Stardust is a diversionary
treat — a lively little pop fairytale that flits back and forth from one
colorful character to another. Reminiscent, in swatches, of Willow, The Princess Bride and The NeverEnding Story,
the movie is part comedic fantasy adventure yarn, part lilting romance about awakening to the love right in front of one’s eyes; it works best as a grab-bag of brightly colored whimsy and
In an attempt to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller), the prettiest girl in the
sleepy English village of Wall, young Tristan Thorne (newcomer Charlie Cox, above right)
makes a wild-eyed promise to bring her back a fallen star. Crossing the ages-old
barrier that rings the city and gives it its name, Tristan enters a supernatural
parallel universe known as Stormhold. There, he discovers that the fallen star
is not an object, but actually a spirited young woman, Yvaine (Claire Danes),
injured by her cosmic tumble. Sought by both a handful of scheming princes vying to
secure the throne of their dying father (Peter O’Toole) as well as a powerful witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) desperate to use the star to achieve eternal youth and beauty for her
and her sisters, Yvaine rather disobligingly elopes
with Tristan on a series of incredible adventures heading back toward Wall, crossing paths along the way with a quirky
pirate, Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro), who may not be all he seems. Like a sure but slow-dawning sunrise, love eventually blossoms between the pair.
Penned by freshman scribe Jane Goldman and directed with a spry, light touch by Matthew Vaughn, Stardust greatly favors tone over particulars.
What differentiates Stormhold from Wall is never much explained, nor
the relationship between the two cities, or certain other character
bits; one either goes with the general flow of “fairytale questing” or
becomes stubbornly resistant to the entire affair. More pleasantly distractible than enthralling, Stardust lacks either the epic-scale frosting that a more experienced genre hand (like Peter Jackson) would give it, or the skewed, hallucinatory pop vibrancy of a bolder visual stylist (like Tim Burton). Overall, though, one can’t reasonably bear ill will toward the film, and they certainly can’t hold a grudge, not the least of which because Stardust is busy not taking itself at all that seriously. In sum,
there’s much, much more right here than wrong. For my full review, from Reelz, click here.