Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Review

Harry has a bit of STARDUST in his heart!!!

Do not check out the trailer to STARDUST – if you do – and it happens to interest you, I suppose it must’ve worked, but for me… it filled me with reasons to not see STARDUST. It looked like a mess to me. DeNiro looked like he was in a different movie, Michelle Pfeiffer comes across as… well gob-smackingly gorgeous… but then the “hero” is like bleh – and it just looks like a lot of nonsense. The film? Utter Perfection! Absolutely loved it. Now here’s something you need to realize going into this movie… this isn’t an ACTION fantasy, it is a ROMANTIC FANTASY… and one that works, I’m genuinely pleased to say. Why? Well, I’m not the biggest fan of anonymously handsome no names in fantasy films that are supposed to be going on a quest to become a man/king type of thing. The lead, Charlie Cox just didn’t have a face that interested me from the get go in the trailers… But… Wait till you see him in the movie. I wasn’t a huge fan at the beginning with him, but over the duration of the film, he genuinely struck me as a goof, who suddenly becomes a man. And it’s a believable transformation that you see take place right before your eyes and I bought it. This isn’t easy, we’ve seen films where the filmmakers and the story ask us to believe an actor undergoes this journey, but do you buy it? Not for a second, but here… it actually worked. Not just that, but everything the film asked me to believe in, everything it was trying to sell – it sold and I bought. Why? Well, it all begins with story and in this case Neil Gaiman’s story was absolutely the heart of this movie. When something like ERAGON and PATHFINDER fall flat on their faces, because the writing is substandard – the words of Gaiman made it all work. The overall sensation of the story is literally like watching a live-action Miyazaki film. But of a story he hadn’t told you. It’s all about a boy from a normal everyday world that crosses a seemingly normal wall into an amazing land where magic isn’t an act, where witches are not fantasy and where a falling star is not a burning meteorite. It is a world with talismans and charms, where a good luck charm could literally protect you. Where you could live forever. But on either side of the wall, there are constants. Love is love, loss is loss and evil is evil. It’s wonderful. The cast is dead on. It all hinges on that young lead and he miraculously pulls it off. To a degree, that may be because he’s doing all of this to win the hand of Sienna Miller, who is just one sweet gal to be doing miraculous things for, though damn if she ain’t spoilt rotten. However… before the film ever even gets started, it kicks ass. You see, the movie begins with narration by Ian McKellen, and you know… Sir Ian’s voice just instantly makes you want to accept everything that follows as being from a long time ago, far far away, when a boy could become a man that could become so much more. Then there’s the rest of the cast. I like to think that I’m not a big fan of Claire Danes, but she’s got this goofy face that’s sort of like a blonde Molly Ringwald that just makes me want to hug her and believes she’s that seemingly ordinary object that is actually quite extraordinary. Here the visual effects department did this fx, that just makes her… well, not so much as glow, but to radiate. It’s more than that too, her complexion becomes flushed, like a girl that is pleased, does… but the radiant light she gives off… well… You know how you love the classic Star Trek, because Captain Kirk goes gaga over a different type of alien gal weekly? Well, Claire Danes is a new type of girl this week, and she’s amazing. You can’t help but to want to make her shine. Then there’s Michelle Pfeiffer – and I love Michelle. Always have. She’s been an object of my cinematic affections for her entire career… and other than when she donned the cat outfit – she’s been most desirable as a witch, specifically in the WITCHES OF EASTWICK which made her seem like the most awesome conquest you could ever have. Well, here, like there, she’s joined by two other witches… very old witches – and when she does her thing to become yummy, she’s got that thing that so many live-action witches don’t. She could get you to eat the poison apple, kiss the poison lips and anything else she’d want you to do, because she’s Michelle and those eyes and those cheekbones and the rest of her doesn’t ask you, it commands you. She is great here. You’d think that’d be it, but then there’s Peter O’Toole, who is such an awesomely fucked up ol coot of a king. Just a bastard. Then his sons like Jason Flemyng and Ruper Everett – along with the others. And Ricky Gervais in a hilarious small part – and so much more. I genuinely believe that this is a film for romantics, which is predominately women, with a select group of us men that are not afraid to go gooey over falling in love. However, I’m not entirely sure that Paramount is ever going to get them in to theaters with the trailer they’ve cut. This is a film that needs to be sold as a timeless tale of romance set against a backdrop of the fantastical. Trying to sell it based solely on the visual effects… well, just isn’t going to work. You know, alienating the guys that don’t want to see something fantastically romantic, is ok. But making sure you get the girls that drug their guys to see crossover romantically genred films… well that hasn’t hurt movies in the past. The film isn’t an action fantasy – it isn’t an overt comedy, while it is quite funny. This is one of those – it’ll make you laugh and cry and cheer and care type of movies. That’s so rare. Not just in filmed fantasies, but in the written fantasies as well. It takes folks like Neil Gaiman and now Matthew Vaughn to fill them with the details that the mediocre shit just doesn’t care to take the time to do. I absolutely love this film and feel it could very well wind up being amongst my favorites of the year when all is said and done. If not, we're in for one helluva year. Don’t trust me? Just wait till you see Moriarty’s Love Letter once he sees this at Tribeca… or Quint’s – who saw it with me. This is the genuine article, unless you’re a single dude that stays up all night playing first person shooters and grunting out attack jargon on your headset. And you know who you are.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 27, 2007, 2:24 a.m. CST

