There’s something to be said for a movie that can keep up a sense of energy from beginning to end. Stardust keeps a light and playful tone and propels itself along with a special brand of ridiculous fantasy.
It’s the story of love, like many adventure tales. It shows our hero, Tristan Thorne, crossing large distances to collect a fallen star for the woman he loves (but who seems to view him with nothing but mild amusement). The star is a woman, since the wall that separates the small town of Wall with where the star fell is actually the border between realms, one real and the other fantasy. What ends up happening is a chase between three different people, all of whom want the star for their own purposes.
First, there is Tristan, who wishes to prove his love to his beloved. Second there is the witch who wishes to cut out the star’s heart, eat it, and extend her life by another few hundred years. Lastly, there are the final sons of the king of the realm (Stormhold) who are all trying to off each other in the process of succession that holds in the country. It is Septimus, the last of the princes, who wants the star’s heart for similar purposes as the witch.
Tristan and the star (Yvaine) have a very typical meet-cute falling in love, but the story is told charmingly with winning actors. The central story is also surrounded by wonderful details like Captain Shakespeare, the captain of a flying vessel that captures lighting to sell, and the ghosts of the fallen sons of the king, who are doomed to watch the progress of succession until it resolves, offering a macabre chorus to the scene.
Through it all, there’s great set design, a wonderful score, and everyone gives performances that fit very well with the overall tone and feel of the film. And, oh, again that tone. It’s not merely light and airy. It does move to more dangerous territories at times when the action needs it (the showdown at the inn the witch conjured between her, Tristan, the star, and Primus is a stand out).
It’s not great cinema (it’s perhaps a bit too effortless with the world-building to hold together as well as it should, and the resolution of everything at the end is rather pat), but it’s still a great time at the movies.
Netflix Rating: 5/5
Quality Rating: 3.5/4