Monday, January 21, 2008

DVD Review: Stardust - 9/10


A delightfully well-made, well-cast, and well-paced fairy tale film. Comparing it to "Princess Bride" seems remiss, since I'd argue that "Princess Bride" is more romantic comedy with fairy tale elements, while "Stardust" is pure fairy tale; Gaiman obviously knows his stuff, right down to the 3 brothers who are setting out on a quest to discover who is worthy to become King (a common fairy tale trope). It fulfills all five criteria I've set out in my thesis on fairy tale film; the element of wonder is present from the outset, though that sense grows as the film progresses; it deals with sexuality and gender, from the very overt (Tristan's conception and Lamia's attempts at retaining her false beauty) to the more subtle (ideas of what it means to be human); good is pitted against evil with little ambiguity; the meritorious individual wins out in the end, and there are a number of transformations, both physical (Lamia's chariot becoming an inn) and internal (Tristan, although his transformation is made clear in external ways as well). A superb piece of work, and beyond all that, a damn good bit of fun, as demonstrated by the good time veterans Pfeiffer and De Niro seem to be having while onscreen.

5 comments:

  1. I. Loved. This. Movie.

    Comparisons to The Princess Bride, while unfortunately inevitable in this media-saturated and unimaginative day and age, are completely unwarranted. The two films are markedly different for too many reasons to name in a simple comment post. Perhaps a compare/contrast essay of the two is in order, Gotthammer, to finally settle this irritating tendency of every Stardust review to drag out Princess Bride as the standard? Princess Bride was and always will be in a category all it's own.

    But that aside, Stardust fares just fine without the comparison. It's beautiful, fantastic in the best sense of the word, humorous, and inspiring. And Michelle Pfeiffer is a gorgeous revelation. The woman only gets better with age, I swear it!

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  2. I totally loved the pants out of this movie.

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  3. Hey Gotthammer,

    I found Stardust to be a very refreshing film... dare I say “brilliant”... in the midst of stale regurgitations of previous cinematic franchises (for example, I shutter at the thought of a new Rambo movie). Rarely is there a film that is so delightfully unique that a viewer doesn’t feel ashamed for enjoying himself. In this way, it is very much like Princess Bride. At the end of Stardust, I did not regret a single minute spent while watching it. Ditto for the countless times I have watched Princess Bride and read the book.

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  4. Well I rented this completely on your recommendation and it was awesome. I really didn't even see that much reason to compare it to Princess Bride so I'm surprised that's been an issue. Anyways, thank for the good recommendation.

    P.S. Posibly my favorite scene was the fight between Tristan and the Guard of the Gap. Hilarious.

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  5. At The Movies with Lutz8:19 PM

    Just a very fun movie.

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