Rating: A/ Once in a while a movie comes out that’s just plain fun. Stardust is such a movie. If there was ever a film that was able to invoke the spirit of The Princess Bride while still managing to bring something new and interesting to the table, Stardust is it. It’s a simply magical romp featuring witches, princesses, spells, and crusading sky pirates, a hip, funny, a raucous fairy tale with some genuinely scary moments and a unique sensibility all it’s own.
Young Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) pines for the fickle Victoria (Sienna Miller,) who insists that people like her and people like him just don’t mix. Alas, Victoria has plans to marry the doltish dandy Humphrey (Henry Cavill,) so Tristan promises to bring Victoria a fallen star to prove his undying love for her. Unfortunately for him, the star is actually a celestial maiden named Yvaine (Claire Danes) who fell to the earth in the magical realm that exists beyond Tristan’s village, and she has a mind of her own, and is all too willing to give Tristan a piece of her mind when he comes to claim her.
Circumstances thrust Tristan and Yvaine into the adventure of a lifetime, as a group of witches led by Michelle Pfeiffer want to claim Yvaine’s heart, which will give them the key to eternal life, and Yvaine also happens to possess a magical medallion that will earn the malevolent prince Septimus (Mark Strong) the right to be king. As Tristan and Yvaine grow closer, Tristan contends with a world filled to the brim with witchcraft and magic, making the tricky transition from kid to adult in the process.
Oh yeah, and Robert De Niro is in it in an against-type role as a cross-dressing pirate. How cool is that? There’s something touching about how De Niro’s crew accepts his sexual orientation unconditionally, and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the tough-guy star dancing the can-can in a dress and a boa. Stardust is one of those movies that never fails to surprise you, there’s action and an all-encompassing sense of wonder to spare.
No Oscar material here, just pure unadulterated fun and a dizzying sense of creativity. It’s just amazing to watch, really. This movie might be a little scary for some kids, not to mention if you take issue with the off-color humor, you might be better off watching something else on family movie night. Stardust was criminally underrated and underseen when it came out in nine years ago, and I hope people get a chance to appreciate this hilarious, imaginative film, because it’s up there for me with movies like The Princess Bride and the also underrated The Fall, it’s that good.
It’s not an ‘art’ film, not particularly deep or profound, but it’s an outstanding rainy day flick. So if you’re bored out of your ever-loving mind or your outlook on life is grim, look no further than Stardust. It’s insanely entertaining and in it’s own weird way, brilliant.