Stardust
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +1/2

Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Peter OToole, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro. Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. Directed by Matthew Vaughn.

FILM SYNOPSIS: From the imaginations of best-selling author Neil Gaiman and director Matthew Vaughn comes Stardust, this summers one totally original fantasy epic that is destined to enchant and excite audiences of all ages. Following the adventures of a young man who sets out on a quest to prove his love, and finds far more than he bargained for, Stardust takes on every fairy tale in which anyone ever wanted to believe.From wicked witches to dashing princes, flying pirates to dueling swordsmen, magical spells to mystical destinies, it all adds up to a funny, romantic tale of true love and high adventure unlike any other.

Stardust begins in the sleepy English village of Wall, so named for the cobblestone wall that has, for hundreds of years, kept the villagers safely apart form the strange, supernatural realm that lies just on the other side. It is here that young Tristan Thorne (CHARLIE COX) makes a wild-eyed promise to the prettiest girl in the village (SIENNA MILLER), whose heart he hopes to win: that he will bring her back a fallen star. But in order to make good on his promise, Tristan will have to cross the forbidden wall and enter a mysterious kingdom lit by unending magic and unfolding legends of which he will quickly become a part.

In this fantastical realm known as Stormhold, Tristan discovers that the fallen star is not the meteorite he expected, but a beautiful, spirited young woman (CLAIRE DANES) injured by her cosmic tumble.Now, she is in terrible danger: sought after by the King's (PETER O'TOOLE) scheming sons for whom only her secret powers can secure the throne, and hunted by a chillingly powerful witch (MICHELLE PFEIFFER) desperate to use the star to achieve eternal youth and beauty.

As Tristan sets out to protect the star and bring her back to his beloved on the other side of the wall, his journey will bring unforeseen romance, high-flying adventure, and incredible encounters with a pirate captain (ROBERT DE NIRO), a shady trader (RICKY GERVAIS), and an enchanted unicorn among other surprises.But if he can survive on his wits and the strength of his newfound love, Tristan will also uncover the secret to his own identity and a fate beyond his wildest dreams.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Now, thats one of the longest synopses youve read on this site. Its directly from the press notes and I didnt edit it for this reason it should give you an idea of how tedious the film becomes. At the opening, I was reminded of The Village, M. Night Shyamalans tale of an isolated 1700s hamlet shrouded in mystery. Then more and more elements were added and suddenly it became a concoction rather than a storyline. Its as if Terry Gilliam (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), with his often bloated visceral style, had directed The Princess Bride.

The main problem for me stemmed from tooooo much story. It was like a TV series jammed into two and a half hours. And second, there was absolutely nothing left on the editing room floor. Scenes would go on and on. Case in point, Claire Danes does not one, but several monologues Shakespearian in length, but alas, lacking the wit, perception or style of that writer. Dont get me wrong, I love Claire Danes. But these scenes felt more like reading a book than watching a movie.

And then theres Bob DeNiro in drag. He plays a gay pirate. He puts on a macho seafarer front for his crew, but in his cabin, he dons womens makeup and dances in front of a mirror dressed in womens garb. Ever see Nancy Kwan serenade herself with "I Enjoy Being a Girl" in Flower Drum Song, or Natalie Wood sing "I Feel Pretty" before her mirror in West Side Story? Thats what DeNiros doing. (I will be eternally grateful to our Creator that Mr. DeNiro didnt have the same effect on me as Nancy Kwan and Natalie Wood).

Its not a bad movie. Indeed, it has some very involving moments of derring-do as well as flights of fancy and a great look. Its just excessive. And when a film goes on too long, its like a beloved relative whos overstayed his welcome. Suddenly, the film loses its charm.

Video alternatives: The Adventures of Robin Hood. The most colorful film, ever, with Errol Flynn the quintessential swashbuckler, Robin Hood sparkles with action, witty dialogue and one of Hollywoods best musical scores.

Or try:

Princess Caraboo. A mysterious woman convinces the British well-to-dos that she is a princess from a far-off land. A most entertaining film, based on a true story.

Or:

Pride & Prejudice. Different direction. The adventure here is found in words and story. Keira Knightly starred in the 2005 adaptation of the classic tale of love and misunderstanding unfolding in a class-conscious England near the close of the 18th century. The five Bennet sisters with the aid of their worrisome mother are seeking husbands and securing the familys future. Fueled by detailed direction, pumped by satisfying performances, energized by fluid and sultry cinematography, and textured by Jane Austins ability to infuse humor into what would merely be melodrama in the hands of other authors, this newest adaptation is elegant, gentile and lovely.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: There are four or five expletives (damns, hells) but I caught no harsh language.
Profanity: I caught no misuse of Gods name.
Violence: Random killings throughout where men are betrayed and murdered by family members these include stabbings and pushing off cliffs. Witchcraft comes into play and the forces of good and evil battle off with spells and super powers. Witches sacrifice animals. We see animal innards after they have killed the beasts with a large knife. One man gets his throat slit. Though it is not graphically filmed, we see the aftermath, the blood being blue. The aged witches want to kill the female lead and cut out her heart so they can return to their youth. Blood: Very little blood.
Sexual Intercourse: Some sexual double entendre and a couple of suggestive comments. A man is turned into a woman by a witchs spell. The running gag has him/her constantly looking at the breasts.
Nudity: None, but some suggestive low cut clothing.
Homosexual Conduct: One character is a gay pirate. He is played for laughs.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: A few suggestive comments.
Drug Abuse: Wine drinking.
Other: As with many fairy tales, the plot contains ghosts, witches and spells.
Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Kids and Above

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