Stardust Hit Me and LeftComplications Ensue
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, but STARDUST is one of his lightest and fluffiest stories. It's just a big fairy tale romance with no dark undercurrents. Sure, there are cartoon baddies, and that's the fun of it. But unless I am missing something, there's nothing much going on under the surface. The book hit me and left.

I actually saw STARDUST a week or two ago, and it just occurred to me that I haven't thought about it much at all, either.

I did have one big structural thought...


I was shocked at what seemed to me a Screenwriting 101 mistake in the last act. All through Act Two we're in on the secret that Yvaine, the fallen star, is in love with Tristan. And she declares her love to him when he's a hamster. And naturally, he doesn't tell her when he becomes human again (without struggle) that he loves her too. Then off he goes to make his Big Third Act Mistake, to unnecessarily tell his ex-crush that he no longer wants her, putting Yvaine in grave danger when she's kidnapped.

Later on, midway through Tristan's battle for Lamia, Lamia claims that she's glad that Tristan is fighting for Yvain, because Yvaine is much more valuable to her as psychic energy if her heart is unbroken. Shortly after, Yvain blows Lamia away with the incandescence of her love, and then tells Tristan, "I could not have done that before," because stars can only shine when their heart is unbroken.

So here's the obvious mistake I'm seeing. Would it not have been an obviously better choice to have Tristan fail to mention that he loves Yvain before he abandons her (right after sleeping with her), thus breaking her heart?

Then we can have Yvaine wrongly assuming that he's only returned to fight Lamia because he wants, say, the throne. Yvain only realizes that he does actually love her midway through the battle, when he, say, ignores a good offer from Lamia in order to save his girl.

More suspense for Yvaine. More suspense for the audience. Lamia's statement makes more sense now, and it makes more sense that Yvaine's superpower (super shininess?) is only restored moments before she blows Lamia away.

Did anyone else wonder about that?



You make very good points. I did feel like something was off when watching the movie, but wasn't able to articulate it. Thanks for the analysis!

By Blogger CKL, at 8:35 PM  

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