Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Henry Cavill, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Peter O’Toole, Nathaniel Parker, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Mark Heap, Adam Buxton, Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Walliams, Melanie Hill, Kate Magowan, Sarah Alexander, Joanna Scanlan, Ben Barnes, Frank Ellis, David Kelly, Mark Williams and Sir Ian Mckellen

Tristan Thorne (Cox) lives in the village of Wall, so named because running parallel to it is a wall which has been regarded, for decades, as being the barrier between this world and another. Which confuses Tristan somewhat given that on the other side of the wall, quite clearly, is a field. However, when a star falls on the other side of the wall, Tristan vows to collect it within a week to win the heart of Victoria (Miller), the local girl who he has convinced himself he loves truly and completely. But of course, this being a fairy tale, things are never quite that simple. For a start, the star is a woman, Yvaine (Danes) and she’s less than happy about the whole deal, then there’s the matter of the King of Stormhold, a group of treacherous princes and three witches, all of whom want Yvaine’s heart…


Stardustis glorious it’s really that simple. Adapted from Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ novel, it’s literate, funny, sweet natured and frequently very very funny. For the first time in a long time, the film’s slogan ‘The fairy tale that won’t behave’ is absolutely fitting.

Dead centre, and one of the main reasons why it works so well are Cox and Danes. This is a star-making turn for Cox if there’s any justice in the world and he manages to do the near impossible here, making a very nice, very decent young man an utterly likeable and flat out cool hero. He’s funny, charming, completely innocent and arguably the most likeable movie hero since Westley and Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, which isn’t a comparison this reviewer marks lightly.

Danes, with a flawless English accent, is equally impressive. She’s fiercely intelligent, utterly no nonsense and at the same time not quite human, Yvaine’s sharp tongue masking a character that’s both remarkably likeable and clearly not fully human. Her exchanges with Cox crackle with energy and the banter between the two is easily one of the film’s best elements.

The astounding supporting cast provides it with the rest of it’s muscle. Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Alexander and Joanna Scanlan are great as the three witches, with Pffeiffer in particular turning in an astounding performance, balancing intellect and desperation with sheer, cold-eyed evil. Mark Strong is also great fun as Septimus, the most driven of the princes of the Stormhold and, along with his brothers, feels and acts like he’s wandered in from a very different fairytale. The collision between the story of Tristan and Yvaine and the search for the new King of Stormhold is beautifully handled and the presence of the murdered princes as spectators in the war between their brothers gives the film many of it’s best moments.

However, Robert DeNiro steals the show as Captain Shakespeare. He’s that most irritating of characters to write about, a man whose true nature is integral to the film so all I can say is that his scenes are amongst DeNiro’s best and most unusual work and that one in particular is arguably the best joke in the film. The scenes with Shakespeare and his crew are a perfect balance of pirate machismo and oddly sweet camaraderie and they lift the film every time they’re on screen.

Stardust is a gem, it’s really that simple. Vaughn’s direction balances the epic with the personal, the script sparks with energy and humour and the performances are uniformly superb. Romantic, funny, uniquely English and at times uniquely horrible, this is a glorious movie that deserves to find an audience. Make sure you’re part of it.

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  • ALASDAIR STUARTAlasdair started writing when he was nine, powered by a hefty diet of '80s cartoons, Doctor Who and Icepops. He's quite tired by this stage but has written a lot of things for a lot of people, including Fortean Times, Neo and Surreal.