Stardust
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Stardust (2007)

Stardust
7.2/10 by 1450 users
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In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm. His journey takes him into a world beyond his wildest dreams and reveals his true identity.

Release Date:August 9, 2007
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Genres:Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Family
Production Company:Paramount Pictures, Ingenious Film Partners, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Marv Films, Vaughn Productions
Production Countries:Iceland, United Kingdom, United States of America
Director:Matthew Vaughn, Annie Penn
Writers:, ,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:witch, based on novel, new love, prince, beauty, star, kingdom, wall, falling star, royalty, unrequited love, good vs evil, fratricide
  • Stardust -- Another Guarded Review
    July 18, 2007

    Stardust Another Guarded Review (originally written June 15, 2007)

    The marketing machine has only just begun for this one (no site yet? wth?), so I doubt most of you have heard about it. In truth, I hadn't either (sort of). When I got the posting, I thought it was another code name and was actually worried it was Transformers, one of the movies I wanted to see when not working so I can enjoy it 100% as a mere mortal movie-goer. Turns out, it wasn't Transformers and I had been aware of this movie way back when as 'that Neil Gaiman movie'.

    What is it about? Well, in short, it's a Gaiman fairy tale about a boy and a fallen star. Any more than that and I'd be giving away plot info which is (a) a breach of contract, and (b) spoiling your fun. If you really want to know what it's about, go buy the book. Rumour has it, Gaiman might be something of a writer.

    Not knowing what to expect in a movie can be so pleasant if the surprise is worthwhile. And for this one, it certainly was. This screening was 'special' in that it included not just film critics, but also exhibitors (they rarely have a mixed screening) and local sci-fi/fantasy folks. So, you know the expected audience, right? I mean, with this crowd and the title of Stardust, I knew what to expect.

    Oh how sweetly wrong I was.

    Yes, it is a fairy tale written by an author famed in comic bookdom (and even books without pictures, if those truly exist). But it was not Lord of Rings. It was not even another Lord of the Rings wannabe (ahem, Eragon). It was much more intimate than all that.

    But, like Lord of the Rings, it was the, well, humanism of the film which sells the fantastical qualities. It's surely a romantic tale, but with generous splashes of humour. Not slapstick Shrekian humour. It's more along the lines of dramedy than comedy. Before I go on, let's do this movie review thing.

    Acting is, in the very least, good. It's always hard to say more than that for fantasy films but I do believe there were significant superbly acted roles. Michelle Pfieffer is not, sadly, one of those. She plays a villain, and she does the job. Nothing special. Rupert Everett, though, he was a real jerk. That is, a great villain. Peter O'Toole is, well, Peter frickin' O'Toole -- which is marvellous. Ricky Gervais is perfectly cast and shows why. Robert De Niro seemed to be having too much fun for the most part. When he wanted to deliver the goods, though, he did. And Charlie Cox (who?) as the lead character was fine surprise from a guy I ain't never heard of.

    Claire Danes. Claire Danes. Claire Danes. I've always been of mixed opinion with her. She can be great, and then she can seem to miss the mark. In this, she's the former. And she is, quite literally, the star of this film. Sure, her accent stumbles here and there. And, yes, she's not as good as she can be when Cox isn't in the scene. However ... well, see for yourself.

    Special effects are muted yet accomplished, and only significant where they should be. Best flying ship yet -- sorry Potter. Direction is light-hearted and flows nicely. Cinematography could have been better but not everyone films in New Zealand. All else is top bracket.

    And now that that's done...

    ...the writing. Oh, the writing! Neil, you devil. It's hard in today's climate to do anything original and, at first, you begin to wonder. A kingdom, a dying King, a boy out to prove his own worth, witches, ghosts, a quest (or three) -- what's new? But Gaiman's story draws you in with its surface familiarity only to subvert it all into a sweetly original tale of a boy and his heart. And, though you suspect how it's all going to turn out, you begin to wonder in the third act and -- if you're me -- find yourself pulled into the rousing climactic confrontation and hoping for the best. In the end, you'll find this story, this movie, is what all fairy tales should be but all too often are not. Fantastical and real.

    (I wish I could talk about Septimus vs Tristan but I won't ruin it for you. For those who read the book, rest assured, it's done properly.)

    Those I spoke to afterwards had the same impression I did. A great film for all ages to enjoy, and the new {WITHHELD} for this generation. The blank gets filled-in only after the movie is in wide release because, well, you might be expecting it. You'll know when you walk out, anyway. I sincerely hope Stardust doesn't get lost among the tentpoles. Even if it does, it'll be my pleasure to push into the hands of everyone I know.

    ---

    Forgot to add the {WITHHELD} reveal. I'm a few years late, but ... "A great film for all ages to enjoy, and the new THE PRINCESS BRIDE for this generation."

    Perhaps a bit lofty an assessment but I'm still confident that years from now, there will be the same "Oh, I love that movie," response to this as there is now for The Princess Bride.

    (Edited for grammar and stuff. Still rather spastic in tone and flow. I am not Gaiman. Duh.)