It suddenly dawned on me that, after plugging Stardust repeatedly over the last year, I haven’t actually raved about it here since seeing it. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading this and go and book tickets. It’s one of those magical films that ought to serve all genders, ages and tastes equally.
The reason I have been following it closely is, of course, that the story was penned by Neil Gaiman. Like the book it remains anapologetically (modern) fairy tale, though Matthew Vaughn’s direction grounds the visuals in realism, with superb subtle flourishes such as the way Claire Danes’ Yvaine seems to glow and wane according to her mood. Indeed Vaughn’s involvement is what originally filled me with hope for the project, since selecting the director of Layer Cake, such a drastically different film, meant he must love the source material and the studio felt he was perfect for it so would presumably leave him alone.
The cast is sublime. Claire Danes is wonderful in her portrayal of the star, while casting a newcomer, Charlie Cox, as Tristran was vital in many ways to allow his character to naturally emerge and bloom during the story. The names alone in the supporting cast are phenomenal, but chief among them are a deliciously evil Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert de Niro’s Captain Shakespeare. Although loosely based on the pirate captain from the book, Neil Gaiman said it best, “I know I didn’t write a pirate captain performing a can-can in drag”. So departures from the original story are very evident, but in every case they work well in translating the story to the big screen so even purists would be hard pressed to complain.
So this isn’t supposed to be a review as such, just me urging everyone to go and see the film because you really will enjoy it. Like Pixar fare, there really is something for everyone, though this wasn’t written primarily for children (Gaiman wrote the original as a fairy tale for adults, though the film is very much a PG). I fear that much of the advertising is designed to appeal more to girls (to the tune of a new Take That song, no less — though worryingly I actually quite like it) or else will fall into the weird grey area where no one thinks it is really their sort of movie. I promise it is, just give it a go.