Stardust – Lowly shop boy, Tristan, is in love with the beautiful Victoria and promises to bring her a fallen star as a token of his affection. Sneaking into the forbidden nearby land of Stormhold, Tristan finds out the star is, in fact, a young woman named Yvaine. On his way to bring her back to Victoria, he meets powerful witches, pirates and finds out the truth of who he really is but with the dangers closing in around them and the pair sharing a special connection, will Tristan’s quest end the way it started?
Stardust (2007) – Director: Matthew Vaughn
Running Length: 127 mins
Starring: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer
Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance
Based upon the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman, ‘Stardust’ follows Tristan, a young man who finds himself in the fantastical kingdom of Stormhold when searching for a fallen star which turns out to have taken the form of a young, beautiful woman called Yvaine (Claire Danes). Being chock full of fantasy tropes like witches, unicorns, flying pirates and ghosts, ‘Stardust’ could easily become messy and unfocused. However, the central plot and it’s self-awareness are strong enough to keep everything together to prevent any confusion as to what the audience needs to concentrate on.
Plenty of oddball characters, enough villainy to even out the schmaltzy romance and a beautifully colourful backdrop, ‘Stardust’ manages to balance mainstream fantasy with just enough surrealism to be accessible to a large audience. Charlie Cox, of ‘Daredevil’ fame is almost unrecognizable as the innocent, vulnerable Tristan who is desperate for love, even if his affections may be misplaced. Also, Clare Danes – as Yvaine – is perfect as the beautiful fallen star who is more astute from watching humanity than Tristan is from experiencing it. Vaughn’s direction finds the perfect pace and balance to ensure that no one element overtakes another. The movie certainly has more comedy moments than Gaiman’s original novel but, in retrospect, that was probably for the best.
While the saccharine sweet love story may not be for everyone, the other characters bring everything down to Earth, especially the delightfully evil, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and unusual but loveable pirate, Captain Shakespeare. Keeping everyone’s interest high from start to finish, ‘Stardust’ achieves what other fantasy movies can only dream of.
IS ‘STARDUST’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A young woman meets a young man and they are instantly attracted to one another. After a brief exchange, the woman follows the man into a caravan and closes the door behind her. The camera pans out, implying that they have become physically intimate. Nine months later, a baby is left on the young man’s doorstep and, being informed that he is the father, he raises the child by himself.
Two older boys have a confrontation where one beats the other with a stick. This hurts the boy but he doesn’t suffer too badly, the pair are watched by some girls who giggle and laugh at the beaten boy, which compounds his humiliation.
An ailing king has seven sons, all who want to take his place once he dies; when we meet these characters, a few of the sons are already dead, appearing as ghosts and their causes of death are obvious (one has an axe in his head but isn’t suffering any pain). In one scene, the King encourages his sons to murder one of their brothers by throwing him from a window. It is a very long way down and the Prince screams the whole way down. Within a few seconds, he appears as a ghost next to his dead brothers, annoyed about being killed.
Three witches use animals to cast spells, in one scene they hold a ferret down on a table; the camera looks up at the witches from the table, they take a knife and stab the ferret, slicing down its torso (although the camera doesn’t show anything). The witches then rummage through its entrails, picking up a ‘kidney’, ‘liver’ and ‘heart’. Another, larger, animal is killed in a similar way but even less of the killing is seen.
A witch turns a teenage boy into a girl, there is a close-up as he suddenly grows breasts which ‘pop’ one after the other, the clothes that ‘she ‘ is wearing shows some cleavage. At an inn, a woman comes in and is completely soaked, she is told to remove her wet clothes and the ‘girl’, who is nearby and still has the mind of a teen boy, leers at her, eagerly getting close to her, hoping to catch a glimpse of the woman’s nudity.
A man takes a bath and unexpectedly gets his throat cut. Not a lot is seen although the attacker has a large knife which is brandished immediately after the killing takes place. The man is seen a few seconds later with blood around his neck (due to his social status, his blood is not red and therefore this isn’t as gory as it might otherwise have been).
Tristan and Yvaine are captured by notoriously dangerous pirates who give out lots of threats. Yvaine is told that on board the ship, it is ‘share and share alike’, The Captain takes her to his quarters, telling his men to leave them alone for 2 hours and one of his men says ‘mind you don’t wear that wench out!’. The Captain also tells Tristan that he will ‘feed (his) tongue to the dogs. However, the Captain is not quite as aggressive as his reputation and therefore, this potential danger does not last for very long.
When a male character is discovered to be wearing women’s clothes, he is ashamed when confronted by several friends. One of them tries to console him by saying ‘don’t worry… we’ve always known you were a whoopsie!’, the others usher him to the back of the group, annoyed by his lack of tact.
A male and female character realise they are in love and kiss passionately, another male character who has seen this excitedly tells several others to come and look – these characters aren’t interested and one calls him a ‘pervert’. The two characters who were kissing are seen in bed together the following morning, making it clear that they have spent the night together. The male character leaves before the woman is awake and it seems as though he is leaving her to return to another love elsewhere.
A witch uses a voodoo doll against a character, breaking their arms and legs (the corresponding limbs are seen to suddenly snap to unnatural angles), causing them to cry out in pain. Their body is used through the voodoo doll to attack another character, their arm carries a knife which is suddenly brandished in the air and they relentlessly move towards their potential victim.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘STARDUST FOR KIDS?
‘Stardust’ is a movie where so much is thrown at the screen that it is difficult not to enjoy it. With more fun nuances to appreciate with each viewing, the story continues to be entertaining no matter how many times it is watched. The colourful fantasy makes it look appealing to younger kids but due to some innuendo and generally more adult content that pushes it slightly away from the ‘child-friendly’ bracket, we feel this movie should be appropriate for kids aged eight and over.
- Violence: (a man is given a cup of poisoned wine, he chokes and gags for several seconds before collapsing onto the floor, dead. Another man begins to choke and gag too. A woman has her head removed by magic, there is no blood or gore and the body of the woman runs around comically for a few seconds before collapsing to the floor. Several non-gory stabbings that kill people who irritate the killer)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5 (after sleeping with a man who she loves, a woman believes she has been left when he is not there the following morning. She wanders around aimlessly and although she is sad, appears mostly numb and unsure of what to do)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (a witch becomes angry, her face becomes nightmarish; her eyes become very pale with blackness around them which makes her appear very scary. A woman is tied to a tree and left alone, she hears noises which frighten her for a few seconds before something emerges from bushes nearby)
- Sexual Content: 2/5 (a woman undresses and is completely naked underneath, only the top of her back and shoulders are seen)
- Bad Language: 1/5 (infrequent mild language)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (some dialogue implying rape)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of love, romance, naivety, jealousy, ambition, maturity, greed and courage.
Words by Laura Record