    Damn

    by jimmy_009

    Stardust rules.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:31 a.m. CST

    Can't wait

    by IMScully33

    I wasn't sold by the trailer either--charming but lacking. I'm glad to hear it exceeds that, I'm definitely going to catch it in theatres now. I'm a sucker for a fantasy romance...

  • April 27, 2007, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Can't Bloody Wait

    by LeckoManiac

    Stardust just can't get here soon enough.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Matthew Vaughn

    by THE FOOT THAT KICKED THE CRADLE

    its gotta make you wonder what Matthew Vaughn, would of done with X3, but it was good move to leave that installment. From layer Cake to Stardust, that a nice range. cant wait, its been a while since there was a serious contender for "The Princess Bride" title.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:39 a.m. CST

    The trailer was fine enough

    by hippy32

    But it was the book that really made me wanna see this. the trailer told me that they were going to do it justice.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:39 a.m. CST

    Cool

    by CampKoala

    The trailer was awful. Hope you're right about this, sounds like a new Princess Bride. But I do wish people would stop paying Ricky Gervais to be Rickey Gervais. He's great live, but I'm getting tired of his one trick pony acting routine.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:44 a.m. CST

    I love Gaiman

    by Mezzanine

    I didn't think the trailer was that bad for this movie, in fact, I was actually excited to see this. That isn't saying a whole lot in and of itself, because Gaiman has been one of my favorite authors for the last year or so, but Stardust was my least favorite of his books. Still, I'm pretty excited to see this.

  • April 27, 2007, 2:50 a.m. CST

    makes me curious now ...

    by Lou C.

    ... because the theatrical trailer I saw made it look like a nonsensical piece of crap.

  • April 27, 2007, 3:04 a.m. CST

    I just couldn't get into the book...

    by kwisatzhaderach

    might give the movie a try though. Peter O'Toole is a class act. And Danes...mmmmmm.

  • April 27, 2007, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Sounds awesome! Now HBO; go do that Sandman series!

    by Evil Hobbit

    I think Sandman could make one hell of a tv-show if touched by the proper people on a proper channel like HBO. With shows like Carnivale and Tales from the Crypt on their resume I think Sandman would make a fine addition to their fantasy/horror line-up.

  • April 27, 2007, 3:34 a.m. CST

    GOOD REVIEW HARRY

    by iamjacksleftball

    Now will SOMEONE PLEASE for the love of God review FUCKING SPIDERMAN!!!

