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Stardust (Widescreen Edition) (2007)

A 2007 fantasy film directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on Neil Gaiman's book.

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3 stars: Stare into the bright eyes of adventure

  • Jan 31, 2011
Rating:
+3

 

You have heard stories like this before, stories of far away lands, magical kingdoms, strange creatures, dashing princes and beautiful princesses but this however is not a story that you have heard before. This is not a story of a dashing prince who sets out on a quest to save the beautiful princess from some kind of unspeakable evil. This is instead a story of a young peasant boy who out of love dares to cross from the human realm into the realm that all fantasies are made of a world full of magical creatures, not so dashing princes, evil witches, and flying pirates. Jump head first into the magical fantastical world of genius writer Neil Gaiman jump into the magic, the adventure, the romance; jump into the world of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" a world where adventure and romance are as bright as the stars are numerous.




"Stardust" has all the typical trappings of your standard order fantasy/romance/adventure it has the hero who at the beginning is shy meek and really feels out of place in the world around him, throw in the typical conundrum of a princess under a spell or in this case a magical fallen star(played wonderfully by Claire Danes). An evil witch queen (in this case a deliciously evil Michelle Pfeiffer) a few other people who are either looking for what our hero seeks. The only reason "Stardust" succeeds at all is mainly due to the fine performances from its stellar cast especially Robert DeNiro as a not so tough flying pirate, Michelle Pfeiffer as the evil witch queen, Claire Danes as the beautiful star(literally) and relative newcomer(at the time) Charlie Cox as the young hero Tristan. They are all uniformly excellent and are one of the main reasons this film works as well as it does despite the flaws and major lack of searing adventure. This film is a perfectly competent piece of filmmaking a work of art at its absolute finest Matthew Vaughn has created a fine film but this fantasy/adventure lacks the thrills, the sense of adventure the sense of excitement that its fantastical story should bring to the screen. Instead, "Stardust" settles for highly entertaining and beautifully lavish which in my book is not such a bad thing; but then again it is not such a good thing either. This could have been a fantastic fantasy film; it has all the trappings, great set pieces, amazing locals, and great performances that are very typical of this genre. It does not have whimsical nature expected from an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's work it lacks the humor, the style, and the grace that Gaiman brings to his works. Vaughn and Jane Goodman's screenplay lacks the wit, style and charm of the original 1998 novel but what it lacks in style and in charm it makes it up with fine romantic chemistry between the two leads that adds some much needed power to this impressive yet lackluster film. I liked "Stardust" I liked it allot I was very impressed with this films performances, set designs, gorgeous locals and occasional witty humor (sadly there was not enough of that). This film felt flat at times when you should be cheering for the hero to succeed at his quest to follow his heart and find true love and become the man that he had no idea he was. This is a great story wrapped up in a rather unimpressive film "Stardust" works as great entertainment but sadly, beyond that there is not much else to it, which is such a shame when it comes to fine filmmaking such as this. "Stardust" is beautiful and enchanting but its star never glows bright enough for others to see its beauty.



"Stardust" can easily be described as magical expect there is one flaw in that, there is very little magic to this film. All the magic it has comes from the rather strong chemistry from Cox and Danes as the hero and heroine of the story. The one thing that disappointed me the most is that I did not always feel emotionally invested in the story when I should be cheering for these two. I just sat there enjoying myself as the films story progressed which as I said before is not a bad thing, it is also not such a good thing either as it leaves you with a much more to be desired feeling. This is not a bad film on the other hand this is not a great film either this is a rather good film that had the potential to be so much more but only missed that chance by a hairs length. "Stardust" is stylish, charming, unevenly humorous and very romantic this is a high quality rainy day fantasy/adventure film that works so well and is so good that even though at some points you feel distant from this film and its characters. You never feel distant from the amazing world that Matthew Vaughn and his team of production designers have created. This could have been a fantastic instead, it settles for average too easy instead of shooting for the bright stars that linger in the sky.







I loved this film in many ways one in particular is the fine, fine performance from the young Charlie Cox as the hero Tristan Thorne I can not express enough at how much I enjoyed his performance. He is just so straightforward as Tristan that from the first moment that you meet him, you just love him and as his character grows, you grow with him coming to find a sense of respect and admiration for the young aspiring hero. Cox never falters for a minute he is always on the very top of his game and in terms of the talent on display in this film; Cox gives one of the finer performances. The only other actors in this film that can come close to matching Cox are the legendary Robert De Niro as the tough talking Captain Shakespeare and Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia the witch queen. Cox displays some serious talent and potential as a leading man he has the looks, the charm and the style in this lavish production he proves that he has the right stuff to be a damn fine actor. As for his leading lady Claire Danes I have less admiration for, now I freely admit that I do have a sort of a liking for Danes she has proven herself in many other films that she is a fine actress. For some reason in this film, I did not find her very appealing as the love interest to Cox's Tristan. Danes feels flat almost as if she is trying to hard to be funny or witty or good for that matter. She comes off (when you first meet her character) kind of smarmy and uninteresting. As the film progresses that feeling never goes away even when she starts to warm up to Tristan you don't buy the romance between the two even though they have great chemistry and look great together. The romance between them-as I said- feels forced at some points as if the director was trying to move the romance up to fit the pictures story. So as there story moves on the romance flourishes. You never feel invested in it much like Danes performance you like looking at her, you believe her as the character but you never really feel invested in it so as great as this film is. It is great in its own ways. The Danes/Cox romance fails to find its footing thereby almost causing this film to fall apart at the seams. However, thanks to strong performances from the supporting cast "Stardust" is able to shine bright enough to standout amongst the crowd. The rest of the cast including Peter O'Toole, Mark Strong, Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais, Rupert Everett, Ben Barnes, Sienna Miller, Jason Flemyng and Nathaniel Parker all turn in fantastic supporting performances in this beautiful fantasy adventure.





