Sunday, August 26, 2007

Review: Stardust

This new fantasy film - based on a novel by Neil Gaiman - is a really terrific film! Set 150 years ago, young Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) sees a falling star - and promises to retrieve it for spoiled local girl, Victoria (Siena Miller). To do so, he must pass into the enchanted world lying just beyond the town wall. There, he finds the star (Claire Danes), and faces a plethora of challenges as he struggles to bring Yvaine back to Victoria. Those challenges include an evil witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants Yvaine's heart in order to restore her youth; and a trio of princes who want the jewel around Yvaine's neck in order to become king.

Some reviewers have compared this film to "The Princess Bride," and I found myself making the same comparison. It's a romantic fable, a fast moving adventure tale, full of fun period details, great costumes (they're so sumptuous!), and impressive CGI. And it's funny! Pfeiffer and De Niro (as the pirate Captain Shakespeare) steal every scene they're in - but you so enjoy the theft that you don't mind. The young leads - Danes and Cox - are sweet and believable, and have a lovely chemistry. And the film is chock full of small performances that aren't so small - like Ricky Gervais as the trader Ferdy, and Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong and Rupert Everett as three of the Princes. Oh, and Peter O'Toole as the dying king!

Not so good: Sienna Miller. She's basically playing herself (one could surmise) - or at least the stock character she often plays: the spoiled, self-centered rich girl. But she's way too old for this part - the "seductive" scenes with young Cox are almost creepy.

I heartily recommend this one - a fun, romantic story. What I found interesting was that my friend and I were the only women in the theater - the rest were guys. Another friend reported a similar situation in the showing she attended. So, you may meet your own Tristan at a screening!



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