Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is a joy to behold. One of the best films of 2007, it was practically ignored on its theatrical release - but the reasons why are hard to grasp. It has a very strong cast - DeNiro, Pfieffer, Danes and a plethora of well known UK comic actors, it is a fantastic feel good fantasy and feels like a modern ‘Princess Bride’. It’s well directed, well acted and very funny, but on both it’s UK and US releases it sunk without a trace… It does seem that a modern fantasy that’s not filmed in New Zealand is doomed to fail from the start. A real shame.
Tristan (Charlie Cox) is so determined to take Victoria’s (Sienna Miller) hand in marriage that when they see a falling star he promises her that he will find it and bring it to her within a week. However, the fallen star turns out to be a beautiful woman named Yvaite (Claire Danes) and during their journey back to the village of Wall, Tristan finds himself falling in love with her. Unfortunately, Tristan isn’t the only person seeking Yvaite; the heart of a fallen star can give the person who takes it eternal life and three witch sisters led by Lamia (Michelle Pfieffer) are determined to do whatever it takes to capture and kill her; she also also hunted by some princes who must retrieve the ruby Yvaite holds to determine which of them will become king…
With perfect casting, a touching screenplay, sypathetic direction and a wonderful story, Stardust certainly ticks all of the boxes. Shot mostly in the UK and Iceland, it makes use of the best that these countries can offer with some truly stunning scenery that offers just as much as any New Zealand backdrop. The biggest surprise is just how adept the director, Matthew Vaughn, is with the fantasy genre - it is a far cry from his usual work, but he seems to be able to hold his own.
The US HD DVD is a nice all-round package with excellent picture and sound quality, backed up by a decent making-of, outtakes, deleted scenes and theatrical trailer. It’s not a package that will set the world alight, but offers enough to justify a purchase.
Film: 9/10, HD DVD: 7/10