Stardust is Good

Stardust PosterWent out to see Stardust with a group of friends, and we all enjoyed it. People have been comparing it to The Princess Bride, and it’s an apt comparison: both are light-hearted fantasy adventures with a love story at the heart. Stardust takes itself a bit more seriously, though there’s plenty of humor.

The concept: Three groups of people pursue a fallen star (in this world, a woman). Tristran wants to bring the star back to impress a girl. The cruel princes of Stormhold are seeking the necklace she wears; the one who claims the gem claims the throne. The witch Lamia wants to cut out her heart to restore her own youth for another 400 years. Tristran gets there first, but has to bring her back without the more malicious seekers reaching her.

There’s swordplay, magic, betrayal, comedy, and romance. Michelle Pfeiffer throws herself gleefully into her role as the witch Lamia. Prince Septimus oozes slime as a cross between Prince Humperdink and Professor Snape. And Robert De Niro’s Captain Shakespeare is… indescribable. Charlie Cox as Tristran and Claire Danes as Yvaine (the star) manage to hold their own with the impressive cast of villains and supporting characters.

I was the only one of the four who had read the original novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, but for the most part I didn’t mind the changes. I did think the climactic battle got a bit overblown after a while, and I really missed one aspect of Una’s character which is revealed near the end of the book.

On a related note, it seems that in the last 3 weeks, the movie “adaptation” (and I use the term loosely) of The Dark Is Rising has been retitled as The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, probably reflecting how far it seems to have strayed from the source material.

Stardust does it right: change the details, or even the structure if you have to, to make it work in a different medium. But stay true to the heart and spirit of the book.

7 thoughts on “Stardust is Good

  1. Great White Snark

    Yeah, I can’t wait to see this. The reviews have been consistently good. Too bad Paramount didn’t do a better job promoting it… quite an underwhelming weekend at the box office.

  2. Kelson Post author

    I just looked at the figures. Ouch!

    I know what you mean about the poor promotion. The theater we went to seemed a bit unsure what to make of it. They paired it with the kid-focused version of their “First Look” infomercial. (One of my friends joked that they must have looked at “PG-13” and seen “-G—“) We figured they were probably very confused when they saw the people who actually bought tickets and they weren’t all families with children.

    Thankfully the previews we got were a bit more appropriate—Spiderwick Chronicles, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Beowulf, etc. And The Seeker. (And, for some reason, The Nanny Diaries. Huh?) We were really hoping for a Golden Compass preview, though.

  3. Katie

    IMDb went so far as to say the movie “crapped out” at the box office. Grrr. Stupid effing marketing machine. Do we have any glossy promo swag I can post on my cube wall?

  4. aeryncrichton

    The studio people keep saying the movie was “too complicated to market in a short commercial.” Sigh. But they’re also still talking about it building through word of mouth, so maybe they haven’t completely given up on it. We’ll see…. Everyone I’ve talked to loved it, so maybe it’ll have some legs.

    We, by the way, DID get a Golden Compass preview with it….along with the other kid-oriented fantasy films….

  5. Rebecca

    Coming from the exhibition end, the preshow programming is done entirely by rating. PG-13 is likely to have the same thing as G, with an extra car and cellphone commercial thrown in. As for trailers, that’s anyone’s guess (it’s a studio and corporate thing). I have a little game just before I see a movie in the theater: what trailer came already attached to the film? I totally lost tonight when I saw Invasion.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Stardust, though.

  6. BlakeMiller

    “On a related note, it seems that in the last 3 weeks, the movie “adaptation” (and I use the term loosely) of The Dark Is Rising has been retitled as The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, probably reflecting how far it seems to have strayed from the source material.”

    When I see a movie title like this “The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising” I immediately am thinking – oh – they already have a sequel in mind if this goes over well. The next one, “The Seeker: The Dark Has Risen” or “”The Seeker: The Dark Is Flaling” – you get the idea.


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