' ' Cinema Romantico: Stardust

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Often when leaving a movie viewers will want to describe what they have just seen via a single succinct word. For instance, a viewer may describe the movie as Cute. Or Entertaining. Or Powerful. Or Cliched. Or Trite. Or Worthwhile. You get the point. One word I enjoy using, though rarely do I get the chance, is Miraculous. However, upon leaving the theater after my viewing of "Stardust" Miraculous was the only word I could think to use.

In a year that has already been filled with far more cinematic delights prior to the leaves changing than I ever dreamed possible, this Matthew Vaughn-directed fairytale is the proverbial icing on the cake. A movie this fantastic? In August? Like I said, Miraculous. If you've already received a recommendation from someone you to know to see "Stardust", well, I second it with extreme passion.

Charlie Cox (with whom I'm unfamiliar) is our hero, Tristan (he's not a shopboy, he's a boy who works in a shop), and pines for Victoria (she's played by Sienna Miller and so, despite the fact the character is a bit shallow, how could he NOT pine for her) and upon seeing a shooting star they decide that if within one week he can find the shooting star and bring it back to her, she will ignore the proposal of the other lughead who likes her and marry Tristan instead. Thus, Tristan leaves behind England for the magical land of Stormhold. Alas, Tristan is not the only who desires the shooting star. Also on its trail are an evil witch (Michelle Pheiffer) who needs it to re-gain her youth and two heirs to the King of Stormhold's throne who require the necklace worn by the shooting star to gain said throne. Yes, I said a necklace worn by the shooting star because the shooting star itself comes to Stormhold in the form of Claire Danes. Luckily, Tristan gets to our shooting star first and so the two set off on a perilous voyage.

There are many other characters (one of whom I'm saving to mention here in a moment) and many happenings and the fact that Vaughn keeps things moving at a steady clip without anything becoming confusing or rushed is downright admirable. It feels like a symphony (due in no small part to the amazing score accompanying the film). Crescendo after crescendo after crescendo. Yet, in saying that, it still retains a heart, and finds pleasure in the small moments, and in characterizaton, and will touch you way deep down there near your soul as all good fairytales should. Consider the scene in which Danes pours out her pretty little soul to a mouse (just trust me on this, people). It moved me to the very depth of my being.

My viewing was made even more pleasurable due to the fact I experienced what we'll term a Harry Lime Moment. Robert DeNiro is in this movie, and that's not giving anything away since he's in the preview and on the poster, and I knew going in that he was in the movie, and yet by the time he appeared I had literally forgotten that fact. Suddenly, there he was! As the pirate Captain Shakespeare (and his character is clearly a play on "The Princess Bride's" Dread Pirate Roberts"), a friend to Tristan and our shooting star. I don't want to give away too much in regards to his character except to say he's rather unique. It's a turn only an actor of DeNiro's skill and experience could have managed.

Two of my friends had offered rave reviews upon seeing "Stardust" a few weeks back and so I was a little upset it had taken me this long to see it. However, I'm now fully aware of why the movie gods caused this wait. It was the exact movie I wanted and needed to see the day before I turned 30.


Rory Larry said...

murdered by pirates, heart torn out and eaten, meet Victoria, I can't decide which sounds like more fun.

Agent 2112 said...

I hope we see more Neil Gaiman movies. I think he has something to do with the upcoming Beowolf movie.