen. I'm at 42 at the end of August, and 58 books in 4 months won't work for me! I've been hovering at about a book per week as well.

Carl V. said...

I've already read a few of the Wizards stories and plan to read some from that book for my short story Sundays as well.

Glad you finally got to see Stardust and that you enjoyed it.

I may be a bit 'head in the sand', but I don't stress about those articles. You notice at the end of the article that the publishing industry still made 3% more than last year, so that is telling. What I rarely see is statistics from the reported 'good old days' of book reading to compare with the more recent stats.

It is somewhat romantic to think that before tv and the internet that people were necessarily reading more. I need to see some solid proof that they were. Common sense would dictate that long ago reading was only for the educated and the wealthy, so the readers vs. non-readers certainly wasn't a bigger percentage in the good old days.

And what about this past century? Wars that took up several decades, the Depression, periods of great economic instability, etc. certainly affected whether or not people even had time to read back in our parents' parents generation.

I guess I just don't buy it. I rarely am in a bookstore in which I don't have to wait in a line, and again, publishers made profit last year.

I'm not naive, I realize not everyone reads, but is it REALLY that much less than if tv and the internet weren't so prominent? Do they ever count people who read a bunch online? Or who read lots of magazines and newspapers and other media? That is reading too.

Okay, time to get off MY soapbox now. ;)

Nymeth said...

I'm one of those people who do compare movies to books in their heads, even though I know it IS silly. I'm going to make a special effort to keep them apart when it comes to Stardust, because I really want to enjoy the movie for what it is. I have to say that it saddens me that they changed the ending, though :( The ending is, for me, one of the things that make the book so beautiful and so special, so touching and bittersweet.

Like you, I live in my own little bubble and often forget that many people don't read. They are missing out. It's just that there are so many kinds of books out there that no one can really say they "don't like reading". There have to be books out there that they would enjoy. It's too bad they won't give them a try.

You'll love Wizards, I'm sure! I really look forward to reading your thoughts on the stories.

Chris said...

Carl, Point well taken. 3% is indeed a huge increase in sales when you think about it. I guess that reading is just such a huge passion of mine that I get upset that not everyone does it :p But then again, there are things that the vast majority of the population enjoys that I don't...such as NASCAR :p Upon further examination of the article, I did however see that the sample size was just slightly over 1000 people! Which really takes alot of the credibility out of the study...Even if chosen randomly, the sample size is way to small.

Nymeth, It's only the VERY end that's been in like the last page. But I know exactly what you mean...I thought that the ending was very bittersweet and one of the most memorable parts of Stardust. The hardest part of the movie for me though was the beginning, so once you get through that, you're in for a treat!

There really is something (talking about books now ;) out there for everyone if only they'd give it a try. But like I told Carl, I guess reading isn't everyone's thing and it's hard for me to remember that. But darn it, I wish people would give it a shot!

Very much looking forward to Wizards, especially after your review!

Bookfool said...

First - gotta read that book and see the movie. I think I have it on my growing RIP stack.

Second - the statistics are unbelievable. I know a woman who never reads because, "I just HATE books!" She doesn't own a single book - not one! Weird. I feel like I'm way behind, this year, and I've read 73.

Chris said...

73?!! What's wrong with you Bookfool...pick up the slack! Kidding of course, what's a normal year for you? I can't imagine someone hating books :(

I hope you do read Stardust! It's a wonderful book!

Trish said...

I've wanted to see Stardust, and you're review has pushed me over the edge. Sounds great!

On another note about the article you refer to. I haven't read it, but I can commiserate. I was teaching college freshman last year and as a freewrite I asked them to talk about what they read, etc. I would say 10 out of 60 actually read books. Of course, these are 18 yos, but I was still reading for fun on top of my school reading. I guess we are too few...Thanks for posting the information!

Chris said...

Trish, I'm glad to hear that someone's wanting to see Stardust! :) It was such a good movie! That's so sad about your college freshman...I was reading tons at 18, but like you said, we must have been exceptions to the rule. I'm telling you...we need to start an all out reading campaign!!! lol....

Trish said...

Chris - we went and saw Stardust last night and LOVED IT. I've been looking on your blog to see if you've also read the book because Hubby was asking about it. Usually I don't read the book after I've already seen the movie, but I'm sure there was a lot left out (as usual).

Reading campaign sounds great. 18 yos are tricky specimen, though!

Chris said...

Trish, If you loved the movie, you'll love the book even more! It's everything that the movie was, but tons more. There are so many adventures and side notes that had to be left out of the movie due to time constraints and the book is one that will always be a very special one to me. I'm sure that both you and your husband would enjoy it. If you do read the book, I highly recommend the illustrated version. It really adds a lot to the story!

Steven Lee said...

I love Sci-Fi.I am so happy I came upon your blog. It is a wonderful blog. I enjoyed reading every bit of it.

Chris said...

Well thanks Steven ;) Always happy to find another sci-fi fan! Thanks for stopping by!