A week or so ago, I walked by a used book store that I'd seen before, but never stopped in to see. I decided I had at least a few minutes, and would check for a couple of specific items. I didn't find those books, but did happen across Gaiman's Stardust, the movie of which I talked about before.
Anyway, I got around to starting it yesterday, and, being too tired to finish it last night, I did so today (greatly aided by my little one taking an extended nap this morning).
I had figured, what with Gaiman being one of the producers of the movie, that the two versions would be pretty similar. After all, as producer, Gaiman would be in a position to enforce that. I had expected not much in the way of changes, other than as needed to shorten it.
I was greatly surprised, then, to find that the two bore very little resemblance to one another. In fact, only in the very broadest of sweeps are they even similar. Only one sequence remained pretty intact, which was the in the Inn of the Chariot. And even that one had some pretty sizable changes. It had the same people doing mostly the same things. Oddly, the differences were pretty much all in the movie version being longer (plus one character ending up dead in the book and another getting an injury).
Robert De Niro's character might as well have not even existed in the novel, for all that he appeared. And there certainly wasn't any discrepancy in his appearance vice his reputation. And the novel was worse for it, I'll admit.
And the final confrontation with Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer's character) bore not even the slightest resemblance to that in the movie. In the movie, Tristran fights with her; in the book, he doesn't even realize the encounter takes place.
Without getting too deeply into details (I'm trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible, here), I'm at a bit of a loss as to which I like better. The movie lacks some cohesiveness (the encounter that results in Tristran being born feels much less contrived in the book, and a few things just happen much too quickly in the movie), but it does have a more poetic ending. And, it being a fairy tale (not from the brothers Grimm), this makes a lot of sense. Plus, the build-up of the relationship between Yvaine and Tristran is much better in the movie (it's assumed too much in the book, although that might be, at least partially, a function of target age. And no, I'm not talking about sex; just that we can see a build-up of affection for one another much more in the movie).
But as I said, the book does a much better job of getting all the little things right.
So where does that leave us? Enjoying them both, I suppose.