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STARDUST

SYNOPSIS:
From the sleepy English village of Wall, where a cobblestone wall divides the villagers from the supernatural parallel universe on the other side, Tristan Thorne (Charlie Cox) sees a falling star and promises it to Victoria (Sienna Miller), whose heart he hopes to win. As he crosses the wall into the magical land of Stormhold, he finds to his amazement that the falling star is a beautiful, spirited young woman called Yvaine (Claire Danes). As Tristan tries to protect and bring her home, they encounter an evil and powerful witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) desperately searching for eternal youth, a pirate Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) with an unusual hobby, and Septimus (Mark Strong), one of the ambitious sons of the dying King (Peter O'Toole), eager to win the throne.

Review by Louise Keller:
Robert De Niro is a hoot as the pirate captain with a penchant for wearing red ostrich feathers as he does the Can Can in his underwear, and Michelle Pfeiffer amazes as she ages before our eyes going from exquisite beauty to wrinkled wicked witch in seconds. A refreshingly original fantasy guaranteed to delight all ages, Stardust combines a sprinkling of romance, quirky humour, swashbuckling fun and breathtaking special effects in a magical wonderland like you have never seen before. There are so many intricate strains to the plot that keep our interest, yet the storytelling (based on Neil Gaiman's novel) is uncluttered and emotionally involving.

Greed, selfishness and power are the steep stumbling blocks that Charlie Cox's idealistic Tristan has to overcome in order to find his true love. He is smitten by Victoria (Sienna Miller), the prettiest girl in town, and is prepared to go to any length - even to cross the forbidden wall in to the magical realm of Stormhold - to bring her a falling star, as a proof of his love. But nothing is simple, and when Charlie discovers the falling star is the beautiful, feisty Yvaine (Claire Danes), they partake a bumpy journey together involving a Babylon candle, a magic chain, a glass flower, a unicorn and a declaration of love to a caged mouse, before they can live happily ever after. It's wonderful to see Peter O'Toole as the crafty old king on his deathbed, watching with glee as his seven greedy sons find their way one by one to (black and white) purgatory, where they crack jokes from afar.

Shot in spectacular locations in Scotland and Iceland, the special effects serve the story well. But the greatest surprise is De Niro, whose flying ship boasts a frilly dressing room that is contradictory to his fearsome reputation ('We always knew you were a woopsee,' says one of his rough and tough crew members, as he is given a cup of Earl Grey.) All the performances are excellent and the climactic scene in which Lamia uses all her considerable powers (with shattering glass, fire and a voodoo doll) is quite spectacular. Who says fairy tales are just for kids?

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

STARDUST (PG)
(UK/US, 2007)

CAST: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Adam Buxton, Peter O'Toole

PRODUCER: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Dreyer, Neil Gaiman, Matthew Vaughn

DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn

SCRIPT: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (novel by Neil Gaiman)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Davis

EDITOR: Jon Harris

MUSIC: Ilan Eshkeri

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gavin Bocquet

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 20, 2007







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