Sunday, 20 September 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00
In the 1980’s fantasy films went through a glorious hey-day of quality and popularity. I for one was no happier than when plunked down in front of The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, or Legend; movies that I still love to this day. In my mind these are timeless classics and the masterpiece of them all is still The Princess Bride, which is just as romantic, funny and entertaining today as it was twenty years ago when it was released. It is high praise indeed for me to say that Stardust is even a fraction as good as that; that it helped me regain even an ounce of the wonder and excitement I felt as a child.

Stardust is a simple movie, although so visually opulent that it almost seems unfair to say so. It contains every fairytale element you can imagine including ghosts, haggy old witches, unicorns, pirates, and, of course, sword fighting - all rolled up into such a pretty and witty little package it is hard to resist. Not to mention that it has a wicked sense of humor.

Tristan (Charlie Cox) has lived all his life in a town called Wall (so named for the wall that surrounds it). He is in love with a selfish brat (Sienna Miller) who barely knows he exists. In order to prove his love he sets out on a quest to retrieve a fallen star from the magical land on the other side of Wall, and ends up finding it in the form of a human girl who is rather annoyed at having been knocked out of the heavens.

With no way home Yvaine (Claire Danes) has no choice but to accompany Tristan on his journey home, listening to his insufferable mooning over Victoria the whole way. But of course true love finds its course and the two wind up falling for each other throughout their perilous adventures. They are pursued by a witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants to use Yvain as an anti-aging treatment, encounter a man turned into a goat and a goat turned into a man, are captured by pirates, and any number of other troubles.

Some of the performances in this movie leave a bit to be desired including those of the two leads, Cox and Danes. Though their efforts seem a bit lackluster I wasn’t much bothered by it since the overall effect of the film was so charming. Not only that, but there are so many great supporting performances that it hardly even matters. Robert DeNiro steals the scenes as the dreaded Captain Shakespeare, a pirate whose hard edge might be hiding something a little too soft on the inside. Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant and obviously enjoying herself as the aged, haggy sorceress. Cameos by Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole and more round out an all-star cast.

Beautiful computer generated backgrounds and plenty of excitement and laughs kept me enthralled the whole way through. My fear is that Stardust will miss the mark in finding an audience however, since most adults may see it as a kid’s movie. However this isn’t the case as many of the jokes would go over the heads of younger children, or may be inappropriate.

Stardust for me is one of the biggest movie surprises of the summer. It had me entertained from beginning to end and I’m actually looking forward to watching it again soon. Much like it’s 1980’s fantasy predecessors, I think this one might have some real staying power. I give Stardust 8 out of 10.