Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stardust - the Movie

I absolutely love the book Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. So, as you might imagine, I have been awaiting the arrival of the much anticipated filmic adaptation with, well, great anticipation. And I was not disappointed.

For those not already in the know about Stardust, it is the story of Tristan Thorn, a young man from the town of Wall in England, who is so in love with Victoria that he promises to bring her a fallen star from beyond the Wall. But, beyond the Wall is Stormhold, a magical kingdom where there are others also seeking the fallen Star.

If you are not a Neil Gaiman reader, but think that maybe you kind of want to be, this is also a great Gaiman starter book, as it is quite accessible.

But back to the glory of the movie. The cinematography is beautiful. The scenery is amazing. It was one of those movies that you just really want to look at for a long time. And I think they did a good job of transferring the book to the screen. Sure, we lost some elements of the story, some details and some depth, things were changed, but it felt like a film - not like a book being filmed. Care was taken in making the story work on screen.

There was a packed cast. With Michelle Pfeiffer as the witch Lamia, we saw her both beautiful and deadly, and horribly crone-like. She was fantastic. It looks like Michelle Pfeiffer might be making a career comeback playing the bad guy with both this movie and Hairspray currently in theatres.

Robert De Niro made an appearance as Captain Shakespeare, an air pirate with, perhaps, unconventional tendencies for a captain. He was great. I always like seeing De Niro playing something of a fool. Cause really, he's so scary so much of the time that it comes as something of a shock. And also Ricky Gervais, as Ferdy the Fence, putting in a humorous showing as a thoroughly unpleasant kind of a cat - something he perfected on the British The Office. And finally, on the big cast front, we have the Stormhold royally dead family - Peter O'Toole as the King, and some very famous sons - including Rupert Everett in a fairly bit part. And, in the royal family, a treat for all you Jane Austen fans - Mark Strong, AKA Mr. Knightley in the BBC 1997 Emma - in the role of Septimus. That which was too scary for Emma plays beautifully in Stardust.

Of the other actors, I was forced, again, to wonder why Sienna Miller has a career. She was there. She was prettyish. She was bland.

But, the two main characters - Tristan and Yvaine - were really well done. Claire Danes getting cast as Yvaine originally seemed odd to me who still thinks of her as Angela from My So Called Life - hardly an ethereal role. But I thought she was fabulous here. I thought she gave an understated and subtle performance. And I believed her as a being from elsewhere.

I don't know if this was meant to be a riff on "I'm the King of the World!" and "I'm flying Jack", but here they are having their very own little Kate and Leo moment.

The real break out performance was probably that of Charlie Cox as Tristan. Having been in very few movies to date - perhaps most notably in the rather disastrous Heath Ledger Casanova - he comes as something of a surprise. But this kid has star power. He carried the film beautifully. His was probably the only character that really showed any development (not a criticism of the other characters, this is, after all, the story of how a boy becomes a man). But he did the development thing well.

My prediction - this boy's face is going to be appearing on the walls of 13 year old girls everywhere within a very short time.

Anyway, it was a great movie. I think it can be enjoyed equally by fans of the book and by Stardust newbies. So go see it. You'll like it. I promise.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

I'm reading the book right now. I *can't* wait to see the movie!!! :D