Saturday, 21 July 2012

Stardust (2007)

One thing Matthew Vaughn can't be accused of is being typecast.  Having started his directing career with the brilliant Layer Cake, he next made the fantastical Stardust before going on to the brutal Kick-Ass then X-Men:First Class. What's more, he has excelled himself each time. 

This fantastical story is about our hero Tristan trying to find a falling star to impress the girl of his dreams.  Turns out that the fallen star is actually a person - Yvaine - who is also being sought by the remaining sons of the King so that they may prove their worth to succeed the throne; AND by three witches (one of which is Michelle Pfeiffer) for whom the star will bring eternal beauty!  Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, it is fairly convoluted but tremendous fun, and all made with Vaughn’s inimitable style.  There are lots of sweeping camera moves between scenes, in particular there is a great one from the village of Wall all the way to the palace in Stormhold (a magical land on the other side of the wall, for which the village of Wall is named) and straight through the roof onto Peter O'Toole's bed where he lies dying.

Again Matthew Vaughn has managed to attract a hell of a cast and though the main character Tristan (Charlie Cox) is unknown to me, he is excellent and his relationship with Yvaine (Claire Danes) is believable and very sweet.  I think it’s a really nice touch that Yvaine starts to shine (she’s a star remember) when she’s happy and in love, but she actually starts to shine when she’s with Tristan before either of them realise that they’re falling in love.  There's no way to go through all of the cast (just check here) but Mark Strong as one of Peter O'Toole's sons trying to claim the crown is wonderful; as is Robert De Niro's camp pirate Captain Shakespeare (his ship sails the skies!).

I must admit to hearing of this film when it was first released and not paying the slightest bit of attention to it, thinking it was probably a bit of a girly fantasy film.  I put Stardust on my lovefilm list purely on the basis of Matthew Vaughn being the director, having become more familiar with his work over the past few years.  I'm very glad I did.  Stardust is great fun, looks fantastic, is funny, clever, sweet and the cast are all perfect. I really shouldn't have avoided it for so long.