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 to Robert De Niro, who plays a notoriously wicked air pirate, who is secretly a bit light in his swashbucklers. Ricky Gervais has a small but memorable role essentially channeling his character from Extras, including his catchphrase, "Are you having a laugh?!" The special effects are all that any fan of Gaiman would wish for. Catch a bit of Stardust and you'll feel enchanted for a good long while. --A.T. Hurley