Monday, April 2, 2007

Just Some Glittery Bits

Last week I read Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Susanna Clarke referenced it in one of her short stories in the incomparable story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu. Stardust is a fairy adventure story with a barely-noticeable sense of humor. The plot moved quickly making it a fast, easy read. I found the characters somewhat flat and the ending a bit weak, but if you're looking for a lighthearted fairy tale that isn't too gruesome, you might enjoy this. (Note that this book contains some adult themes and language, so I wouldn't recommend it to children.) In Stardust I also recognized many elements shared with Clarke's Ladies, Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle, and Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy (all better books than Stardust).

There's a movie adaptation due out later this year starring Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer. Here's the site with the trailer if you're interested. I'm not usually pleased when Americans are cast in British roles, but on occasion an actor pulls it off. I can think of far more Brits who are successful with American accents (Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara? Sure, she was too pretty to be true to the book, but she was an irresistibly fiery Southern diva). Robert De Niro is also cast and doesn't appear to even be attempting a British accent, but on the upside you'll see Ricky Gervais (of BBC's "The Office"), Peter O'Toole, and Rupert Everett and hear Ian McKellan as narrator. The book might work even better as a movie if these fellows add more humor to the story.


Phil K. said...

Two American actresses that I always think pull off the Brit accent well are Renee Zellweger (regardless of what kind of acting chops she actually has) and Gwyneth Paltrow. Early on in Gwyneth's career I could've sworn she was a Brit native who played a lot of American characters.

What's more annoying to me is when Brit/Aussies try to play American characters. Unless they're using a Southern accent, it can be a painful experience to listen to. I'm talking Kevin-Costner-in-Robin-Hood painful. Mostly, it's the folks who play Americans on TV. See: husband on 'Medium' and the woman detective on 'CSI.' Someone who's brilliant in the crossover is Hugh Lawry in 'House.'

Phil K. said...'s Laurie...not Lawry.

Watoosa said...

Phil, agreed! Hugh Laurie is brilliant at everything he does. See his A Bit of Fry and Laurie BBC series as well as his book The Gun Seller.

I've tried to watch House a couple of times and it doesn't do anything for me, and I've really tried to like it b/c I love Hugh Laurie. I think he gets to be more himself in Britcoms.