I often find that I need to give a movie a “break” before I see it, if I’ve heard too much about it beforehand. Perhaps I’ve heard so many good things about the movie, and I worry that my expectations are too high. Or maybe I’ve heard so many troubling things that I worry that my opinion may be predisposed to be negative. Whatever the case, it often means that I miss out on seeing it in the theatre and have to settle for DVD, but I feel it’s the only way that I can give the movie a fair shake, that I can judge it on its own merits.
I suppose it’s an odd little quirk of mine, but it’s served me well in the past. And so I did it for Stardust, an adaptation of what is most certainly my favorite of Neil Gaiman’s works. I had read some troubling things—e.g., negative reviews that pointed towards disturbing changes to the storyline—but I resolved to watch the film as fairly as possible, keeping in mind all of the usual caveats concerning literary adaptations. It was an endeavor that proved pointless about thirty minutes into the film: Stardust was much worse than anything I had steeled myself for.