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.