Rated PG-13; Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Mark Strong, Kate Magowan, Jason Flemyng

How can I describe Stardust? With pirates, evil witches, ghosts, royal quests, and cross-dressers, Stardust is one of those films that defy categorization, though fantasy-adventure-romance may work as a jumbled category. With a good cast, lovely special effects, and an interesting story that never seems to lag, Stardust requires that willing suspension of disbelief to even begin to buy into the plot. Luckily this is not hard at all.

With opening narration by Ian McKellan, the story is instantly set up letting us know that we are not watching a normal adventure movie. Magic exists in the land of Stormhold, a land that lies within Victorian England, separated by one stone wall. Young Tristran (Charlie Cox), who finds love a rocky proposition with town beauty Victoria (Sienna Miller), enters Stormhold. Though trying to find his lost mother who is imprisoned by a witch Charlie stumbles into Yvaine, a star newly fallen from the heavens (see, willing suspension of disbelief). Unbeknownst to Tristran and Yvaine an evil witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) is out to find the fallen star for her own dastardly plans.

Based on a Neil Gaiman novel, the movie not only offers plenty of thrills and adventure, we also get some laughs. Unlike other movies, the humor isn’t at the expense of the story and adds to its charm. We watch conniving princely brothers meet their less than accidental deaths and the ghostly chorus they become, an ensorcelled goat can’t quite get the hang of being human, and a dreaded pirate (Robert De Niro) may not be that dreadful.

The delight in watching Stardust is the way that director Matthew Vaughn goes for it. A sense of splendor fills scenes. Whether watching the witch pace on towering cliff sides or a flying pirate boat harvesting lightning, it’s beautifully filmed.

Charlie Cox makes Tristran correctly awkward and innocent. Claire Danes brings the romance to the story and is an effective Yvaine. Michelle Pfeiffer has fun as the nasty witch determined to capture Yvaine (between this film and Hairspray, Ms. Pfeiffer is finding a new career playing film baddies). The entire cast is good in this movie.

Stardust has some weak moments, but manages to move along briskly, never boring the audience. It’s a strange creature that wholeheartedly goes for the romance and magic and isn’t ruined by too twee a tone or too serious an attitude. Stardust keeps things just right.


11 Responses to “Stardust”

  1. DilettanteVille Stardust review « Says:

    […] I liked it. Here is my review. Posted in Film, Reviews, […]

  2. townes Says:

    You need to tone down your reviews. You covered the movie so well I almost don’t feel the need to see it. 🙂

    One question. Do you think Michelle Pfeiffer is being casted as “baddies” because she’s getting older? Is it a step down or a chance to stretch her acting chops?

  3. dilettanteville Says:

    Yep, a gorgeous young actress gets all the leading roles, but when she ages? She better find something that will see her through that awkward stage called middle age. Then once she gets old enough she can play the spunky old lady characters and find plenty of good roles.

    So while she’s at this awkward stage she chose two good movies and used her looks and wonderful voice to play the scheming villainess. I wonder what she does next?

  4. townes Says:

    Middle age? What is this “middle age” you speak of? 🙂

    If it were up to me, she’d be doing a leading lady role next. I’m mean, let’s get real here, how long will George Clooney be getting starring roles? (Why am I suddenly a flaming femenist?!?!?!?)

    It’s like this, if I had to have brain surgery, I’d want a doctor with experience, not some lowly “noob”. Same thing applies to my movie watching. Let the kids get their chops on TV and leave the movies to the grownups. Well, not really but it just ain’t fair!

  5. Cassidy Says:

    Michelle P. In This Movie Right?????????

  6. dilettanteville Says:

    Cassidy, yes, she plays the evil witch.

  7. It was a poor effort Says:

    This was a disaster – anyone who had read the book would know that the movie totally misdjudged the pace.

    The acting is sub-par. Robert De Niro was horrible.

    And the obtrusive score was the most annoying thing – just because you make it loud and ‘epic-sounding’ doesn’t make the story epic. Someone clearly wanted this to take on a “Lord of the Rings” tone (and no, I’m not a fan of LOTR, I’ve only even seen the first movie), but they forgot this was supposed to be a little fairy-tale with some post-modern humour thrown in.

    And yeah there are laughs, but they really let down the source material with their delivery

  8. dilettanteville Says:

    Interesting. I had not read the book, so have no comparisons. I didn’t feel they were necessarily going for the epic mode for the movie, but the music may have fallen into that category.

  9. Jeanne Says:

    It is impossible to make a movie that follows a book in every exact detail. The book is sort of mangled and spangled, like a puzzle where pieces are added along the way, with dry humour sprinkled on here and there. If you do a movie in that style, nobody will understand the plot! The movie is not meant to replace the book!

    Personally I think that the movie is a good representation of the plot…it’s just a comedy! And People should go watch it!

  10. Heather x Says:

    I thought stardust was brillant! I went to see it for mah birthday I loved it. I recomend it for people who love: Romace
    10/10 ******

  11. iamWillow Says:

    Wow! Is the only words that escape my mind at the moment. I thought the movie was brilliant. A good love story always is. Especially when a boy turns into a man trying to capture the heart of his true love and finds out it wasn’t who he actually thought it would be. That is Living Out adVentures emotionally L.O.V.E! Not very many men do that. Charlie Cox played an outstanding young man looking for a star to suit his mindful thought of love, and found out that love is so much more than he truley knew…
    I say I’m ready to for the next MOVIE… Good job!

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