“No man can live forever – except he who possesses the heart of a star.”
Tonight, Constant Reader, I am reviewing my fifth-favourite film of all time. (The first four are Les Miserables and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, if you’re interested.) This does not happen every day. So it’s possible that I’ll ramble a little. Sorry in advance.
So. Stardust. It’s adapted from a novel by Neil Gaiman (well, who else?), which, incidentally, I didn’t like anywhere near as much as the film, but that’s another story. It’s a sort of off-beat fairy tale (a little like Neverwhere in that respect), about a young man, Tristan, who vows to recover a falling star for his One True Love, Victoria.
Why do I love it so much? Well, for one thing, it has a bit of everything in it. Pirates and witches and princes and prophecies, True Love and High Adventure, humour (Ricky Gervais as Ferdy is a performance not to be missed, though it’s only a cameo) and seriousness, epic horseback rides over windy hills, flying ships and falling stars, a beautiful soundtrack and some really excellent camera work. The climactic sequence in which all the characters converge upon the Wall (a magical barrier between England and the fantastical kingdom of Stormhold) is one of my favourite pieces of film ever. And because of that eclectic but somehow cohesive mix, it’s a film that can be watched over and over again without losing the sense of originality and novelty that you get when you first watch it.
And I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it. The closest I’ve ever heard to not liking it is the Pragmatist’s comparing it to marshmallows, pink and fluffy and sweet but not much nutritional value, as it were. I don’t entirely agree, of course, but I think you’ll agree that “marshmallows” is not much of an insult in any case.
Stardust is a wonderful story with an excellent cast, full of unexpected and funny moments, sweet without being cloying and full of light (literally, in some places) without forgetting the dark. Everything that a good fairytale should be, then. (That is not meant to trivialise the film at all. I have the utmost respect for fairytales.) I have absolutely no compunction in recommending it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, and that is a rare thing indeed.