Stardust (2007)

THE SCOOP
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro
Plot: In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.


Genre: Adventure/Fantasy/Romance
Awards: -
Runtime: 128min
Rating: PG for some fantasy violence and risque humor.


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IN RETROSPECT (Short Review)

What do stars do? They shine.”

One of this year's few pleasant surprises, Stardust proves that Hollywood can still produce fantasy films with substance. It's a much better viewing alternative to this year's other big name fantasy adventure - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which is slightly inadequate in both the storytelling and cinematography departments). Although it would be unfair to compare Stardust with the likes of The Lord of the Rings, Matthew Vaughn's fantastic work scores brownie points mostly in the technical aspects.

Even with the energetic original score by Ilan Eshkeri, Stardust may not even have worked half as well without the impressively edited sound effects. Be it the lightning swoosh of a shooting star, or the booming onslaught of a heavy storm, it's very clear that the immense effort put in by the sound crew translates into a sound-fest worthy of an Oscar nomination. Creativity with the camera is another plus point for Stardust – viewers are treated to a wide degree of engaging camera angles that focus on a moving sequence, e.g. horses galloping in wide, open grasslands.

Based on the popular Neil Gaiman novel, Stardust is smartly-adapted and well-paced. The star performance goes undoubtedly to Michelle Pfeiffer who plays against type as the fearsome witch, Lamia. Robert De Niro plays a cross-dressing pirate (also against type), providing some quirky comic relief (it's not every day that you can laugh at De Niro on screen). Charlie Cox and Claire Danes round up the main cast with capable displays. The best thing about Stardust is still its ability to transport viewers to a faraway land, to a magical sphere of bewitchment and enchantment where Pfeiffer so effectively casts her spell. On everyone.

GRADE: A- (8.5/10 or 4 stars)





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