Monday, August 20, 2007


“Stardust” is one of the more pleasant surprises of the summer. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s gentle satire on fantasy conventions offered me more pleasure and enjoyment than any three of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

“Stardust” tells the story of a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) who lives in an English village and is madly in love with Victoria (Sienna Miller). In order to prove his love to her, he promised to breach a wall out in the forest and retrieve a fallen star for her. He finds himself in a magic kingdom and the fallen star turns out to be a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). They enjoy lots of adventures on the side of the wall, while trying to escape from a witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants Yvaine heart which will give her eternal beauty and riches.

It takes a bit to get going, but it’s an enjoyable ride. Director Matthew Vaughn has a lot of fun with the denizens in this kingdom, especially Robert DeNiro as a gay pirate. It’s probably his best role in years, and DeNiro takes full advantage of it.

Alas, like so many movies these days, it doesn’t know when to end, so Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman give us three and four climaxes when one would suffice. Additionally, there’s a God-awful power ballad over the end credits that had me praying for deafness, but apart from that, it’s a witty delight and a visual feast for the eyes.

It’s a major flop at the box office, which should not be held against it. I think it has a future as a potential cult item, much like the similarly-themed “The Princess Bride.”

Rating for “Stardust”: Three stars.

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