Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stardust (2007)

Stardust. Film review. Based on a Neil Gaiman's book (my review to the book, here) about a fairy tale that wasn't really fit to read to your son (or daughter) on his (or her) bedtime, Stardust, despite its difference with the book (and terrible poster) was surprisingly a good experience. Not one i would even considered as one of the great films in 2007, but it was good enough, and better than most experiences i had following the year of 2007.

In a certain village, there was this wall running across the plain. The wall had a crack, and it was never left without a guard. The guard wasn't meant to prevent anything coming into but rather anyone trying to pass through. He looks into part of the wall called England, as we know it. The other side of the wall which this guard trying to prevent anyone to go into, was Stormhold, a fairy kingdom where mystical creatures, witches, a dying king and his seven sons, a flying ship harvesting on lightnings instead of fishes and a star that walks the Earth as a fair lady.

One day, Dunstan Thorn (Ben Barnes/Nathaniel Parker) went across the wall. Nine months later, a baby boy was delivered to his house from the Wall. The baby boy was named Tristan (Charlie Cox), and eighteen years later he made a foolish promise to a girl he loved, Victoria (but of course, she never really looked at him more than just a joke) that he's going to retrieve a fallen star that they saw in one evening as a token of his love. The star was Yvaine (Claire Danes) and she happened to be a beautiful woman and she fell beyond the Wall. And thus, once again, after his father, Tristan crossed the Wall to retrieve the fallen star. Little does he know that the star was a woman, that the prince of Stormhold was also look for the star to prove their inheritance to Stormhold throne, that the witches were also hunt for the star to attained an eternal youth.

The film was based on an illustrated novel. This way, there wasn't any surprises regarding the set design and costumes. It's one way or another, an identical or slight alteration to the illustratios found in the novel. Although of course, given the length of the novel, some elements were eliminated or altered. But mostly, it is all there. The feel of a fantasy (remember it was a fantasy meant for the grown-up, so better be cautious when taking your children) was prominent. Not on a level of The Lord of the Rings, but effective nonetheless. The only missing pieces in me was the role of Captain Shakespeare (Robert de Niro) who even wasn't in the book. His over the top, flowery performance even made me cringe and sparked no laugh whatsoever from yours truly, even if i had suspected that his role was made to be a comedic relief. Other than that, though, the cast was impressive. Claire Danes surprises me yet again with her British accent - i guess i still remembered her from that Romeo & Julient stint she was in several long years ago, the seven brothers were effective in their comedy roles, and somebody should really hand a best performance for Supporting Actress to Michelle Pfeiffer who portrays Lamia, an evil witch with no good in her agenda whatsoever - i don't quite remember when was the last time Michelle Pfeiffer played in the opposite of good. Hm, probably she wasn't ever.

Overall, although Stardust fall into a fantasy category, it doesn't tried to recapture the epic of a fantasy with sequels in mind (see: Golden Compass, Narnia Chronicles). It just a simple tale with right ingredients, no surprises involving the plot, no hidden clues that suffered from being desperately tried to get covered up, and the plot managed to flow through the hours. Although, maybe given my personal indictment with Captain Shakespeare, i found a little excruaciating trouble getting through the scene where he was in.

The last couple of posts had been all about Neil Gaiman. Now, for another thought related to him, his next film adapted from his another book, Caroline was due to hit sometime this year. That means, yours truly here had to find the book and read it. Well, after he finishes with Chuck Palahniuk's Choke (which has been a very disturbing experience during the first few chapters) before the film hit this part of the world.

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1 comment:

niken said...

One thing that I love from this movie was the seven brothers *giggles*
They surely became the comedy element in this movie (together with Captain Shakespeare of course). I quite like the captain, even I think the character is a bit too much :(