Stardust (2007)

Genre(s): Adventure / Fantasy / Romance
Paramount || PG13 - 127 minutes - $29.99 || December 18, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-12-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer(s): Neil Gaiman (novel); Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn (screenplay)
Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Rupert Everett, Sienna Miller, Peter O'Toole


Theatrical Release Date: August 10, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Good Omens: The Making of Stardust
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bloopers
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Stardust is the latest film from director Matthew Vaughn. It is a strange departure from the kinds of films that Vaughn has been associated with thus far. He made a name for himself as the producer of Guy Ritchie's gangster films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Back in 2004, Vaughn went behind the camera and directed another British gangster film, Layer Cake. Because of that past resume, one would not think that the natural progression from British gangster films would be to science fiction and fantasy films. Nevertheless, Vaughn made that jump with his newest film Stardust.

The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name. The film follows Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) and his quest to bring back a shooting star to Victoria (Sienna Miller), the girl he is trying to impress. While attempting to retrieve the star, Tristan realizes that the star has in fact taken the form of a woman Yvaine, played by Claire Danes. The story is rather simple but while on this journey, Tristan falls in love with Yvaine and also has the deal with Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants the star to herself as she wants to use it to return back to her youth.

The film itself isn't bad but it never really picks up or gets interesting past the first 20 minutes or so. The film has a great cast with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O'Toole, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais and Ian McKellan providing the Lord of the Rings-like narration. None of these actors are utilized to their full ability and I think that has a great deal to do with the weak and generic fantasy script the film follows. Both Danes and Cox never really bring their characters to life either. We don't ever get the charisma that is needed with a fantasy story such as this one. While we do get a great deal of well done special effects and set designs, the films story never gets quite that interesting.

It is obvious that The Princess Bride was a big influence in Vaughn's directing style and storytelling but the film felt more like Van Helsing or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in terms of good visuals but little to no story. While Stardust is still watchable over its superfluous 127 minute running time, the film's uneven storytelling and bland characters make the film disappointing more than anything.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Good Omens: The Making of Stardust is a fairly standard 30 minute look at the making of the film. Director Matthew Vaughn discusses his unlikely transition from Layer Cake to Stardust. Also discussed are the extravagant sets, concept ideas, costumes and some of the films complex visual effects. The casting of the bigger stars is also discussed by Vaughn and the producers.

The DVD includes a 5 minute blooper reel as well as 5 minutes of deleted scenes. We get 5 scenes with unfinished visual effects that are quite honestly boring. I think the film overstayed its welcome at 127 minutes so more should have been cut out.

Finally, the DVD includes a trailer for Stardust as well as a trailer gallery for films such as Transformers, Shrek the Third, It's a Wonderful Life (in color for some reason), The Spiderwick Chronicles and Arctic Tale.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The video and audio transfers are definitely one of the better parts of the DVD. The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film's many vibrant colors and visual effects come off very nicely.

The film's audio spec's are a Dolby Digital 5.1 track with options in Spanish and French. The film does have some good scenes that showcase the sound but the plain and generic fantasy score is also unfortunately highlighted.



.::OVERALL::.

Stardust is not a horrible addition to the science fiction/fantasy genre but at the same time, it is also nothing we haven't seen before either. Robert De Niro brings some good energy to the film but is never quite fully utilized. The same goes for Michelle Pfeiffer. Instead, we get a great deal of Claire Danes and Charlie Cox who are quite frankly, rather boring. The DVD set is fairly below average with the 30 minute making of being the only decent feature on the DVD. With a commentary track missing and the film's weak box office receipts, I would suspect Paramount will release some sort of special edition DVD in the future.