As an admitted fan of fantasy, I was very much looking forward to finally seeing Stardust. It did not disappoint. Engaging plot, a universe populated by well-developed characters, a healthy sprinkling of magic – it all comes together to serve as a wonderful stage to explore The Big Idea. Which happens to be not about an affirmation of some philosophical credo or a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, – make no mistake, the good does prevail! – but a simple lovely truth.
A young man sets out to capture a fallen star, so that he can win the hand in marriage of the fairest girl in his village. Little does he know that the star – who turns out to be a beautiful, if slightly neurotic, young woman – is greatly prised by two less-then-good forces: A clan of old witches who seek to recover their youth and the remaining members of a family of fratricidal princes who seek to assert each of their claims to the vacant throne. Many perilous adventures ensue, the boy transforms himself – with a little help from an unconventional captain of the flying pirate ship – from a naïve shop assistant to a strapping romantic hero, and discovers that true love is about lighting up when the person that you love is with you.
That the story is delivered in light tones makes it all the more entertaining – there is plenty of comical happenstance and dialogue interspersed with all sorts of wickedness. It also makes the movie seem less than serious at times, which could be viewed as a negative.
The heavyweights, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert DeNiro – the latter, especially, – steal the show on more than one occasion, but the rest of the cast gives convincing performances all around. The supporting characters, among them the devotedly protective pirate crew, the goat turned into a man, the fast-talking trader in magic goods, and the improbably good-natured troupe of specters, contribute their share to the delightful narrative, adapted from the novel of a contemporary fantasy luminary Neil Gaiman.
One for my DVD collection, surely.