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A story of love and emotion, minus the emotion
Robert De Niro, Claire Danes and Charlie Cox Star in "Stardust".
OPENING WEEKEND: $29,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $85,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

March 15th, 2007: A young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) tries to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller), the beautiful but cold object of his desire, by going on a quest to retrieve a fallen star. His journey takes him to a mysterious and forbidden land beyond the walls of his village. On his odyssey, Tristan finds the star, which has transformed into a striking girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes). However, Tristan is not the only one seeking the star. A king's (Peter O'Toole) four living sons – not to mention the ghosts of their three dead brothers – all need the star as they vie for the throne. Tristan must also overcome the evil witch, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), who needs the star to make her young again. As Tristan battles to survive these threats, encountering a pirate named Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) and a shady trader named Ferdy the Fence (Ricky Gervais) along the way, his quest changes. He must now win the heart of the star for himself as he discovers the meaning of true love.

What to Expect: Stardust first appeared in 1997 as part of the DC Comics, being described as a fairy story for adults. In 1999, an un-illustrated version was published receiving praising reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it one of the best books of the year. A few months later, Stardust was awarded the prestigious Mythopoeic Award as the best novel for adults.

Article continues below

The author, Neil Gaiman, claims that he came up with the idea for Stardust the same night he accepted the world fantasy award for "Sandman 19: A Midsummer Night's Dream." Midway through the celebration in Tucson Arizona, he stepped outside and saw a falling star, thinking how great it would be if the star was actually a girl, who had to be dragged across the world to be presented to a would be fiancée.

Having been part of the whole production, Gaiman described the story being a bit like The Princess Bride, but it is looking more and more to join the ranks of Eragon and other already forgotten fantasy adaptations. For anyone that loves the book, must understand that adapting it into a movie will yield different results, and early reviews already show lack of characters, and sometimes completely new additions.

Fans will notice little things like the jewel not being a topaz and the overall lack of emotion that was greatly detailed by Gaiman. Captain Shakespeare, the captain of the flying pirate ship played by Robert De Niro, only appears briefly in the book, but is expanded to a 30 minute role in the movie. In fact, everything that happens on the ship was never mentioned in Gaiman's work. Apparently, De Niro's expanded character not only carries an important secret, but is also given enough funny lines to steal almost every scene he is in.

For anyone that never heard of Stardust, Gaiman or any of his work, will be confused by certain scenes that were taken straight out of the book, word for word, which end up losing meaning. The wall, which is protected by a guard is told to be un-breachable, without an explanation as to why, plus the time setting was left completely ambiguous. The witches seem to be extra nasty, as they kill, enslave and slaughter people and animals for no apparent reason, then they suddenly show pity.


A witch turns Tristan into a mouse, later turning him back into a human, then letting him go. Not much is explained here, which could confuse people that have never read the book.


With the film having so many problems sticking to the novel, early reviews have been mostly positive. The movie has received praise for its fast pace, impressive showdowns, good balance of action and humor, top-notch acting and an overall good transition of the characters to the big screen.

On the business side, the budget is around $70-$100 million, and the production seems to be spending the money on big sets and big names. The flying pirate ship that captures lightning as its source of power, was built actual size, being around 60 feet long by 25 feet wide. Hiring some of Hollywood's best should have cost a pretty penny as well, especially when even the narrator is the Oscar nominated actor, Ian McKellen, who joins an already incredible cast of De Niro, Pfieffer, Danes, Miller and O'Toole (who has a 5 minute role as the king). But star power doesn't mean good filmmaking. The release date has been pushed back several times, which could hint at either major editing that needed to be done, or just the opposite, where the film tested so great that the studio gave it a summer time slot to get the biggest bang for the buck. The latter is most likely to be true, since producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has claimed on several instances that the test audiences and focus groups were thrilled with the result. So much, that it shocked him to hear that a fantasy movie could get such strong unanimously positive reviews.

Looking at Eragon, which was considered a flop, boasted a similar budget, had big stars, fell in the same genre, yet brought in $250 million in worldwide ticket sales. Stardust will aim to do the same, but unlike Eragon, it will be challenged by 2007 blockbusters, like Harry Potter, Transformers, Bourne Ultimatum, The Simpsons, Fantastic Four, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek, Rush Hour, and many others. Only time will tell how it will fit among these cash cows.

In Conclusion: While the characters are a bit different, and the main emotional aspect of the book is lost in the translation, the fans should still have a good time watching the story be brought to life by some of Hollywood's best. The movie will not win any awards, and will probably be forgotten with the release of the next blockbuster, but for Gaiman fans, this is just the beginning, as Beowulf hits theaters a few months after.

Similar Titles: Eragon, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Princess Bride
August 10th, 2007 (wide)
December 18th, 2007 (DVD)

Paramount Pictures

Matthew Vaughn

Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Peter OToole, Ricky Gervais, Billy Whitelaw, Jason Flemyng, Ian McKellen, Ben Barnes

Total: 134 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 For some fantasy violence and risqué humor.

128 min





Stardust at RottenTomatoes.com

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