  • April 27, 2007, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Jane Goldman wrote this remember Harry.

    by Mister McClane

    Just wanted to point out that your review suggests Neil Gaiman wrote this. Of course it's his story but Jane Goldman has written the script which I am really looking forward to seeing now thanks to this review. It seems everybody is agreed that the trailer doesn't do a very good job of representing the film. Perhaps a better one will be cut soon.

  • April 27, 2007, 4:08 a.m. CST

    WooHoo!

    by segundus

    I'm a happy man just knowing that Harry, Moriarty (a love letter no less? It must be bloody good!) and Quint all love it. October the 19th here in the UK is just too far away.. sniff, snob! :(

  • April 27, 2007, 4:29 a.m. CST

    I'll definitely give this a go

    by photoboy

    Matthew Vaughn's work on Layer Cake was awesome, so hopefully he'll have repeated that feat with Stardust.

  • April 27, 2007, 4:48 a.m. CST

    The Princess Bride?

    by ilander66

    Welcome Back Harry That was an excellent review nice one. dont know why but there seems to me to be a bit of the princess bride sorta vibe about this and that aint a bad thing. looks like vaughn knew what he was doing when he ran kicking and screaming from the trainwreck that was X men 3.

  • April 27, 2007, 5:19 a.m. CST

    That's good news...

    by Vicenzo

    ...but this films in released in August. Shouldn't you be watching and reviewing films like Spider-Man 3 or Pirates 3 Harry?

  • April 27, 2007, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Nice Review

    by RobFromBackEast

    Bout time you put some effort in! Just kiddin. Very nicely done Harry. Lookin forward to this, Matthew Vaughn has got a fuckin huuuuuge career to look forward to me thinks

  • April 27, 2007, 5:41 a.m. CST

    written by jonathan ross' wife

    by misnomer

    whos basically our equivalent of david letterman...... only campier and funnier. he was something of a hate figure for most of his career until his arrogance became ironic....

  • April 27, 2007, 5:47 a.m. CST

    Funnier Than Letterman!!!!!????

    by RobFromBackEast

    Are you on crack. He blatantly rips off the guy! I like ross, but c'mon, lets not go nuts

  • April 27, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST

    well roos, does the film show on tv

    by Mr_X

    so essentially he's like harry. I wonder what kind of review he'll give his wife. no conflict of interest there then.

  • April 27, 2007, 6:54 a.m. CST

    that was supposed to be ross

    by Mr_X

    not roos, unless of course kangeroos are in the movie, in that case i'm there front row.

  • April 27, 2007, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Letterman

    by DylanDenham

    is not that amusing. Maybe its cos I'm English, but I just don't 'get' it. Then there's that twat on the keyboard who clearly wants his own segment. Ross nicks off Letterman, but nicks very well (oh, n has real rapport with gusest which i dont think letterman does)

  • April 27, 2007, 7:38 a.m. CST

    What Matthew Vaughn would've done with X-men

    by theageofknights.com

    Is practically what we saw. It was the script that sucked ass, and he knew it. That's why he bailed.

  • April 27, 2007, 7:40 a.m. CST

    What about the menacing baby goat-drawn chariot?

    by amaysingstories

    It may be a perfect story and a lovely film, but that first image of Evil Michelle being carried forth by the cutest widdle itty bitty baby goaties just made me want to crap all over this one.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Michelle pfeiffer

    by Lost Prophet

    Thought she'd retired. Wow<p>Whoever it was that said ross has good rapport with his guests missed the jennifer connolly interview. unquestionably the worst interview I have ever seen. He spent the whole thing trying to get a non-plussed Jennifer to say that he is better looking than her husband. The man is a twat.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:39 a.m. CST

    A Dusty Rhodes bio?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Wow, two wrestlers in a movie in one week. Awesome.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:49 a.m. CST

