Friday, August 10, 2007


“There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire…The tale started, as many tales have started, in Wall.”

Tristan (Charlie Cox) is your average leading character, a dreamer, a bit of a bumbler, from modest backgrounds, and in love with a girl (Sienna Miller) who doesn’t take him seriously.

To prove his love Tristan vows to go over the wall and bring back a falling star. Though Tristan makes it over the wall his quest leads him where he least suspects for on the other side of the wall exists a magical realm which includes witches (Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Alexander, Joanna Scanlan, Melanie Hill), princes (Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett) with agendas of their own, and pirates (Robert De Niro, Dexter Fletcher).

Tristan’s goal is further impeded when the star itself turns out to be a sentient creature named Yvaine (Claire Danes) whose life is now in danger from those who wish to kill her and take her power. Tristan’s journey home with Yvaine will teach him much about himself and the world, help him discover where his heart truly lies, and give him clues to his past and his destiny.

As with any fantasy film the trick is to let the audience buy into the story and believe; Stardust is only partly successful. Although the performances are mostly good, the film takes some alarming bad wrong turns (including casting Robert De Niro as a crossdressing sissy pirate!). Although the film has the epic feel of a large scale fantasy, the constant missteps and blunders keep the audience at arms length and too far away to feel the joy and awe a story like this should inspire.

Stardust isn’t really a bad film, though it is filled with many bad moments, and I give it some credit for taking chances. Of course many of these chances don’t pay off which leads only to bigger blunders. Although I can’t really recommend the film, fans of fantasy will have something to talk about, if not completely enjoy. Still, for those who have already seen the latest Harry Potter film three or four times this might make for an amusing couple of hours - if you check your expectations at the door.

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