Monday, September 17, 2007

FILM: Stardust

Saturday night we saw Stardust. It's been out for a while, which is a good sign these days when films are often so short-lived on the big screen. I'd been hearing good things about it and we were not disappointed. Everybody compares it to The Princess Bride, and I can see why. It has that same winning combination of a good fairy-tale adventure story with a self-conscious sense of humor. The plot has enough moving pieces in it to keep it quite interesting (though not overwhelming), and enough turns to keep it not entirely predictable (even though I did figure out the gist of the end before it unfolded, it was still great to see how it would unfold). The actors all do a great job: Michelle Pfeiffer is divinely wicked as the vain witch Lamia, and Robert de Niro is a crack-up as a cross-dressing gay pirate. (Yeah, his gay play is flamingly stereotypical, but it's what the sensibility of the film calls for.) Clair Danes is a nice balance of sweet and spunky as the "damsel in distress", and Charlie Cox is perfectly charming as the village boy turned hero. Peter O'Toole takes a nice little turn as the vicious dying king, and his seven equally ruthless sons (including Rupert Everett and Mark Strong) provide some great dark comic moments. The film has no shortage of villains, all racing to get a piece of Clair Danes, and it squeezes in a bit of heart and inspiration, all while not taking itself too seriously and allowing us to have a good laugh while enjoying the story. Very fun!

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