    But what about Robert DeNiro?

    by conniebrean1

    How does he do in this? I've been waiting for a cool role out of him for ages now. His part in The Good Shepherd was so small it didn't count.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST

    http://www.myspace.com/sonicwarriors

    by doctoremittbrown

    http://www.myspace.com/sonicwarriors

  • April 27, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    The Princess Bride...

    by scottness

    To me, the book kind of had the same vibe as Goldman's novel. A fantastical adventure, with love and romance as its focus. It's looking like the two movie versions will have a similar fate... The Princess Bride wasn't promoted well, and it took word of mouth and a second life on home video for that movie to become as popular as it is...I hope that doesn't happen to Stardust, but it looks like it might. Definitely looking forward to seeing this soon, though.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    I really liked the book

    by holidill

    I'm looking forward to the movie. I really liked the novel. I have been on a Gaiman kick and read American Gods which was sweet, Anazsi Boys which is hilarious, and Neverwhere which is ok. I am finishing up Good Omens for the second time and I loved that one. I need to get Fragile Things now. But if the movie is like the book. I will be there.

  • April 27, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Hope you're right....

    by FirstPostersSuck

    Because that trailer did look like it was trying too hard (aside from Ricky Gervais) and I want this to be GOOD!!!

  • April 27, 2007, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Sienna Miller is the new Elizabeth Hurley

    by tonagan

    And no one can convince me otherwise. No one!!!

  • April 27, 2007, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Claire Danes is

    by Stuntcock Mike

    hot in a tomboyish, itty-bitty titty way.

  • April 27, 2007, 9:56 a.m. CST

    GOATS

    by DOGSOUP

    Shut the fuck up about the goats! It'll work!! Read a fucking book! It WILL work!

  • April 27, 2007, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Mike

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    You're definitely beer goggling.

  • April 27, 2007, 10:02 a.m. CST

    sienna miller is a talentless dog

    by Lost Prophet

    Liz Hurley is also not very talented, (anyone seen that Ice-cube Liz Hurley South Africa abomination) but blows sienna miller away in terms of hotness.<p>Sienna Miller should be in Eastenders because there is no fucking chance of me ever seeing that miserable shit.

  • April 27, 2007, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Grammaton Cleric Binks

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Yeah, I know dammit.

  • April 27, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Sienna Miller is one of those people who...

    by rbatty024

    I have no clue how they became famous. I mean, where the hell did she come from? She just sort of showed up one day and won't leave the movie screen. She's an incredibly bland actress with zero range. There are remarkably few new actresses with any talent.

  • April 27, 2007, 10:19 a.m. CST

    far from amazing

    by arctic monkey

    the movie is far from amazing...formulaic "hollywood" adaptation lacking a real sense of magic...time will definitely tell...entertaining matinee, yes...a film to be lavished with praise, hardly

  • April 27, 2007, 10:58 a.m. CST

    looks like a more coherent version of gilliams fantasy

    by pipergates

    i love gilliams and wimsy and surreality, but im sure he alienates a lot of people, this looks well told and just as full of details and quirkyness as those gems "time bandits" and "baron von munchausen".

  • April 27, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    rbatty

    by Lost Prophet

    She fucked Jude Law. <p>That is all she did. <p>Sad isn't it- I think it is more of a comment on our society than anything else. <p>mind you, I saw Sadie Frost in the pub the other day and Sienna Miller looks a million times more fuckable than that dried up old coke-whore.

  • April 27, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Formulaic Hollywood adaptation?

    by segundus

    Hardly! The writers are British. It was partly funded by Vaughn himself through his production company, and most of the facilities (film and post-production) are British too! This is not some Hollywood "flick".

  • April 27, 2007, noon CST

    Is Shia Labeouf in this?

    by Forestal

    If not I will not be seeing it.

