Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Road Trip Wednesday! A return! A (Whitman) reference!

This! Week's! RTW! Topic!
What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?
I am on tenterhooks, here, waiting to see what everyone else comes up with. Because, while the drive behind this question SHOULD be inherently positive—let's congratulate Hollywood on something awesome, people!—the answer that popped immediately into my head had less to do with Hollywood's rare good work than it did with source material that I found so abysmally abysmal that I basically threw it into the dusty corner of a rarely attended study abroad office in Moscow and never looked back.

The hilarity, folks, of following up on my "haters gonna hate" call to kindness after SEVEN MONTHS of radio silence with an RTW post on a book I couldn't run fast enough away from, I hated it so much…well, it's not lost on me. Not one bit. Especially given the pedigree of the book in question.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then: I contradict myself. Blah blah large, blah blah multitudes. And a big round of applause for good ol' Walt.

Anyhow, the book/film pair I'm talking about here is Neil Gaiman's STARDUST.

[via Goodreads]
[via Tumblr, of course]
And the fact that anyone could see through the dull dull dullness that was the entire story in the book to any kind of golden kernel that might even be turned into a passable film, well. To say I was "impressed" would be putting it mildly.

And here's the thing: I love almost EVERYTHING Neil Gaiman writes! Really, really love it. He's all clever and chatty and thorough and odd. But his STARDUST was just so FLAT, with characters that seemed hardly to speak to one another at all, let alone enough to constitute a burgeoning affection and eternal love—I just could NOT get into it. Rather, I did the opposite of get into it, whatever that might be.

Look: I'm absolutely willing to entertain the idea that I was somehow standing in my own way with this one. I'd seen the film first, at a random outdoor mall on the highway LITERALLY on my way from my home in Wyoming to the airport in Denver, where I was getting on the plane to go to Russia for half a year.

Obviously I didn't just walk out of the theater loving it, but also having formed an abnormal attachment to it as the nucleus of the final home-y experience I'd have for months. And then I bought the paperback at a bigboxbookstore to have on the plane, hoping, I guess, for a way to продолжать, to draw out the original experience. And we all know how THOSE plans typically go.

But look, too: I'm a good reader. I know what I like and what I don't and I can usually pinpoint exactly why. And I did NOT like the book.

But I love love love the film. So, Hollywood? Thanks a million. And, you know what, thanks Neil Gaiman, for writing a book that better people than me could see the cinematic promise in.

As for all you Gaiman-fans, don't hate me.

No accounting for taste, right?

Intense Debate Comments