I’m on a Neil Gaiman kick, I suppose. He wrote the novel this movie is based on, and because of that, it’s been on my radar for years.
Stardust harkens back to the wonder of The Princess Bride, but with a little more magic in it. It’s a hybrid between a fairy tale and a fantasy adventure geared at children, and I couldn’t help but revel in nostalgia as I watched this movie. It truly is reminiscent of classic Disney fairy tales.
In a small English village that lies near a wall bordering a magical kingdom known as Stormhold, Tristan Thorn promises to bring a fallen star to the love of his life in return for her hand in marriage. When he finally finds the star, not only is she far different from what he expected, but now he has a target on his back. Danger lurks around every corner, from princes squabbling over their father’s throne to witches seeking their lost youth to flying pirates.
Stardust is picture-perfect in so many ways. The hero is a lovestruck underdog. The ruthless captain has a secret double-life. The witch is maniacal. People get turned into animals as punishment. It’s traditional, European fantasy in so many ways, yet Gaiman’s style is all over this: diabolical games amongst princes, a clever, intelligent companion for the hero, and just enough bizarre inhabitants to keep you on the edge of your seat.
To be honest, this movie isn’t quite as nuanced as Gaiman’s usual work. The characters are fairly straightforward, and you don’t have to look much below the surface to fully appreciate them. That being said, this is a film made for children. With a (mostly) light-hearted soundtrack, fun action pieces, and a perfect ending, Stardust’s slight twist on fairy-tale tropes helps make it more accessible to a wider audience. It’s definitely worth watching, but I’m even more excited to read the book. Yeah, I’m one of those people.
If you’ve seen Stardust, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I haven’t checked it out, I’ll add it to the list!