  • April 27, 2007, 12:28 p.m. CST

    those that made Vaughn leave Xmen deserves hellfire

    by pipergates

    and i bet this movie proves it.The Ratner's version was adecuate, but it could have been so much more. sounds like it was either the script or the timetable Vaughn didnt agree with.

  • April 27, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    even more depressing

    by arctic monkey

    if that's the case, it's even more depressing that the film wasn't more inspiring...

  • April 27, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    When will Harry & Mori give their Spider-Man 3 analysis

    by BDuncan

    Thanks Harry ; it'll be interesting to read Harry and Mori's separate analysis of the Spider-Man 3 film, as it received a mostly negative review from Variety's Todd McCarthy.

  • April 27, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST

    I was going to see this and then

    by emeraldboy

    last week jonathan Ross announced that his wife has something to do with. Gervaise is in this. But i have also heard that it is not a very good film.

  • April 27, 2007, 1:26 p.m. CST

    lost prophet

    by emeraldboy

    did you see star stories. last year. The one with madonna and guy was the highlight. that and the one with Michael and Catherine was the funniest thing i have seen in a long time.

  • April 27, 2007, 1:29 p.m. CST

    If i could pick one film that I saw as child

    by emeraldboy

    that blew my mind it would have to be Baron Munchausen. everything about movie that was exceptional.

  • April 27, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Seinna Miller

    by emeraldboy

    Mark Kermode summed her up like this, when reviewing Factory girl. "she's a rubbish actress, who stars in Rubbish movies and here she is playing a rubbish person. You know youre in trouble when she is the best thing a rubbish film".

  • April 27, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST

    DOGSOUP, chill on the hate, brotha'.

    by amaysingstories

    Yeah, I've never read a book before . . . . Listen, I'm not saying it's not a terrifying bit of profound evil in its original literary format, and I'm not saying that Neil Gaiman isn't a master of the artform. I'm just saying that the first image I ever saw of this flick was of our Big Bad Former Catwoman being carted about by a pair of the cutest widdle cuddly-muffin miniature goats. It may be some sort of ironic statement about just how eeeevil she is, but it looked like a chick in black driving a couple of escapees from a petting zoo, and it left me with an underwhelmed impression of this "masterful romantic fantasy epic." It looked like something they threw in there for the kids. Get it? Kids? I'm here all week, folks!

  • April 27, 2007, 2:21 p.m. CST

    A possible last minute alternative to the goats . . . .

    by amaysingstories

    How about having her cart driven by an amorphous cloud of monumental, planet destroying evil? I here it's the latest thing.

  • April 27, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Pre-emptive redirect on spelling

    by amaysingstories

    My dyslexia is acting up again. Here = hear and its = it's or vice versa, where appropriate.

  • April 27, 2007, 6:18 p.m. CST

    my spider-man 3 review

    by HEADGEEK

    I'm not allowed to publish my review till the day of release due to Sony's rules upon me seeing the film. That said, while i did enjoy the hell out that film, personally i prefer STARDUST

  • April 28, 2007, 3:14 a.m. CST

    Knowles is bought ho

    by movietalk990

    You have got to be kidding me...the trailer looks like this is one of the WORST FILMS of the year. A poor man's POTC crossed with Princess Bride and might as well throw in Narnia as well. Knowles liked this one? Did he visit the set or did he trade away whatever's left of his soul?

  • April 28, 2007, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Sounds like..

    by Redfive!

    A New generations Princess Bride.Layer Cake was pretty good so ill probally check this out.

  • April 28, 2007, 10:26 a.m. CST

    movietalk990...

    by tiredpm

    Harry flat out says that the trailer blows. Some of his reviews might be questionable (Superman Returns? Really, big guy? Really?) and he's definitely become more a part of the system than he used to be, but your argument was DOA. I agree, the trailer makes the film look awful, but you can't go after Harry's credibility using the point in your post.

