Movie Review: Stardust (2007)

A few weeks ago on another movie review blog (DC Girl @ The Movies to be exact), I guessed Stardust would be lucky to break into the top ten for weekend gross on it’s opening weekend. I came to that conclusion based on the fact the trailer seemed cheesy and childish — even if it did have an all-star cast. Well, I’m happy to say that I was wrong (it hit number four for weekend receipts). While the movie does indeed have its quirks, it is a fun movie-going experience.

Stardust is an adaptation of a book that was adapted from a comic series by Neil Gaiman. It intertwines the stories of several characters into a single braid. You see, even though all these individuals have different backgrounds, they all want to get their hands on a recently fallen star. What most of them don’t realize is that when a star falls from the sky it becomes a woman — in this particular case, that woman is Yvaine (Claire Danes). Anyways, Tristan (Charlie Cox) has pledged his love to the hottest piece of ass in Wall, Victoria (Sienna Miller). To win her affection, he decides to venture beyond the brick wall surrounding the town and search the fantasy land of Stormhold (the wall surrounding the town separates fact from fantasy) for the star and return back with it as a gift. There is also, Prince Septimus (Mark Strong), one of several sons of the reigning king (Peter O’Toole). He must retrieve a priceless amulet that will change color if he is the last of the bloodline and new king of Stormhold (yes that means he must kill his brothers). Of course, said amulet has found its way into the care of the star. Lastly, three evil hags — Mormo (Joanna Scanlon), Empusa (Sarah Alexander) and Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) — all want the heart of the star to regain their youth. Their current stash of star heart retrieved four centuries ago has run low and is in immediate need of replenishment.

The director (Matthew Vaughn) does a commendable job keeping the story flowing while jumping to individual storyline to individual storyline. He manages to do this by getting some great performances out of some of the actors; namely Michelle Pfeiffer and Charlie Cox. Pfeiffer gets credit for relishing in the role of the black-hearted witch who will stop at nothing to ensure she will live forever. Her character reminded me of Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians) only much more cunning and evil. Pfeiffer must be pleased with the advances in cosmetic surgery too because the way she looks as an old lady is a scary sight unto itself. On the other hand, relative unknown Cox, has a very amateur way about him. His character is naive and bright-eyed and the lack of experience of Cox, I believe, actually helped make his character that much more acceptable. I felt very happy for him as his adventure unfolds before him.

That being said, there were a few lackluster performances in Stardust too. Robert De Niro as the flaming lightning farmer Captain Shakespeare was a complete miscast. I’m all for breaking boundaries and type-casts but having him run around with twinkle toes in with a boa talking in a fruity voice came as completely unnatural. I got the feeling De Niro realized what was expected of him to late in the game, so being the trooper that he is, he begrudgingly went along with it. And is it me or does he have a permanent frown tattooed on his face? The biggest letdown for me was that of Claire Danes. A star, to me, is a vibrant, full of life entity. Danes instead approaches the part as that of confused child. I mostly felt she was lifeless and dull — I needed so much more out of the central figure of the movie. Luckily she looked good though, so I can describe her as having a “heavenly body” (yeah I’m a dork).

Overall, as I basically said at the beginning of this review, Stardust isn’t the most fantastical fantasy movie ever made. The effects, while plentiful, are rather simple and uninspired. Thankfully, it doesn’t rely on movie magic to be a good film — it gets that from some strong performances and a lively story that is great deal of fun to watch unfold. See for yourself – it may send a message to Hollywood that more movies of this nature should be financed.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


Movie Review: The Invasion (2007)
Movie Review: Rush Hour 3 (2007)

The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Stardust (2007)' have 11 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 16, 2007 @ 12:15 pm gina

    Although it is slightly more violent I think it rivals Princess Bride as a great fantasy love story.

    I also believe Michelle Pfeiffer has already devoured a ‘star’. She looks fantastic for a 40+ year old woman.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 18, 2007 @ 3:30 am DCMovieGirl

    I just want to gloat that indeed this film debuted well into the top ten, #4 to be exact.

    …But I can’t do that without also noting that this film, with a budget of 70 million, made about 2 million in it’s opening weekend.

    I’ve also heard plenty of criticism for the homosexual aspects of the film, which I thought were actually well done and had a good message.

    I guess we don’t live in the 21st century, after all.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      August 18, 2007 @ 6:30 am General Disdain

      Enjoy the moment!

      Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the gay character. Not because he was gay, it was more because the part was played so poorly. The fact he was homosexual added a bit of comedy relief to the movie.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 18, 2007 @ 9:08 am Brad

    I don’t see how the previous poster was able to compare this with The Pricess Bride. They’re not even in the same ballpark. Stardust is mildly entertaining at best.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 5, 2007 @ 6:48 am Sai

    Should I be worried I love the movies?

    (Even if it is sexist. Why couldn’t Una take the throne? Huh? Huh?!)

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 5, 2007 @ 7:31 pm General Disdain

    (Even if it is sexist. Why couldn’t Una take the throne? Huh? Huh?!)

    I believe the reason was the next person to take the throne had to have the king’s blood in their veins. Una didn’t have royal lineage . . .

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 6, 2007 @ 2:51 am Sai

    Una is were the royal lineage came from. She was the sister of the brothers that were killing each other off. …

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 6, 2007 @ 7:46 am General Disdain

    Una is were the royal lineage came from. She was the sister of the brothers …

    Good call. I’m with you on your campaign — Una for Queen!

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 5, 2007 @ 7:17 pm Movie Star

    That would do me in. Not going to the movies any longer. :(

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 19, 2007 @ 12:24 am Sirius Lee

    The strength of this movie lies in the script, which is a wonderful adaptation by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn of a novel written by Neil Gaiman. While the casting could have turned out a bit better that it did, the actors were brilliant, nevertheless, and did justice to their parts. I’m just curious how the part of Captain Shakespeare would have turned out had Jack Nicholson been chosen over De Niro, as Nicholson was also considered for the part.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 30, 2008 @ 6:44 am Spielautomaten Tricks

    In “Stardust,” a sprawling, effects-laden fairy tale with the thundering stamina of a marathon horse race, Michelle Pfeiffer is Lamia, as deliciously evil a witch as the movies have ever invented. Shooting deadly green lightning from rings on her tapering long-nailed fingers, she suggests a seriously lethal beauty contestant of a certain age who will stop at nothing to seize the crown.

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