Harry has a bit of STARDUST in his heart!!!
Do not check out the trailer to STARDUST – if you do – and it happens to interest you, I suppose it must’ve worked, but for me… it filled me with reasons to not see STARDUST. It looked like a mess to me. DeNiro looked like he was in a different movie, Michelle Pfeiffer comes across as… well gob-smackingly gorgeous… but then the “hero” is like bleh – and it just looks like a lot of nonsense.
Absolutely loved it.
Now here’s something you need to realize going into this movie… this isn’t an ACTION fantasy, it is a ROMANTIC FANTASY… and one that works, I’m genuinely pleased to say.
Well, I’m not the biggest fan of anonymously handsome no names in fantasy films that are supposed to be going on a quest to become a man/king type of thing. The lead, Charlie Cox just didn’t have a face that interested me from the get go in the trailers…
Wait till you see him in the movie. I wasn’t a huge fan at the beginning with him, but over the duration of the film, he genuinely struck me as a goof, who suddenly becomes a man. And it’s a believable transformation that you see take place right before your eyes and I bought it. This isn’t easy, we’ve seen films where the filmmakers and the story ask us to believe an actor undergoes this journey, but do you buy it? Not for a second, but here… it actually worked.
Not just that, but everything the film asked me to believe in, everything it was trying to sell – it sold and I bought.
Well, it all begins with story and in this case Neil Gaiman’s story was absolutely the heart of this movie. When something like ERAGON and PATHFINDER fall flat on their faces, because the writing is substandard – the words of Gaiman made it all work.
The overall sensation of the story is literally like watching a live-action Miyazaki film. But of a story he hadn’t told you. It’s all about a boy from a normal everyday world that crosses a seemingly normal wall into an amazing land where magic isn’t an act, where witches are not fantasy and where a falling star is not a burning meteorite. It is a world with talismans and charms, where a good luck charm could literally protect you. Where you could live forever.
But on either side of the wall, there are constants. Love is love, loss is loss and evil is evil. It’s wonderful.
The cast is dead on. It all hinges on that young lead and he miraculously pulls it off. To a degree, that may be because he’s doing all of this to win the hand of Sienna Miller, who is just one sweet gal to be doing miraculous things for, though damn if she ain’t spoilt rotten. However… before the film ever even gets started, it kicks ass.
You see, the movie begins with narration by Ian McKellen, and you know… Sir Ian’s voice just instantly makes you want to accept everything that follows as being from a long time ago, far far away, when a boy could become a man that could become so much more.
Then there’s the rest of the cast.
I like to think that I’m not a big fan of Claire Danes, but she’s got this goofy face that’s sort of like a blonde Molly Ringwald that just makes me want to hug her and believes she’s that seemingly ordinary object that is actually quite extraordinary. Here the visual effects department did this fx, that just makes her… well, not so much as glow, but to radiate. It’s more than that too, her complexion becomes flushed, like a girl that is pleased, does… but the radiant light she gives off… well… You know how you love the classic Star Trek, because Captain Kirk goes gaga over a different type of alien gal weekly? Well, Claire Danes is a new type of girl this week, and she’s amazing. You can’t help but to want to make her shine.
Then there’s Michelle Pfeiffer – and I love Michelle. Always have. She’s been an object of my cinematic affections for her entire career… and other than when she donned the cat outfit – she’s been most desirable as a witch, specifically in the WITCHES OF EASTWICK which made her seem like the most awesome conquest you could ever have. Well, here, like there, she’s joined by two other witches… very old witches – and when she does her thing to become yummy, she’s got that thing that so many live-action witches don’t. She could get you to eat the poison apple, kiss the poison lips and anything else she’d want you to do, because she’s Michelle and those eyes and those cheekbones and the rest of her doesn’t ask you, it commands you. She is great here.
You’d think that’d be it, but then there’s Peter O’Toole, who is such an awesomely fucked up ol coot of a king. Just a bastard. Then his sons like Jason Flemyng and Ruper Everett – along with the others. And Ricky Gervais in a hilarious small part – and so much more.
I genuinely believe that this is a film for romantics, which is predominately women, with a select group of us men that are not afraid to go gooey over falling in love. However, I’m not entirely sure that Paramount is ever going to get them in to theaters with the trailer they’ve cut.
This is a film that needs to be sold as a timeless tale of romance set against a backdrop of the fantastical. Trying to sell it based solely on the visual effects… well, just isn’t going to work. You know, alienating the guys that don’t want to see something fantastically romantic, is ok. But making sure you get the girls that drug their guys to see crossover romantically genred films… well that hasn’t hurt movies in the past. The film isn’t an action fantasy – it isn’t an overt comedy, while it is quite funny. This is one of those – it’ll make you laugh and cry and cheer and care type of movies. That’s so rare. Not just in filmed fantasies, but in the written fantasies as well. It takes folks like Neil Gaiman and now Matthew Vaughn to fill them with the details that the mediocre shit just doesn’t care to take the time to do.
I absolutely love this film and feel it could very well wind up being amongst my favorites of the year when all is said and done. If not, we're in for one helluva year.
Don’t trust me? Just wait till you see Moriarty’s Love Letter once he sees this at Tribeca… or Quint’s – who saw it with me. This is the genuine article, unless you’re a single dude that stays up all night playing first person shooters and grunting out attack jargon on your headset. And you know who you are.