Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’m really curious to see what people make of this one as it starts screening in the weeks ahead. Neil Gaiman finally saw it, and it sounds like he’s happy with the film, which is a pretty great thing to read. But of course, Neil’s a li’l biased, and he’s probably relieved that someone’s actually made a film that honors his source material. What about someone who’s just walking in cold? What do you think they might have to say about it?
So, I managed to get into a by invitation screening of Stardust in SF last thursday & thought I should send in my impressions. Please bear in mind that I have read neither the book, nor the graphic novel and don't have hard-on for fantasy in general or Mr. Gaiman's work in particular - finding both to be a bit whimsical & precious for my taste. That being said, I found quite alot to like – despite the story being a tad predictable & more than a bit sentimental. It's nicely directed and the intro backstory of Dunstan Thorne's one night in the mystical realm of Stormhold is handled nicely. You've got the set-up of the mundane town of Wall & the magical ren-faire world beyond. Fast-forward to Dunston's son Tristan (appealingly played by Charlie Cox) who seems consistently thwarted in his attempt to woo Victoria (Sienna Miller). Meanwhile, back at castle Stormhold - the king (that's MISTER Peter O'Toole to you, lad) has gathered his sons before his deathbed; all of whom are scheming to off each-other in order to claim the crown. This is quite fun, as each time one of his sons meet their demise at the hands of a brother, they become a member of a ghost peanut gallery - continuously adding color commentary on the further exploits of the surviving sons. The king, who encourages this sort of treachery, informs them that the only way they can claim the crown is by restoring the jewel to his amulet and promptly sends it to the heavens, knocking a star back to Stormhold in the process. Back in Wall, Tristan sees the falling star & promises Victoria to bring it to her as a token of his affection. His dad (Nathaniel Parker) helps him out by giving him a couple of items from the mom he never knew in Stormhold & off he goes on his quest to obtain... Claire Danes?!? Yep, she's a star (although apparently not the best of actors) who's trying to recover from her fall & has the king's amulet when Tristan show's up to claim her. Big suprise, they hate each other (I'll give you one guess as to how this story ends). So Tristan's trying to drag the star back to Wall, the king's sons are after her and the amulet, but a trio of witches led by Michelle Pfeiffer also has sinister plans for her. Yikes! how will it all end? Even a six year old can probably figure it out. But in the meantime, there's Robert DeNiro as Shakespeare, the fabulous pirate captain living a hilarious dual existance and Ricky Gervais, who is also fun as Ferdy The Fence. Jason Flemyng also sinks his teeth into his role as Primus, the king's most treacherous son. I rolled my eyes when the helpful unicorn showed up - I mean, what's next: Sparkles the dolphin jumping out of a rainbow pool ? Just be fair though, the unicorn does kind of kick ass at one point. Anyways, really sappy at points, really fun at others- with some feel good anti-conformist themes. Not bad, even if you know how it's gonna end – with all the loose ends tied in a neat little bow... with sparkly stardust on top. If you use this, call me Hallowscorp