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Thread: Stardust (2007)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Director: Matthew Vaughn

    Screenwriter(s): Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

    Cast: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Peter O'Toole, Ricky Gervais, Billy Whitelaw, Jason Flemyng

    Synopsis: "Stardust" is a fantasy, adventure love story. In the sleepy English village of Wall a young man named Tristian (Charlie Cox) goes on a quest to win the heart of his beloved, Vicotria (Sienna Miller). His journey in search of a falling star Yvaine (Clarie Danes) takes him into a magical world where he faces the witch, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and a pirate, Capitan Shakespeare (Robert De Niro). Adapted from the 1997 award-winning novel written by Neil Gaiman.

    Stardust - Official Movie Site

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    That wouldn't be Wall under Heywood, would it? A sleepy hamlet with a lovely church, lurking just below Wenlock Edge.

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='Nick Dando']That wouldn't be Wall under Heywood, would it? A sleepy hamlet with a lovely church, lurking just below Wenlock Edge.

    Or possibly Wall, Staffordshire. Or maybe even Wall, Nothumberland.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Stardust is a fairytale like no other

    Pirates, unicorns, Michelle Pfeiffer as a baldie. Our critic meets Stardust's maker

    Damon Wise

    Alongside former directing partner Guy Ritchie, we have Matthew Vaughn to thank for the resurgence of the British gangster movie after the double-whammy of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But since striking out on his own, the one-time producer has surprised those who thought that he was simply Mr Claudia Schiffer, a wealthy journeyman director with an accountant�s eye, no imagination and a Rolodex containing the contact number for every luvvly-jubbly Cockney in film.

    With Layer Cake, his first film as a director, Vaughn offered a gripping vehicle for the pre-Bond Daniel Craig and discovered the style icon Sienna Miller. With his follow-up, the soon-to-be released fantasy Stardust, he put Michelle Pfeiffer in a bald wig and persuaded Robert De Niro to do the can-can. And while you�re reading this, he�s prepping a Viking epic that will cost $160 million of Marvel Comics� money and tell the story of Thor, a god turned superhero. Which, he says blithely, �is pretty far out, if you think about it�.

    Stardust, however, is the biggest departure he ever expected to take, an adaptation of a book by the graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. Set in the fairytale village of Wall, it begins with the dorky Tristan (Charlie Cox) courting a haughty local vixen (Sienna Miller) and offering to bring her the debris of a shooting star in exchange for her hand in marriage.

    But from here, Tristan finds himself on an incredible adventure. Not only does the fallen star turn out to be a pretty girl (Claire Danes), and a hacked-off one at that, but he and his quarry are captured by pirates and locked in the sights both of a murderous witch, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), and the feuding sons of a dying king.

    It sounds exhausting, and it is, even with 70 pages of backstory ripped out of Gaiman�s book and a whole tweaked ending, penned with his co-writer Jane Goldman, the wife of Jonathan Ross. But when we meet in his editing suite, the 36-year-old Vaughn is proud of his film�s anything-goes approach to narrative. �What would you like me to show you?� he asks earnestly. �Romance? Action? Comedy?�

    Though its 120 minutes occasionally weigh heavily, Vaughn�s film is an anomaly in today�s marketplace, a film that dares to dream rather than conform to formula. �A book is entitled to meander,� he says, �and that�s the fun of it. You can go off at tangents and spend a lot of time with characters that aren�t necessarily going to keep the narrative driving on.

    �Which is funny, because some of the criticisms we�ve had, especially in Hollywood, are that we need a bit more pace: bang, bang, bang. And if we�d decided to get rid of the love story between Tristan and the fallen star, we could have turned it into a 90-minute action adventure. But I wanted to be a bit more whimsical.�

    Luckily for Vaughn, his two big hitters came in right at the beginning, with De Niro agreeing straightaway to the role of Captain Shakespeare, a vicious pirate with a shocking secret. �There were two actors I had in mind for that role,� he says. �De Niro and Jack Nicholson. All I cared about was that I wanted an iconic tough guy, mentor and father figure playing a big tough pirate. An agent rang me up to pitch Stephen Fry for the role. Now, I think he�s fabulous; he�s witty, charming and intelligent � but in that role?�

    Vaughn admits it was �a mindf***� once De Niro became involved, calling him at weekends to go through the script. �Every weekend, with me playing all the roles,� he recalls. �I�m not an actor so it was slightly embarrassing at first, but then I got into it.� And he brazened it out, too, with co-star Michelle Pfeiffer, an actress not best known for her sympathetic ways. �I wanted Michelle because she�s such an iconic beauty,� he explains, �so it would be a shock to see her fall apart. And she still looks so amazingly beautiful that you could believe her wanting to rip someone�s heart out to maintain her youth, as Lamia does.�

    Interestingly, though, although Hollywood gave him the keys to the candy store, Vaughn dug his heels in when it came to casting his hero, the unworldly Tristan. �I always knew Tristan had to be an unknown. You are supposed to share his sense of awe. I�ve been lucky enough with my movies that the majority of people I�ve used became famous afterwards.�

    For Tristan�s love interest, the fallen star Yvaine, Vaughn chose the former child star Claire Danes, perhaps his bravest choice. �Some of the people the studio wanted were great,� says Vaughn, �but they were wrong.

