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Stardust (AF)


Stars: Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Peter O'Toole, Mark Strong, Kate Magowan

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Once upon a time Vaughn produced Guy Ritchie’s ridiculously overrated ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’. Now, while Ritchie’s career has plummeted like a falling star, Vaughn soars high with this entertainingly fractured fairytale about the fantastical adventures of Tristan (Cox) who boldly goes into a supernatural parallel universe to find a fallen shooting star and bring it back to village girl Miller to prove his love for her.

But, as in all the best fairy tales, the road to romance is rocky and, in ‘Stardust’, funny, fast and eminently inventive too, involving as it does a magical human fallen star in Danes, Pfeiffer’s wonderfully witty wicked witch obsessed with finding Danes to ensure her immortality and restore her beauty and De Niro’s roaring but closeted gay (seeing him dance the Can Can in drag is unforgettable) pirate captain whose eventual unmasking in woman’s clothing draws the consoling comment “We all knew you were a whoopsie” from a member of his coarse corsair crew. Add inventive special effects which bring the parallel universe colourfully to life and a narrative filled with enjoyable surprises, excellent performances (Miller simply looks lovely which is all anyone can reasonably ask of her) and you have a vivacious, spellbinding, skewed family fairy story in the tradition of ‘The Princess Bride’. A tad long, perhaps, but still an easy to enjoy fantasy.

And while all the best fairy tales have happy endings this splendid specimen has a happy middle, too, when Gervais, doing his usual irritatingly smug smirking turn instead of acting, is first magically struck dumb and then run through by a villain.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour.
128 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Oct 2007