Film #77: Stardust (2007)

2007_stardust_098director: Matthew Vaughn
language: English
length: 127 minutes
watched on: 7 January 2013

In the next of my forays into the world of aircraft programming was this film, which I hadn’t previously heard of. I distinctly remember feeling at a loss when I could only guess from the vague reviews in the BA magazine and on the screen what it was about. But Neil Gaiman’s name was mentioned somewhere (it’s based on his novel) so I decided to give it a whirl. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s a fantasy movie which takes fairly typical fairy-tale elements and puts them together into quite a comedic outcome. It involves a lot of contemporary British comedians, including basically the entire cast of Green Wing appearing at some point – most filling a chorus role as ghosts or secondary witches, but there nonetheless. The main story is a bit well-trodden and soppy, as it involves a guy travelling across a fantasy world and falling in love with a girl who’s actually a fallen star (as he takes her to give as a present to the girl in the real world he’s trying to woo, but guess what happens). The main characters, to that end, were a little bland, and it’s what went on around them that was interesting. A witch chases them, and several sons are competing to become the next king. To do that, they all have to catch the fallen star, essentially.

Similar to many road movies or quest movies, in some ways it forms a series of separate events, particularly when it moves entirely from one event to another. Many of the settings are quite inventive, although fitting firmly into a traditional fantasy mould, but I especially liked the pirates on flying ships. The captain, played by Robert De Niro, is gay in a rather camp way, and into crossdressing, so his scenes were quite fun. The witch is played brilliantly, and she loses her beauty over the course of the movie, turning from a good-looking famous actress whose name I’ve forgotten into a “hag” so old her flesh is starting to turn grey. She goes around casting spells on people and trying to trick the fallen star into her grasp – for instance, a goat gets turned into a man and starts going round munching things.

I think perhaps the worst criticism I can give is that it wasn’t very memorable. I liked it, in general, but it wasn’t something I’d want to come back to. For me it wasn’t really anything new, and it felt very much like other high fantasy movies that I’ve seen in the past (there’s a slim chance I may have caught some of it already on TV or something, but thinking back I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it). I am sort of interested in following it up by reading the book, though. I’ve still got to get around to reading more of Neil Gaiman’s books.

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