Tuesday, October 16, 2007


High praise indeed for a film based on a novel that I didn't particularly like. I've always found Neil Gaiman astoundingly good at creating new worlds with magic rules but less good at creating gripping plots. But this film somehow gives the novel, STARDUST, the sense of excitement and pace that I had found lacking in the book.

Gaiman's conceit is to make a grown-up fairy-tale in which a Victorian villager called Dunstan crosses the Wall into a magical kingdom called Stormhold and has proper sex with an enchanted Princess. Nine months later, a son, Tristan turns up. Years later, Tristan (Charlie Cox) promises to fetch a fallen star from the other side of the Wall to impress the village coquette, Victoria (Sienna Miller). Little does he expect to find that the fallen star is in fact a beautiful independent girl called Yvaine (Claire Danes.) Tristan vows to take Yvaine to Victoria before helping Yvaine return to the sky. But an evil witch and a heartless prince have other plans. The witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) wants to eat Yvaine's heart and so regain her youthful beauty. The prince (Mark Strong) wants Yvaine's necklace in order to regain his crown.

STARDUST has everything you want from a fairy-tale. True love, though not in the most expected place, sword-fights, evil princes, tricky witches and derring-do. It's wonderfully designed, beautifully imagined and a lot of fun. As cynical as I am, it's great to believe in a hero like Tristan who is just a decent ordinary sort of chap. And both Charlie Cox and Claire Danes are the sort of actors with whom its a pleasure to spend time. They are so amiable! Other good things include a wonderful role for Robert de Niro as a closeted pirate and Ricky Gervais as, well, David Brent in a silly hat. If I had to find a complaint it would be that Michelle Pfeiffer cannot sustain a credible English accent, in contrast to the flawless Danes. More fundamentally, the studio loses the rumpy-pumpy that made this a different kind of fairy-tale in the first place. I guess the sex didn't fit with the target demographic......

STARDUST has already been released in Russia, Canada, the US, Egypt, South Korea, the UAE, Kuwait, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Hong Kong, Israel, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Thailand, Colombia, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Turkey, the Philippines, Argentina, Hungary, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Japan, Germany, Estonia and the UK. It opens in Belgium, France, Greece, Spain and Japan later in October and in Singapore and Taiwan in November.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bina - I'm with you on this one!! Loved it (as did my 10 year old son whose imagination it really fired up!!).
    Just a wonderful fantasy that exceeded expectations...