Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'd heard rumblings about this movie called Stardust a while back, although it did seem to pretty much appear out of thin air on my radar... then saw the poster, then a trailer... and it all looked like it would be right up my alley... fantasy/adventure movie, magic, cute lead boy, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc, etc...
What I didn't expect was a movie with a highly talented British cast that was funny and engaging and just really really good. Even though the trailer is quite exciting and interesting, it honestly doesn't do the movie justice.
But as soon as it started and we got Ian McKellen doing the narration, I had a good feeling (although for a second I actually thought that it was his X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart)... and for the most part this movie didn't disappoint.
I've already drooled over the lead actor Charlie Cox when he appeared in the Heath Ledger version of Casanova (and interestingly enough in that movie Sienna Miller plays his sister, in this one she's the girl he's obsessed with)... and he just continues to be a world of cute in this movie too... especially after he gets his "makeover" half way through. Longer hair just works for him... and the suit he wears in the poster is just hot.
Claire Danes although she does really work well in her part... spent the entire movie channelling Gwyneth Paltrow... more than once I had to remind myself that it WAS Claire and NOT Gwyneth... and I'm sure that if this movie had been made, say ten years ago... maybe five... then Gwyneth would have been the female lead rather than Claire. Maybe it was the long blonde hair and the very similar sounding English accent (both being American women doing an English accent), I don't know... but it was spooky on more than one occasion.
As a general rule I'm not that fond of Robert De Niro... it's not that I don't think he's a good actor, he just doesn't do anything for me... except in this part... it's SO far against type for him that it's just HILARIOUS! And totally needed somebody of his background and general persona to make it work. Rounding out the main "names", Ms Pfeiffer was brilliant as always. She's done a great job of switching from the heroine roles of her younger days to embracing the villain roles... and in this one she's not afraid to go to the Ugly Place... the REALLY Ugly Place. But really, I don't think it could have been played as well by anybody but her.
Now I don't know if it's because I have an English "background" or because I see a lot of English film and teevee or if there are just less actors in the pool in England, but quite often when I'm watching a movie filmed in England, I'm more likely to pick out the "bit part" actors as people I know compared to American movies... either that or this particular movie just had EVERY decent English actor filling out a role. You couldn't move without tripping over somebody you thought "Damn, I know your face/voice!"... couldn't always pick the name or where I knew them from, but a quick flick around the cast list when we got home and it was a world of "OH! It's YOU!"...
David Kelly (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Melanie Hill (The Bill), Dexter Fletcher (Press Gang), Ricky Gervais (The Office), Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Jason Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Rupert Everett (Shrek 2 & 3), David Walliams (Little Britain), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), Sarah Alexander (Coupling) and Mark Williams (Harry Potter series)... and making a very brief appearance as the younger version of Nathaniel Parker's character was Ben Barnes, who I was drooling over earlier today on the new poster for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian... yummy!
As far as the plot goes it was pretty solid overall (within the whole "suspension of disbelief" thing you have to do with a movie like this)... granted I have to take points off because they pretty much broadcast the big reveal at the end within the first ten minutes... or at least I thought so... although maybe they were expecting that you would get so caught up in the story that you'd actually forget... which, to be honest, Ma did do. And as we discussed on the way home, part of the second half could have done with being tightened up a little, pacing wise... although neither of us knew quite WHERE... not enough to cut out whole bits of storyline... just a general nip and tuck. I did get a little fidgety during the second half, but to be fair I think that was partly because I'd had one too many burritos for dinner (plus my belt wasn't sitting right) and also because I nearly choked to death on some Maltesers during the first half. Melted chocolate... it's a killer!
So even after playing "who are you" and being a bit fidgetty and nearly dying... I have to say, it's a very enjoyable movie. Funny in all the right places, thrilling in a few spots and sweet and whatnot in others.
I think it will definitely find it's way onto the "DVDs to get" list too.
yani's rating: 8 Babylon candles out of 10