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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: July 27: Stardust


July 27: Stardust

"In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm."
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn, Rated: PG-13, 127 minutes

There's a lot to say about Stardust. It's a modern fairy tale told with the heart and creativity you think you could only find in films and stories of old. It's creative in a completely endearing way, blending the perfect amount of romance, action, suspense and comedy. It's a film of many genres with a fantastical sense of adventure. Stardust creates a world inhabited by a wide variety of characters, including witches and sky pirates, without ever getting too big for its own good. In it's simplicity, Stardust never makes you expect much out of it, so when it delivers, it's magical in epic proportions. Plus, the film features a ridiculously sexy Claire Danes as the "damsel in distress", a role in which I know plenty of us would like to play her prince counterpart. 

Stardust tells the story of Tristan (Boardwalk Empire's Charlie Cox), a young man with big dreams and an even larger ambition, who lives in a quiet little village named Wall. Legend has it that the wall from which the village gets its name from is, in fact, a portal to another world full of magic and adventure. The love of his life, Victoria (Sienna Miller), demands Tristan retrieve a fallen star in order to earn her hand in marriage. This is a quest the blinded by love Tristan immediately accepts but, once he crosses the wall and tracks down the star, he finds it to be a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Danes). Tristan finds the fact that she's a star to be quite odd, but decides to "kidnap" her and bring her back to Wall to earn the heart of Victoria. As the two make their journey back to Wall, they are under the watchful eye of three witches, led by Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer, who only gets sexier with age), who seek to steal Yvaine for themselves, as her powers give magic and youth to the hags. The evil prince Septimus (the always-a-villain Marc Strong), also seeks the star as a way to rightfully claim his throne. Stardust is fun from start to finish, and the incredible cast only makes it better. 

She has her own kind of magic. 

As some of you may know, The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's the perfect film, in my opinion, and one of the most unique films I've seen. I never thought any other movie could come close to capturing the imagination and charm that makes The Princess Bride so good, but Stardust comes damn close. Yes, the film has a much fancier look to it, but it still manages to hold onto some of the camp and cheese that makes it special. The comedy is also first class. The source novel of the same name, was written by genius Neil Gaiman, a modern day fantasy genius. He has a reputation of blending an unusual sense of humor with grand-scale adventure and the film adaptation of Stardust does not fail to deliver. And, while Gaiman may have written the novel, the adaptation would not be as great as it is without the screenplay written by Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn (who later went on to make Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class). 

Matthew Vaughn: The king of adapting stuff, or something.

I would highly recommend Stardust. If you haven't seen it already, you're missing out on quite an adventure. It's also worth mentioning that the two leads, Cox and Danes, have impeccable chemistry and seeing their own version of a fairy-tale play out is a joy to watch. Stardust also features great supporting roles from Ricky Gervais, Peter O'Toole, and an absolutely incredible Robert De Niro. I love Stardust and everything about it. My only complaint is that it's just one film, while I believe all the characters involved would find themselves in even grander adventures. 

The Good:
a unique and wonderful fairy tale that's instantly a classic
The Better:
Robert De Niro... just watch
The Best:
witnessing magic, first-hand, and aching to visit the world created and on display

Overall: 9.6/10


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At July 28, 2012 at 9:09 AM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

I agree with you completely, this is one of my favorite movies next to Princess Bride. It's a real shame that it didn't gain a whole lot of popularity. I think it was just bad timing.

At July 28, 2012 at 9:54 AM , Blogger Nick said...

It's too smart and original for the movie-going audience (lately). It's not mindless enough. People forget how magical films can be. It's a shame.

At September 4, 2012 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

I was just scrolling thru some of your posts before going to bed, and I found three that fit my list of movies that are perfect in every frame. There are others and I'm going to do a post on my own blog about them but since I was here I thought I would add this to my list tonight. I love this movie, it is as charming as the Princess Bride and it has a very contemporary feel despite the fairy tale trappings. As time goes by, I suspect this movie will develop the same type of cult following from little kids exposed to it on video and cable TV showings. It is a perfect family film for everyone 5 to eighty five.

At September 4, 2012 at 10:07 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It certainly is. As much as I love The Princess Bride I'm fully aware of the fact that it won't connect with as many people as it used to. If Stardust is that film to replace that love, I'm more than okay with it because it really is a terrific film.


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