Stardust (Vaughn, 2007)

Stardust, a rousing if not silly throwback fantasy from Matthew Vaughn, flickers with exuberant bliss while wearing magical trimmings proudly on it’s sleeves. The light hearted mythology of Neil Gaman’s source material gets introduced immediately (smartly via Ian McKellen’s unseen and all knowing narrator), pushing young hero Tristin (Charlie Cox) from the quiet fields of English country life across a stone wall and into the dangerous and astronomical world of murdering princes, falling stars, and decrepit witches. Vaughn uses his actors wonderfully; Clare Danes radiates as a lost constellation, Robert DeNiro snarls and prances as a lightning pirate, and Michelle Pfeiffer wretchedly creeps as an aging sorceress. While the special effects scream for a larger budget, most of Stardust feels perfectly focused on character. No overdone set pieces here, just a worthy catch of medieval and fantastical pastiche willing to go great lengths for the chance to fall head over heals in love.

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