Plot: A young man, Tristan (Charlie Cox), begins a quest for a fallen star to give to his potential wife (Sienna Miller) and it takes him on quite an adventure. First of, the star turns out to be a beautiful young woman (Claire Daines), and he’s not the only one after her. A witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) and princes trying to gain their father’s crown are also in a deadly pursuit. Who’s it for: It’s a fantasy, with hints of coy humor throughout. But while kids might like looking at the film, it plays to an older audience.
Expectations: I read and really liked the book. There were hints of “A Princess Bride” in this film, which is an all-time favorite movie for me.
Charlie Cox as Tristan: Pretty much an unknown, Cox does a good job as our hero. Plus, he’s part of a training montage with swordplay, and that’s never a bad thing. Grade: 7 Claire Danes as Yvaine: I liked her more in that Gap commercial where she’s dancing around, but then again, I really like that commercial. The film failed to capitalize that she’s a star (falling, not the Hollywood variety) … and therefore, every experience on Earth is new to her. Grade: 5
Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare: “Stardust” got a big jolt of comedy when De Niro hit the screen as a secretly effeminate pirate. I’ve been lucky to avoid some of De Niro’s poorly received comedies (“The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle”). But he was definitely the highlight of this film. Grade: 8
Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia: It’s good to see Pfeiffer back on the big screen, still looking fantastic albeit over the top here. Pfeiffer’s witch is running against the clock, with her looks deteriorating every time she uses her magic. Grade: 7 Talking: “Stardust” never fully embraces the whimsical. The dynamic between Tristan and Yvaine wasn’t playful enough but there definitely were some memorable lines, like “Every man I ever envied as a boy hasn’t led an impressive life.” Grade: 6
Sights and sounds: The special effects are good but never really encounter greatness. This film is more about the imagination. You’re either capable of pretending that a 6-foot wall could separate a real world from a fairy tale land or not. Grade: 6
Best Scene: Just barely beating the De Niro scenes was the beginning of the climax when everyone was running to the wall. Slow motion running doesn’t always work, but there was enough emotion set up where I was feeling nervous.
Ending: It was a little muddled. First off, I understand witches like to torment, but it came off utterly pointless when Lamia let Tristan and Yvaine walk away only to attempt to kill them again. And the “Star Wars” ending didn’t seem fitting mainly because both worlds were suddenly and harmoniously together.
Random Thoughts: When I read the book, the ending confused me. I was looking forward to the film clearing it up but it didn’t. And here’s the bottom line, the film starts off confusing, but let it take it’s time and sink in. It’s a hint off-center from other fantasy films, but it’s worth it.
Rewatchability: I would see it again on DVD, but I had the luxury of seeing this film in June. So it’s already been a while.
“Stardust” has a stellar cast with Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole and Ricky Gervais, but this film isn’t about the acting, it’s about the fantasy of things. You’re either in the mood for the land of make believe or not. There was just enough connection between Danes and Charlie Cox that happily ever after is exactly what I wanted.
Overall Grade: 7