I caught Stardust at 10AM last Sunday along with about fifty other people. It felt strange to be watching a movie so early on a weekend in the theater, but the movie was well worth that minor discomfort. Hell, Robert de Niro's performance alone was worth both the price of admission and the snacks I bought, with the Dead Prince Peanut Gallery making up for any loose change that de Niro might not have covered.
It was such a beautiful film filled with gratuitous witchery and prince-death, Stupid Hero Tricks, and enough darkness to remind you when you might forget that, no, this isn't a Disney Fairy Tale. Alas, though, it didn't perform nearly well enough in its opening weekend to have it stick around in theaters. So if you want to catch it on the big screen, it would behoove you to do so this weekend. And bring some friends, maybe see about turning the box office numbers around.
I thought about why Stardust didn't do better. I mean, c'mon, it's friggin Neil Gaiman. If he can't draw a big crowd, then there's no hope of any of the rest of us SFers making a big splash in Hollywood. My yet-to-be-published novels are already sad about this. The only possible explanation I could muster was that the male SF community was mad for Rush Hour 3 (or, to be more generous to the other sex, The Bourne Ultimatum) instead. Then I remembered that Flash Gordon was having its season premiere on SciFi that Friday as well. Yet another draw for the SF community. Then I actually watched that premier during one of its re-airs and figured anyone who had watched that in favor of even Rush Hour 3 wad no doubt kicking themselves all the way to the theater the next night. I never quite got in synch with the characters' reactions to what was happening, and then there was the problem that No Female Shall Be Anything Other Than Brunette. With Similar Facial Features and Body Type. At least they messed around with their hairstyles. This phenomenon, though, was especially problematic when they tossed one of the women in a harem, also full of brunettes who looked nearly identical, even in height.
Anyway, if you haven't yet seen Stardust, you should really go see it. If not for yourself, do it for the future of quality SF books getting made into movies.