Movie Reviews: 'Stardust'

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A FANTASTIC FANTASY FILM

by Ray Baxter, senior reviewer

In this fantasy movie (based on the Neil Gaiman book) we have a 19th century English village called Wall which derives its name because there is a literal stone wall which separates it from the supernatural world of Stromhold on the other side. For as long as anyone can remember, none of the residents of Wall have been allowed to enter Stromhold; while there is an opening to allow entrance, this has been guarded (apparently day and night) by the same crusty old sentinel for the last 80 years.

But one starlit night, a young townsman slips by the guard and spends the night with an enslaved princess before returning home. Exactly nine months later a knock on his door brings the young man a basket containing a bouncing baby boy named Tristan (Charlie Cox) who he proceeds to raise, but never lets him know his true birthright.

Tristan is now a young man and hopelessly in love with a local town girl named Victoria (Sienna Miller), but she is set to marry someone else.

One night they both see a falling star and Tristan (romantic that he is) boldly commits to find and bring the star back to Victoria to prove his love.

Turns out the star has fallen in Stromhold, so Tristan (like his dad before him) scales the wall and locates the star. However, the star has transformed into human form, a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes).

Others are aware of the star's presence too and want her for their own unscrupulous purposes.

First we have the King of Stromhold (Peter O'Toole) who on his deathbed pits his three remaining sons (the most evil being Prince Septimus played by Mark Strong) against each other to succeed him if one of them can gain possession of the medallion worn by Yvaine.

Then we have three very old witch sisters led by Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who would like nothing more than to cut the heart out of the star as this will provide them eternal youth.

During Tristan and Yvaine's journey they come into contact with a flying pirate ship and Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro). Understand this is not a pirate captain like we have seen in any of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

I particularly like the characters played by Pfeiffer and De Niro. The former shows how well she can play the "one you love to hate" part (remember "Hairspray") while the latter proves once again that his comedic roles are every bit as good as the dramatic roles he is known for.

A "thumbs up" for this movie.

THERE'S NEVER A DULL MOMENT

by Troy Wayland, teen reviewer

"A philosopher once asked, are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?

"Do the stars gaze back? Now that's a question."

-- from "Stardust"

If you like damsels in distress and knights in shining armor fighting fire-breathing dragons, then "Stardust" probably is not for you.

If you like fast-paced, mythical adventures, then I can recommend this movie.

I never had a dull moment watching "Stardust."

Tristan, a young lad, promises the girl he is sweet on that he will bring her back a star if only she will wait to marry him.

The only problem is, Tristan (Charlie Cox) must leave the English city of Wall and cross into the magic land beyond to achieve his quest.

From there, the movie jumps right into action-packed adventure with notorious witches -- such as Michelle Pfeiffer, the head witch who seeks the heart of stardust in order to retrieve her youthful good looks.

The movie is rated PG-13. I thought it was suitable for children through senior citizens.

You will soon find out in the movie that the fallen star is actually a girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes.) Yvaine is a pleasant looking star one could gaze on all the time.

During the Aug. 25 showing of "Stardust" Yvaine glowed so brightly that she actually tore the film. I went for popcorn and snacks while Sawmill management quickly spliced the film and launched the audience back into the wondrous adventure.

Robert De Niro played the colorful, comedic role of Captain Shakespeare. I would love to explain De Niro's character, but I do not want to spoil your fun.

"Stardust" was awesome. I adored the new fantasy landscapes paired with the blustering comedy.

The tidbits and add-ons were exciting to watch, such as the pratfalls in several swordfights and what happened to the witch each time she cast a spell.

I enjoyed watching Yvaine and Tristan get tangled in the binds of love.

Troy Wayland was born in the Valley but moved to Payson with his family when he was 7 years old.

He is 16 now and a junior at Payson High School.

He enjoys working out, playing video games and his favorite movies are comedies.

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