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Stardust Another Guarded Review originally written June 15, The marketing machine has only just begun for this one no site yet? In truth, I hadn't either sort of. 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. 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. Rupert Everett, though, he was a real jerk. That is, a great villain. 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? 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.

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.

Stardust (novel) - Wikipedia

Cinematography could have been better but not everyone films in New Zealand. All else is top bracket. And now that that's done 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. 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.

Like the star that falls to Earth near the beginning of the movie, Stardust is glittery and pretty and possesses its own pleasing-enough personality, but it won't set the world on fire. You could call it a cousin of 'Time Bandits' or 'The Princess Bride', but it lacks the former's originality and the latter's heart. A stern editor with a sense of dramatic timing could have given this film more tension to go with its random bursts of comedy and big, happy fantasy setpieces, but lacking tautness, it'll have to settle for expansive joy.

This is utterly formulaic. True, there are a few jokes, but as they are all extraordinarily lame, this can't be called a send-up. The movie boasts a stellar cast, even in the smallest roles, and they play their parts with gusto. Stardust has a sense of whimsy and quirky humor missing from many fantasy hits. The oddball elements may surprise viewers expecting something a bit more ordinary in approach, but the surprise should be a pleasant one. There was just enough connection between Claire Danes and Charlie Cox that happily ever after is exactly what I wanted.

An average fantasy but: Whimsical, fantastic, and mythical only in the way Neil Gaiman can write it. This adaptation from his book of the same name is perfectly fun and romantic. It's a mix between "The Princess Bride" and "Ella Enchanted," a film that evokes childhood fairytales as well as the adult nature of the original Grimm's Fairytales. There's every number of characters, including witches, sky pirates, warring princes, and a fallen star turned beautiful young woman.

With stunning visuals, catty humor, and a lovable romantic pair this is a must-see film for all ages. The main problems I had with the film was the strange, slightly homophobic humor of Robert De Niro cross-dressing and putting on a "sissy" voice, and the complexity of the plot, which could have been better condensed for the film adaptation. Otherwise this was a fun, magical journey. Successful film franchises cast a long shadow. If you directed an adventure film or a sci-fi film in the s and s, you were effectively inviting comparisons with Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

What is most successful on a grand scale often becomes the benchmark for other films in that genre, regardless of whether or not the benchmark is a particularly good one. In the same way, every fantasy film produced in the s is in some way putting itself in competition with Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. There have been many attempts on both sides of the Atlantic to recapture the success of these franchises, or to plug the gaps between instalments, as was the case with Percy Jackson.

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Stardust is one of the better offerings in this period, beginning in a decidedly ropey fashion but eventually soaring into something distinctive and heartwarming. The first notable aspect of Stardust is the talent behind it. The film is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, one of the most admired and acclaimed fantasy writers of our time.

The screenplay is co-written by Jane Goldman, who would later do a sterling job of adapting The Woman in Black for Hammer. Unfortunately, and in spite of this prestige, things don't get off to a very good start.

The opening act of Stardust is a very televisual affair: It's very common for fantasy films to set up a sleepy home which our heroes eventually leave to go on their journey - Privet Drive, Hobbiton and so forth. But with Wall we don't get a sense of scale or of anything magical lurking just around the corner. It feels, in other words, a little too small and ordinary. This televisual feel is exacerbated by the casting. Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Adam Buxton are all very talented comic actors, but their scenes feel more like a bizarre Channel 4 sitcom than a full-blown fantasy epic.

The main cast fall victim to this too, with Charlie Cox struggling to shake off his performance in Bleak House and taking a long time to bed in as our hero. Aside from its creaky, televisual opening, the narrative of Stardust is rather ramshackle.

While The Lord of the Rings saw multiple plot strands growing out of the central journey of the fellowship, this film juggles up to four competing strands from the outset: Tristan's journey with Yvaine, the witches' hunt for the star, Tristan's mother being held prisoner by another witch, and the brothers fighting for the crown. This is probably the result of compression on the part of Goldman and Vaughn, and while all the sub-plots do eventually come together, for a lot of the running time we're confused as to whom the main focus should be.

