Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Stardust was released in 2007. The cast included perennial heavy hitters Peter O’Toole, Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer. It surprises me that I do not remember the release of this movie less than two years ago. Stardust must have been released to very little fanfare with trailers that failed to engage my imagination. I am glad that I found this movie that I missed during its initial release. It is an excellent film.
Stardust is a fantasy film that takes place primarily in a town in England known as Wall and the neighboring fantasy land called Stormhold. Stormhold appears similar in many ways to the neighboring Wall. But the similarities are superficial. Stormhold is a place where magic plays a prominent role. The treacherous but quirky king ascended his throne by killing all of his brothers. As he lay dying, his own sons find themselves ready to kill for his throne. They are not aware that they have a challenger for their throne from a challenger whose fate lies between the two worlds. It is the story of a young man who comes of age in his quest for love, finding it in the unlikeliest of places.
For lack of a better description, Stardust is a sappy love story with magically fantastic sub-plots. The decision to place the story halfway in the world we all know and halfway in a fantasy world presented an interesting concept. Doing so allowed the writer, Neil Gaiman, to exploit the full range of magic and fantasy while maintaining a story line rooted in reality. This allowed for exploration of some interesting sub-plots that enhanced the story-telling aspect of the film.
The plot was fairly straight-forward but not entirely predictable. The characters were richly crafted with eccentricities and traits that made them both interesting and endearing. The dialogue was credible and fresh. The sub-plots were woven skillfully into the story to provide entertaining and comical scenes that worked towards the development of the broader plot lines. The screenplay was adapted from Gaiman’s novel by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn. The writers did an exceptional job of capturing the elements of fantasy and using them to captivate viewers of all ages.
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