Twitter Reviews

1/2/08

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

When word came out that Stardust was a modern day Princess Bride, I thought no way. Never would anyone be able to capture that magical mix of whimsy, comic genius and rousing adventure. But my first clue should have been the poor box office for Stardust, it seems like when a big budget film like this comes out and doesn't connect with the national audience, that there's good chance that there's a good film behind it. When something truly different is released the general public doesn't catch on for years.

Minutes into this film, I knew I was witnessing something special. Right away you could tell that the filmmaking was top-notch. Writer/Director Mathew Vaughn made a bit of splash with
Layer Cake a few years back, but he had worked with Guy Ritchie on a couple of British gangster flicks, so I didn't expect much more than that from him. Boy, was I wrong. He knocks one out of the park with Stardust, and instantly becomes a filmmaker of note.

The film masterly weaves together multiple story-lines, within this fully realized fantasy universe. First there's Tristan who lives in our world, hundreds of years ago, in a town called Wall, which has an old, falling down wall, that separates the the normal world from the magical one. He's obsessed with the town beauty, but he's geeky and without much prospects, she humors him and agrees to marry him when he says he'll hunt down a fallen star on the other side of the wall. Unknown to him, is that his father crossed over the wall himself and made it with a princess held captive by a witch, who then left young Tristan on his father's doorstep. A magical candle left by his mother, whisks Tristan straight to the spot of the fallen star. Who because she's fallen on the magical side of the wall appears as a human, in the shape of the fabulous Claire Danes.

Also after the fallen star are three witches, their leader played deliciously evil by Michelle Pfeipher. It's been years since we saw Michelle on screen, and she's back with a vengeance. The witches want to cut out the star's heart and eat it, because it brings back their youth. Also after the star is an evil prince, who is the last in the line of princes, his princely brother follow him around in ghost form, until he becomes king, and to do so he must get the stone from the necklace that the star wears. There's a lot of fun to be had while everybody is chasing each other around, last minute escapes and daring rescues.

Nearly every single character in the film is memorable. To me that's a mark of a great film, when you love every character from the lead, to the stable boy who shows up for a few scenes. Every performance is spot on, they really inhabit their world, making you believe everything that happens. The film is constantly funny throughout, but they're never winking at the camera, begging you to laugh, they come naturally from the story and the well written dialogue.

There are many incredible scenes, stuff that's never been seen before. Pirates that fly through the clouds collecting lightning, witches animating dead bodies to do their fighting, goats turned human speaking only in bleats, and so on. Each scene feels completely fresh. The effects, make-up and set designs are all wonderful, they give the world a very cool, but believable look.


Stardust
isn't quite up to par with The Princess Bride, but I can guarantee that the kids that grow up with this film, will be quoting in 20 years, the way that I do Bride. "Inconceivable!"


0 Responses to Stardust:

There was an error in this gadget