Like many fantasy films of the period, Stardust does contain some derivative touches. Ian McKellen's narration is a clear attempt to capture the gravitas that he and Cate Blanchett lent to The Lord of the Rings, but it is largely perfuctory to the storytelling and not as well-written as the speeches in Peter Jackson's films. The central dynamic between Tristan and Yvaine is like Starman with the genders reversed, so that now it is a male protagonist helping to familiarise a female alien with how the world works.

Other touches, such as the goat being turned into a man, find the film settling for fantasy convention in itself rather than trying to put its own distinctive stamp on it. If we approach Stardust is a deadly-serious fantasy epic, it will end up falling short of our expectations. Even though it boasts the same certificate as The Lord of the Rings, it's written more consciously with a family audience in mind and thereby lacks some of Tolkien's compelling darkness. But if we view it in a broader sense, as a more modest fantasy romance with comedy elements, it gradually begins to make sense and eventually comes through with the goods.

Even with all its narrative shortcomings, the film is very funny from start to finish. After a while the gallery of British talent stops being distracting as Vaughn allows each of them to play to their strengths; even Ricky Gervais' cameo is pretty good fun. The physical humour is well-executed, the bitching between the central couple is believable, and the whole film has a playful, mischievous quality which prevents any of its mythology from sounding po-faced.

The real highlight in this regard, however, is De Niro. He's been parodying himself in various ways since the lates, with his roles in Meet The Parents and Analyse This among others sending up either his meticulous preparation or the kinds of roles he has gravitated towards. Captain Shakespeare is a man who wishes to appear tough and macho for his men, but who secretly dresses in drag and is altogether rather charming.


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It's an endearing characterisation, and the can-can scene is one of the funniest moments. As the humour builds and finds its feet, so too does the power of the central romance. For all its fantasy trappings, Stardust is ultimately a film about finding love in unexpected places, with both protagonists having a degree of naivety or innocence about them. Tristan is naive having never set foot outside of Wall, while Yvaine has seen mankind suffer and flourish from afar but never been close enough to completely understand them.


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Their relationship is the meeting of two worlds in understanding and harmony, and the final act is very heartwarming. The screenwriters deserve credit in this regard for maintaining the agency of the female characters, something which fantasy cinema has often struggled to do. Yvaine may spend much of her time trying to escape imprisonment, but she is ultimately resourceful and independent, and ends up saving Tristan's life. Likewise, Pfeiffer's witch is cunning, ambitious and strives to get what she wants under her own steam rather than expecting others to do it for her.

This makes the final confrontation between the two more potent and gives the film something of a unique identity. Stardust is a very enjoyable family fantasy which compensates for its shaky start with a growing sense of heart and a lot of good-natured laughter. It's hardly the most ground-breaking or original work, nor is it a candidate for the best Gaiman adaptation. But it deserves a lot of praise for the elements which do come together, and which result in a film which is genuinely for everyone.

Just watched this again for the th time this time on blu ray and it again is just an amazingly fun movie!! Directed my Matthew Vaughn Kick-Ass , it is one of my all time favorites. What do stars do? All around great movie!! More Top Movies Trailers Forums. Apocalypse Better Call Saul: Season 4 Castle Rock: Season 1 The Deuce: Season 2 Fear the Walking Dead: Season 3 The Walking Dead: View All Videos 1.

View All Photos The sleepy English village of Wall is so named for the cobblestone wall that has, for eons, kept the villagers safely apart form the supernatural parallel universe that lies just on the other side. It is here that young Tristan Thorne makes a wild-eyed promise to the prettiest girl in the village, whose heart he hopes to win: Now, in order to make good on his promise, Tristan will have to cross the forbidden wall, and enter a mysterious kingdom lit by unending magic and unfolding legends.