– Summary –
Director : Matthew Vaughn
Year Of Release : 2007
Principal Cast : Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Mark Strong, Kate Magowan, Nathaniel Parker, Joanna Scanlan, Sarah Alexander, Sienna Miller, David Kelly, Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellan, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Henry Cavill.
Approx Running Time : 122 Minutes
Synopsis: In the 1800’s, the clumsy teenager Tristan Thorn crosses the wall in the border of his town to the magic realm of Stormhold to bring a fallen star to his beloved Victoria, a spoiled girl that does not love him but has promised to marry him if he accomplishes his promise.
What we think : Delightful fantasy film delivers plenty of laughs, action and romance – the perfect antidote to all the troubles of your life, with both Claire Danes and Charlie Cox leading a stellar cast through this enthralling story. A great film.
Touted as a mix between Lord of The Rings and Romeo & Juliet, Stardust is a wonderfully captivating romantic journey through a bizarre world of fantasy and witchcraft. With lavish cinematography, some great effects, and a heartfelt storyline filled with great characters, Stardust is a definite must-see fantasy genre film of the highest order.
Based upon the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, and compressed into a two hour flick, Stardust manages to encompass all elements of the story while retaining a decent sense of continuity and intelligence. Directed with care and a seeming abandon to genre cliches by Matthew Vaughn, Stardust bends, and often breaks, conventions in this style of fantasy cinema, and while perhaps not remaining faithful to the original story (and let’s be honest, how many films are actually completely faithful to the original story?) still engages the audience.
Tristan (Charlie Cox) is a young lad of dubious heritage in search of adventure and love. The woman he loves (Sienna Miller) is as shallow vixen intent on marriage, and pursued by a much wealthier man. Of course, the path of love never running smoothly, the vixen sends Tristan on a quest to find the falling star they saw on a romantic night out.
Searching for a falling star is not as easy as you’d imagine for a young lad, especially when that star takes human form in the shape of the delectable Claire Danes. Trouble is, the star is also being hunted by less than reputable folk who seek to rule a kingdom overlorded by a dying king (Peter O’Toole, in a role reminiscent of the execrable dying king in Caligula) as well as a witch bent on regaining her lost youth. The many plot permutations in the film are satisfyingly expanded in the narrative, with plenty of decent character development throughout. Okay, so it’s no Lord Of The Rings, and it’s certainly no Romeo & Juliet, but Stardust does give the romantics watching a pleasant night out in front of the screen.
There are particular performances that stand out; Danes is luminous as Yvaine, both in performance and literally. Robert DeNiro is a scream as a sky pirate who is less than what he seems, (wink wink), and Michelle Pfeiffer manages to create a genuine sense of evil with her portrayal of the aging witch Lamia. I was less impressed with Charlie Cox’s boyish charm, but he still managed to engage me as a viewer into his plight. He had genuine chemistry with Danes, which made their ethereal relationship all the more substantial.
Special effects are dynamite in this flick, and it is definitely an effect heavy film. Hardly a moment goes by without something magical happening, and it’s easy to see that the majority of the $70 million budget is up on the screen for all to see. As a fan of effects films, you might think that somewhere along the way the effects fall over, get squashed in amongst each other, but the film holds up well, with nary a dodgy effect anywhere.
Perhaps the strangest thing on display here was the level of violence throughout the film. Not so much explicit, as implied. The sons of the dying king all sit about in ghostly form as they invariably die off, commenting on the live proceedings with a wry sense of humor. People are dispatched to the hereafter in all manner of ways, and although not gory or bloody in any way, the film does tend towards the more violent a fair bit, for a PG film. The themes are in keeping with the tone of the original graphic novel, although subdued substantially, as well as the sexual overtones throughout. The fun of the film is marred somewhat by some random violence that’s out of style with the rest of the film, yet this can be overlooked as simply generating the relevant amount of tension the story demands.
Overall, Stardust is an exceptionally exquisite adventure for older kids and adults alike, with enough humor and action to keep even the most obtuse viewer engaged.