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stardust movie review

December 21, 2007

Neil Gaiman wrote a book called Stardust I have yet to read. Then I caught wind of the film. Never read the book, waited on the film. I watched it last night and I must say I’m glad I did.

I’m a huge fan of the Princess’ Bride, and this movie rings with that same feeling of humor, adventure, and funness. The director even mentions that film as a form of inspiration. The story deals with hole in the wall and a fallen star.

The town of Wall sits on the edge of a wall, oddly enough, with a hole in it. Beyond the hole is another world. Gaiman says he was inspired by a wall in Ireland, which upon seeing he thought ‘What if on the other side was fairy world?’.  A boy crosses the wall, meets a princess, and makes whoopie. 9 months later he is presented with a son, whom he raises. 18 years after that the boy is in love, and promises to bring back a fallen star to prove it to the object of his affections. To do that, he must also cross the wall. The catch is, when a star falls on the other side of the wall it changes. It becomes a woman. The rest you have to see for yourself, but it involves witches, the heirs of a kingdom, and delightfully fanciful moments of magic and good acting. I’d truly hate to spoil it for you, should you choose to watch it.

Story out of the way, let’s look at the performances. The big names in this film are Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Claire Danes. The most standout role of this film was DeNiro. He plays the captain of an airship full of pirates who illegally farm lightning. He is also gay, and it was great to see him in that role. The first impression was ‘Oh. DeNiro plays a tough guy… again’ but then it unfolds and you see him in a dress and it’s amazing. The man does well no matter what the role.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s role is that of a witch, seeking the star to gain immortality. She did well, though it may be the long absence from anything of note. The problem I suppose is with the concept of beauty in this film. She goes from old hag to young and pretty, but I wouldn’t say beautiful. She is showing her age, and that’s the only issue. Her performance was top notch.

The same issue comes with Claire Danes for me. She is a beautiful woman, but as the fallen star she is supposed to be the ‘most beautiful thing’. Again, the performance was top notch, the costumes wonderful, and her portrayal of a fallen star delightful.

The highlight for me were the ghosts. They had the best lines in the film, and the deleted scenes involving them some of the best. I don’t see why they cut them, though.

The scenery and effects matched the acting, being believable but with enough magic in them to be unreal. Filmed across England, Ireland, and Iceland you can image the rolling hills and rocky foothills involved. Was very Lord of the Ringsish in scope.

So, in short, go see this movie. The story is magnificently crafted, acting is amazing, and DeNiro wears a dress. What more could you want? Oh yeah.. I could have used some Pfeiffer or Danes nudity, but I’m a pervert.

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