  • April 28, 2007, 9:24 p.m. CST

    Gaiman is still a god

    by darquelyte

    His writing makes anything better. I've been looking forward to this movie for a long time. Yes, I know someone else wrote the script, but it's based on his story, and his stories are always amazing. One of my cherished possessions is a hardback collection of Sandman stories that Neil not only signed, but actually drew a picture of Dream on the inside cover. Awesome.

  • April 29, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Charlie Cox was great in "Casanova"

    by Bones

    Actually, the whole cast was great in that movie. And Sienna Miller played his sister in that film, where here she is his first love interest...kinda icky.

  • April 29, 2007, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Anyone who cannot get into the novel---

    by Bones

    Anyone who cannot get into the novel should try the ORIGINAL book...the illustrated version by Gaiman and Charles Vess.<p> The illustrations pulled me into that book and the words kept me there. One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read (or looked at for that matter).<p> In fact, I have a poster of the Fair from that book hanging on my wall right now, with a "Where's Waldo" Neil Gaiman hidden in the goings on. Love it.

  • April 30, 2007, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Well, good then

    by Quintus_Arrius

    Indeed, my wife and I shall go and enjoy this movie (when it eventually arrives here in the glorious land of the United kingdom of Great Britain). We shall then make love and lo, she shall bare many off-spring.

  • May 1, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Monkey Dust is one of the funniest shows ever!

    by Jakes Nel

    Am I in the wrong place?

  • May 5, 2007, 12:22 a.m. CST

    "LONDON" "ESSEX"

    by Jarek

    Monkey Dust rules.

  • May 16, 2007, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Would have preferred Neverwhere...

    by chromedome

    over Stardust, but Stardust will do for now! Gaiman is a great writer, and Neverwhere is my favorite of his novels. Good Omens with Terry Pratchett is a winner, too....

  • Aug. 2, 2007, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Saw in sneak preview: Harry is right...

    by NightBard

    I agree with Harry, this is a movie that guys will not be embarrassed to see with their date, a bit of action, a great cast, and a terrific love story for the geeks in us...

  • Aug. 14, 2007, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Just saw it.

    by Engelhast

    And wanted to come here and see how many people were bitching about the movie. Harry hit the nail on the head with this one big time. Really great review Harry it makes me want to go see the movie again. De Nero was great. The movie was great. I had more fun with this movie than all the Potter films put together. Matthew Vaughn is shaping up to be a hell of a director IMO. I wish this film was getting more asses in the movie seats because it really deserves an audience. And yes..it was better than Spiderman 3.

  • Aug. 17, 2007, 10:46 a.m. CST

    STARDUST

    by oogabooga

    Just saw it FANTASTIC

  • Aug. 22, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Finally got to see this movie and it was great.

    by CrichtonAstronut

    DeNiro was a revealtion as Capt. Shakespear. Turning on a dime from tough guy to quirky fun. Michelle Pfiffer is a delight as the evil witch. Chewing scenes with brilliant style and flare. And while I didn't think I'd like the all too immature at the begining of the film, the way he grew as a character really made the film for me. Claire Danes as the fallen star was such perfect casting. She played the paart with such adorable sicerity it almost seemed as if it really was her glowing and not the FX. While I agree Ricky Gervaidis often seems one note. That notes works perfectly within the larger film. I also liked the heroes father, mother and the with imprisoning his mother. The plotting Princes were good fun too. And O'Tool had a charmingly evil and memorable if briefe appearance. The old man can still bring it. Ian McKellan narration, definitly high on the cool meter. And this film did have a definite Miyazaki feel to it. Capt. Shakespeare, witches (all four of them) Gervaidis's character, and the mother could all have fit easily into Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away. So would the reversed perspective of how the people on the magical world saw their world against the "normal" world of England. Wonderful movie, funny, moving, with great and well used FX, and one of the best times I've had at the theater, well worth a trip across the wall.

  • Sept. 13, 2007, 1:30 p.m. CST

    destination... dollar show

    by ButtfuckZydeco

    see ya there