OT: Need a feel-good fantasy film? Catch “Stardust”

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Are you looking for a feel-good movie that has wit, charm, humor, intelligence, a bit of swashbuckling derring-do and sweet romance? A film offering beautiful location scenery (Scotland, England and Iceland) and a talented cast of Brit and American actors giving memorable performances?

Then might I suggest 2007’s Stardust, a delightful fantasy film centered around the magical kingdom of Stormhold. There’s a race by scheming witches, fratricidal princes and a young man infatuated with the village beauty to capture a star which collided and bonded with a gem as it fell to earth. The witches want the star in order to reclaim their long-ago lost youth; the princes want the gem so they can become the next king of Stormhold and the young man, Tristan, wants to capture the star for the girl he fancies to prove his devotion to her.

The original theatrical poster for Stardust.

There’s a problem: Tristan (Charlie Cox) lives in the village of Wall, and he is never supposed to cross over the wall into Stormhold.  His father Dunstan (Nathaniel Parker) reveals that Tristan’s mother was from Stormhold, and she left a Babylon candle for her son, which will allow him to travel to any desired destination.

He lights it and is transported to the location of the star. Much to his surprise, it has a human form, that of a lovely young woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes).  Much to Yvaine’s dismay, Tristan takes her prisoner, intending to return to his sweetheart Victoria with Yvaine as her gift.

Of course, things do not go as the young man has planned, and a great adventure gets underway that involves a magical inn, a flying ship of pirates who capture lightning, led by Captain Shakespeare (Robert DeNiro) and more.

Yvainne (Claire Danes) and Tristan (Charlie Cox) are served by Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) as they enjoy a meal upon his flying ship.

Danes is absolutely incandescent as Yvaine, even without the help of special effects (her bleached-out eyebrows do take some getting used to, I must admit). Cox is a sweet and likeable hero who undergoes an attractive physical transformation in the course of the film.

Michelle Pfeiffer has great fun as the eldest witch, Lamia, who uses what is left of the three witches’ last captured star to restore her beauty as she tries to chase down the celestial body.  Mark Strong is a villain to watch as Septimus, the prince who is pitted against the other remaining brother Primus (Jason Flemying)  in an effort to capture the throne. The other five brothers, including Rupert Everett and Julian Rhind-Tutt, are now ghosts (having done each other in) who look in as a sort of Greek chorus and provide amusing commentary on the proceedings.  And the narrator for the film is none other than Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen.

Mark Strong as bad boy prince Septimus.

The film is based on a 1998 book of the same name by Neil Gamain. Gamain gave his approval to trim portions of the rather large novel to keep the film a reasonable length. The author said he also agreed to a larger dose of whimsy and humor in the film than is found in his book. The author said he preferred the filmmakers depart somewhat from the book and craft an enjoyable film, rather than attempting to slavishly follow the source material and ultimately fail.  I have not read the book but I can certainly attest to the creation of a very enjoyable movie.

The film is currently airing on Showtime in the U.S., and is available through Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It is also available on DVD and Blu-ray at very reasonable prices through Amazon.

It’s something the whole family could enjoy together and it’s definitely not just a chick flick. I could easily see Mr. FL sitting down with me to watch Stardust.  This romantic fantasy-dramedy really has a magical quality all its own. Highly recommended.

Danes as Yvaine.

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

7 responses »

  1. I loved this movie, it’s an excellent recommendation for anyone who loves romantic fantasy. My personal favorite is an older movie — LadyHawk. Michelle Pfeiffer is exquisite as Isabeau and Rutger Haur is Etienne the heroic man she loves. They were cursed by Bishop of Aquila (John Wood) to forever be apart. She is a hawk by day and he is a wolf by night. They see each other in human form only briefly as they change. Matthew Broderick is the catalyst in the form of Phillipe the Mouse, a thief with a wry sense of humor and a strong bent for romance. There is a curse to be broken, a villain to be punished and a great deal of humor. If you like horses you will fall in love with Etienne’s horse Goliath. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladyhawke

    • I’ll give it a look, Angie. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Jane … I love Ladyhawke! Actually, our whole family does. 🙂 When the boys were still at home, we used to have Saturday afternoon movie time. Each week we would take turns selecting a movie, we’d make tons of popcorn and then settle in for a fun couple of hours of family time. Most of the time it was very MST3K-like, with us making snide comments over the film. But this was one where there were few, if any, comments. Definitely an excellent choice!

      *sigh* I do so miss Saturday afternoon movie time …

      • Stardust was a film that got really good reviews, won several awards and I think it did quite well in England (where it was made), but from what I read, it was not publicized to the best advantage here in the US. The box office just wasn’t there, which is a shame. I just happened to run across it on the satellite and fell in love with it. I confess I have never seen Ladyhawke.

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