On a technical/production level, "Stardust" is phenomenal a true visually delight however, as a romance there lies the major kink in this films armor the kink that almost causes the film to be struck by a stray arrow. I know I have said some very damming things about this film but let me reassure you that "Stardust"-flaws and all- is one of the most enjoyable fantasy/adventure films you will ever see this is truly filmmaking at its finest and one of the best Neil Gaiman adaptations. "Stardust" may not be as bright and powerful as it could have been but for what it is this film is damn good although it could have been so much more than it is.

3 stars: Stare into the bright eyes of adventure

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February 13, 2011
I enjoyed this one as well, my boy Kenneth got me to check this one out. Great review.
February 15, 2011
Thank you very much my friend, I liked this one but not enough to give it anymore stars it lacked that magic to it that would have really helped this film take to the stars(no pun intended). But I will say that this is one hell of an entertaining film.
 
January 31, 2011
excellent review...though I have to say that I liked this movie a bit more than you did. "The one thing that disappointed me the most is that I did not always feel emotionally invested in the story when I should be cheering for these two. I just sat there enjoying myself as the films story progressed which as I said before is not a bad thing, it is also not such a good thing either as it leaves you with a much more to be desired feeling." That is some great commentary! Thank you for the review, my friend.
January 31, 2011
I enjoyed this film immensely but it just did not have the right stuff for me to let down my critics shield and call it truly great. This was one of those good but not great fantasy films it was extremely enjoyable but it lacked the true charm and romantic appeal that could have made it an instant classic instead of a rainy day classic. And thank you very much.
 
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More Stardust (2007 film) reviews
review by . April 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Among the stars
Let me start by stating that if you watch Stardust the movie hoping that it achieves the aura of Stardust the book, you will be disappointed. That, however, is the fate of most book into movie productions. Stardust the book was magical because it is made of words. Stardust the movie is made of images and it is unrealistic to hope that it could capture the essence of the written version. That said, Stardust the movie has its moments. Clare Danes makes a luminous star, Charlie Cox a credulous young …
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
I actually really like this :D
review by . December 24, 2008
DVD cover
Based upon comic book and graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman's original story, Stardust is a charming fantasy film with a humorous twist. Much like The Princess Bride in its combination of romance, adventure, comedy, and fantasy, Stardust is a remarkable film with a lot of heart. The film was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who had been eager to adapt the story for the cinematic medium. Thankfully Vaughn was a more than competent director and he had a great deal of respect for the source …
review by . August 15, 2008
Let me start by stating that if you watch Stardust the movie hoping that it achieves the aura of Stardust the book, you will be disappointed. That, however, is the fate of most book into movie productions. Stardust the book was magical because it is made of words. Stardust the movie is made of images and it is unrealistic to hope that it could capture the essence of the written version.    That said, Stardust the movie has its moments. Clare Danes makes a luminous star, Charlie …
review by . December 30, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
I picked up this DVD not expecting much, having not heard anything about it. I was pleasantly surprised and entertained throughout! Some of the comedy of the film seemed to be right out of Monty Python.    Tristan is the son of an enslaved princess from a forbidden fantasy land behind a long wall which is guarded by an old man. One day his father gives him a letter from his mother and Tristan decides to go beyond the wall to find her. The old man prevents him from getting past …
review by . December 20, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Films that depend heavily on special effects as created by computer generated graphics have never been too interesting for this viewer - and that, of late, covers a lot of territory from the Harry Potter series through the continuous glut of sci-fi films, vampire tales, and apocalyptic epics, etc. But there is something very different about STARDUST that brings it into a realm of solid storytelling simply enhanced by well-done special effects, and that difference is in the story itself, an unabashed …
review by . October 19, 2007
The story begins in the 19th-century village of Wall. But Wall isn't your average country village -- it guards a low, stony wall between mundane England and the fantasy kingdom of Stormhold. No one crosses the wall -- except for young Drustan Thorn, whose curiosity led him to an otherworldly market and a single night of passion with a captive gypsy -- or princess -- and nine months later he was given a son, Tristan, who was left for him by the wall.    Flash forward 18 years, …
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Wiki

Stardustsettles over the viewer like a twinkly cloak. The film, which captures the magic and vision of author Neil Gaiman's fantasy graphic fable, is a transportive journey into a world of true enchantment, which fans of theHarry Potterbooks will enjoy as well as will adults looking for the perfect date movie. The tale is a not-so-simple love story and adventure, set in 19th century England--and an alternate universe of witches, spells and stars that turn human--and hold the key to eternal life.

Young Tristan (played with wide-eyed vigor by Charlie Cox) vows to retrieve a fallen star for the most beautiful girl in the village, the shallow Victoria (Sienna Miller), and in his quest, finds his true love--in a true "meet-cute" moment (by Babylon-candle-speeding into the just-crashed human incarnation of the star, Claire Danes). Much of the film involves the duo's journey back home--though home for Tristan is his village, and home for the celestial Yvaine is, of course, in the heavens. There are villains, notably Michelle Pfeiffer as the vain witch who seeks the fountain of youth a fallen star can give, and the seven venal sons of the dying king of the mythical realm, backstabbing, grasping, and hilarious--even in death as a ghostly Greek chorus.

While the sparks of love between Tristan and Yvaine are resonant and touching, Stardust truly succeeds as a brilliant fantasy yarn--and as a comedy with more than its share of belly laughs. Much of the humor belongs ...

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Details

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: August 10, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Matthew Vaughn
DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007
Runtime: 127 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Marv Films
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