The “illustrated novel” by Neil Gaiman and Charlie Vess has been adapted into a summer blockbuster. Is it worth a trip through the gap in the wall?

The book by Neil Gaiman and Charlie Vess may be purchased Amazon.com and
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Title: Stardust

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Matthew Vaughn.

Writers: Neil Gaiman and Jane Goldman.

Cast:

Charlie Cox as Tristran
Claire Danes as Yvaine
Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia
Sienna Miller as Victoria
Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare
Mark Strong as Septimus
David Kelly as Guard
Melanie Hill as Ditchwater Sal
Kate Magowan as Una
Peter O’Toole as the King
Ian McKellen as Narrator

Full Cast and Crew

Premise:

Three quests intersect. A young man crosses to a magical realm to find a fallen star and impress the woman he thinks he loves. A trio of evil witches seeks the same fallen star in order to prolong their lives. Finally, the succession to the royal throne will be determined when one of the princes can bring back a jewel currently in the star’s possession.

High Point:

De Niro’s turn as Captain Shakespeare is the highlight. The first scene in his cabin provides the movie’s only real surprise, and should have you laughing. More of the movie needed to play this way.

Low Point:

I could wave my hand at the overuse of the deus ex machina until the climax, where a particular felt unnecessary and cheesy.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6. The film has been adapted, with modifications, from the illustrated novel which has already appeared in two forms, and which was built from familiar elements of myth and faerie tale.

Story: 4/6. I enjoyed the story, but I could predict nearly every development from considerable distance.

Effects: 6/6.

Acting. 5/6. Pfeiffer finds the perfect tone for her character and this film. De Niro stands out among several impressive smaller roles. The leads were good, though not great. I think Clair Danes may have been a better choice for a role reportedly first offered to Sarah Michelle Gellar, though Gellar has experience with smartassed bickering.

Production: 6/6. The film features the expected combination of impressive location shooting and CGI effects.

Emotional Response: 4/6. Stardust features the familiar tropes of the faerie tale, and some adult references and frightening imagery. It’s Neil Gaiman, and not for the youngest or most faint-hearted children.

Overall: 5/6. The film recalls a little The Princess Bride, with superior budget and effects but not nearly the wit and heart.

In total, Stardust receives a score of 33/42.