    �Now, they didn�t ask for these people, but let�s just say that if Yvaine was played by Angelina Jolie or Jessica Alba, and we have this geeky kid who goes off on a mission and meets this hot girl... He�d forget his mission. I would! Now I�m not saying Claire�s not beautiful but she�s quite... unique looking, let�s say, and quirky. And that�s what I wanted. I wanted this film to be about not always going for the hot girl � it�s about falling in love for real.�

    Hollywood values don�t dazzle Vaughn. �It is much harder to make a great film with hardly any money and no special effects,� he says, �just a bunch of actors, telling a story. That is a skillset I don�t think many people have. Spectacle is not as hard to create as drama. I think in Hollywood they are starting to forget that.

    �What I�m most proud of with Stardust,� he says, �is that, although it�s a big-budget Hollywood film, it�s kept all the film-making qualities that are important to us over here. Normally, the bigger you get, those widgets start taking over very quickly.�

    He catches himself. �Does that make any sense?� he asks earnestly. After all this talk of pirates, witches and Vikings, surprisingly, it does.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Country: United States wearysloth's Avatar
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    my 10 cents


    Stardust concerns the efforts of a young man to win the admiration of that special lady in his life, his one true love. To do this he volunteers to fetch for said lady a chunk of a shooting star that the would-be couple spot during a moonlit feast.

    His quest is complicated by the fact that the shooting star has fallen inside Stormhold, a magical kingdom chockfull of witches and nefarious princes who have their own reasons for finding the shooting star. If that isn't enough, the shooting star turns out to have manifested itself as a bemused maiden fair.

    Stardust originally appeared as a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman in 1998, about the exploits of Tristran from the village of Wall and his romantic and otherwise adventures "Within The Realm Of Faerie". This is a fairly liberal adaptation of the source novel.

    Like Gaiman's Mirrormask and Neverwhere, the tale takes place mostly in a fantasy world that is accessible from ours, with its own magical, mysterious peoples and sets of physical laws.

    Tristan, as he has become for the movie, is played by Charlie Cox - who manages the transformation from zero to hero with pleasing aplomb. Claire Danes is something of a revelation as Yvaine, the astral body of the title and we gradually warm to this faintly irritating couple.

    The first of the parallel stories concerns the fight for succession to the crown of Stormhold. The King, a magnificent Peter O'Toole rampant, is dying and four of seven surviving sons must retrieve a necklace the King has hurled to the stars, an act which triggered the shooting star in the first place. At one end of the scale there is Primus (Jason Flemyng), a son with a few redeeming features and at the other Septimus (Mark Strong), a son with no redeeming features. Also along for the ride is a Greek chorus made up of the ghosts of less successful siblings.

    The second story concerns a triumvirate of evil witches who need the heart of a star to maintain their magic and good looks. The lead witch (a cracking, cackling Michele Pfeiffer) is dispatched to seek it.

    Despite this apparent plot complexity, the film never seems incomprehensible - unlike, for example, the Pirates of the Caribbean films, whose bloat concealed a fairly simple narrative. And just when things seem to be flagging, the film is brightened by the appearance of an airborne pirate, Captain Shakespeare, played with infectious enthusiasm by Robert DeNiro.

    The humour is the saving grace of the enterprise and even a cameo by Ricky Gervais - basically playing himself in period costume - fits nicely into the whole.

    The visual effects augment rather than overwhelm the plotline which is a relief and every cent of the film's budget is up on the screen, which will please Gaiman fans who may have lamented under-funded projects such as Neverwhere. Pleasing production design by Star Wars veteran, Gavin Bocquet, and the use of genuine UK locations aid the ambience of the piece.

    A really enjoyable yarn in The Princess Bride mold, told with panache and worth two hours of your time, BUT flee the cinema as the credits start to role to avoid a ghastly pop song - you have been warned.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    name='wearysloth']And just when things seem to be flagging, the film is brightened by the appearance of an airborne pirate, Captain Shakespeare, played with infectious enthusiasm by Robert DeNiro.

    The site of DeNiro in a dress was far funnier than Gervais' (who was again just being David Brent) cameo and I'm struggling to get the mental image out of my head. Michele Pfeiffer also rustles up her best performance for some time as the cackling witch. It reminded me somewhat of the Gilliam/Python fairy tales put on the big screen.

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