Monday, October 22, 2007

Fairy tales

As you may have heard by now, the great Albus Dumbledore is gay.

I don't know why, but news of J.K. Rowling outing the Hogwarts headmaster delighted me.
After a lot of his human qualities were brought to fore in the last Harry Potter book, this additional facet to the lovable wizard's eccentric and engaging personality seems to make sense, somehow, and makes the character even more interesting and 3-dimensional. Now I feel like rereading the entire HP series just to detect the subtle clues Rowling dropped along the way regarding Dumbledore's sexual orientation (including details of his relationship with Grindenwald). But that will have to wait, as I still have plenty of books waiting on my bedside table and already looking to populate my reading list for 2008.

Speaking of rereading, I wish I had gone over Neil Gaiman's Stardust before finally watching the movie yesterday (I was in New York when it started showing here in Manila). I remember the plot in general, but some details are hazy (I have no recollection whatsoever of Captain Shakespeare having a, um, closet secret), so I can't judge the film as an adaptation. However, b
ased on how I enjoyed the book and the movie, I can give this very concise comparison: the book was funnier, but the movie had Robert DeNiro. :)

By itself, Stardust the movie is a very fun romp. It's hard not to be entertaining when you've got all the reliable elements of an old-fashioned fairy tale: wicked witches, swashbuckling pirates, scheming royalty, damsels in distress, and a handsome young hero (when I first saw the trailer, I thought Charlie Cox, who played Tristan Thorn, would make a good Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, but after seeing the movie, I now nominate Ben Barnes-- young Dunstan Thorn-- to play the eldest and cutest Weasley son). Stardust was also driven by star power, with outstanding performances by Michelle Pfeiffer as the witch Lamia and living legend DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare. Bit roles filled in by well-known British actors like Peter O'Toole, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, and Ian McKellen (as the narrator) were a bonus. Even overrated Sienna Miller was fairly convincing as shallow village belle Victoria. I do wish they had cast a prettier actress for the part of Yvaine, but Claire Danes' acting skills and British accent were adequate. The special effects, makeup, and costumes were expertly done, although there was one major lapse in editing I noticed but could easily pardon. All in all, I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars, and a handful of stardust for good measure.


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