It's not the book (it would take a 6 hour miniseries to do the book exactly), but in a lot of ways it's much more the book than I expected - watching the Limbus grass scene where the Witch (Michelle Pfeiffer, beautiful and very scary) first meets Ditchwater Sal, or Tristran promising to bring Victoria a falling star, or the unicorn rescuing Tristran from the poisoned wine in the Inn just made me blink and smile in recognition. The Robert DeNiro - Ricky Gervais scene made me laugh immoderately, as did Rupert Everett's star turn as Secundus, while Charlie Cox is amazingly Tristran and transforms from geeky shopboy to confident hero through the course of the movie. Mark Strong's evil Septimus steals scenes shamelessly.
And Claire Danes is lovely, and keeps it real. I'd received a lot of "Sienna Miller!! -- how could you let them do this??!!???!" emails, so was a bit nervous, but she's great as Victoria Forester.
It looks like all the money is up on the screen. Best of all, it felt like its own thing. I've been trying to think of what to compare it to, but it's leaving me a bit blank -- it exists half-way between The Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean, and there's nothing I've seen quite like it out there in the world before.
I've asked the editor to cut a shorter version of the reel I saw to show on the Stardust panel at San Diego, so that anyone there can make up their own minds. And, I hope, exhale too.
Right. Now I'm going down to the set to watch Michelle Pfeiffer cut poor Jason Flemyng's throat with a big black obsidian-glass knife.