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Stardust is a 2007 fantasy film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, illustrated by Charles Vess, originally published by Avon Books, and stars an ensemble cast including Charlie Cox, Ben Barnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O'Toole, David Kelly, Robert De Niro, and Mark Heap. Narration is by Ian McKellen.

In 2008 it won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

Plot

In the village of Walle (so called because of the stone wall that is a border with another world), Dunstan Thorn (Ben Barnes) sneaks past the guard at a hole in the wall. On the other side he meets a witch's slave (Kate Magowan) for one night. Nine months later the wall guard arrives at Dunstan's door with a baby named Tristan.

Eighteen years later, Tristan (Charlie Cox) is infatuated with Victoria (Sienna Miller). He invites her to a night time picnic.

On the other side of the wall in Stormhold, the king (Peter O'Toole) is dying in the company of his sons. The king throws the Power of Stormhold, a large ruby, into the sky. "He of royal blood" who finds the ruby will become the next king. The stone collides with a star that falls to Earth.

Tristan vows to bring Victoria the fallen star in exchange for her marrying him. After Tristan fails to slip past the guard at the wall, his father gives him a Babylon Candle his mother left him. Tristan lights the Babylon Candle, but accidentally thinks about the star and teleports to its impact area in Stormhold. The star is a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes).

To win Victoria's heart, Tristan uses a silver chain his father obtained trying to free the slave girl to link Yvaine to himself. He promises to use the Babylon candle to return her to the sky after taking her to Victoria. However, three witches — Mormo, Empusa and Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) — want Yvaine so they can recover their beauty and youth by devouring her heart. Additionally, the sons of the king are looking for the Power of Stormhold, which Yvaine is wearing.

The witches select Lamia to seek the star. Lamia meets Ditchwater Sal, the witch who is keeping Tristan's mother enslaved. After Sal drugs Lamia's food, causing her to reveal the story of the fallen star, Lamia curses her to never perceive the star.
Yvaine rides a unicorn to safety
Yvaine is weary and unaccustomed to daytime travel. Tristan ties her to a tree and promises to return with food. A unicorn frees Yvaine, taking her to an inn. Tristan discovers Yvaine gone and lies down to rest. The stars warn Tristan of Yvaine's danger, begging him to save her. Tristan awakes as Prince Primus passes in his stagecoach, and they travel to the inn, which is a trap created by Lamia. Lamia kills Primus, but Tristan and Yvaine escape using the Babylon candle.

Prince Septimus arrives, determining he is the last surviving son of the king, but needs the stone to become king. Septimus learns that it is in the possession of the fallen star and that the heart of a star grants immortality.

Because Tristan and Yvaine thought of their respective homes, the candle takes Tristan and Yvaine into the storm clouds. They are captured by pirates in a flying ship. Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) threatens and interrogates them, and takes them into his privatre quarters — where he reveals himself to be a kind, gentle man who acts tough to preserve his reputation. He grants them safe passage, on the condition that they keep his secret.

Captain Shakespeare sets them down by the road to Wall, with one day left until Victoria's birthday. They encounter Ditchwater Sal driving her caravan to Wall, the same caravan at which Tristan's father purchased a glass flower. Tristan trades the flower for safe passage to Wall, but Sal transforms him into a dormouse. Sal can't perceive Yvaine because of the curse Lamia placed upon her. Yvaine passes the journey to Wall in the witch's caravan. She reveals her love to Tristan, not realizing he can understand her.

Arriving at a village near the wall, Sal restores Tristan. Tristan and Yvaine spend the night at an inn, and Tristan tells Yvaine that he returns her love. The next morning while Yvaine is asleep, Tristan cuts off a piece of her hair and crosses the wall to tell Victoria he no longer wishes to marry her. The innkeeper garbles Tristan's message to Yvain, so she believes Tristan is leaving her for Victoria. When Tristan tries giving Victoria the lock of hair, it has turned into stardust. If Yvaine crosses the wall she will die. Tristan hurries back to find her.

The slave girl, seeing Yvaine heading towards the wall, takes over Ditchwater Sal's caravan and races to prevent her from crossing. She stops Yvaine, but Lamia arrives, kills Sal, and takes Yvaine and the slave girl to the witches' castle: Yvaine to be killed and the girl as a servant.

Septimus and Tristan pursue Lamia, agreeing to attack the witches together. Septimus confronts the slave girl, but recognizes her as his sister Una, daughter of the king. Septimus impales Empusa with a sword. Tristan confronts Una, and she convinces him that she is his mother. Septimus attacks Lamia, who drowns him using a voodoo doll.

Tristan defeats Mormo by releasing caged animals in the castle. Lamia reanimates Septimus' corpse to attack Tristan, but Tristan traps it under a chandelier. Lamia disarms Tristan, and is about to kill him when she has a change of heart and releases both him and Yvaine. It is a ruse intended to restore Yvaine's heart, making it more powerful. Lamia attacks them again, but Yvaine, knowing that Tristan loves her, unleashes a wave of starlight that disintegrates Lamia.

Tristan retrieves the jewel that Yvaine was wearing. Una explains that Tristan is the last male heir of Stormhold. Tristan becomes the new king with Yvaine as his queen. After eighty years of ruling Stormhold, they use a Babylon candle to ascend to the sky, where they become twin stars. Since Yvaine "gave her heart" to Tristan, the two will live forever in the sky.

Cast

  • Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorne, the protagonist. He vows to find a fallen star to bring to the woman he seems to love, Victoria, but finds a young woman and winds up defending her from various magic and falling in love with her
  • Claire Danes as Yvaine, the star sought by Tristan, the witches, and the princes of Stormhold. She glows the brightest when she is with Tristan as she falls in love with him.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia, the witch-queen who attempts to steal Yvaine's heart.
  • Robert DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare, of the Caspartine a famous pirate with a reputation for being cruel though in reality, it is all a ploy.
  • Mark Strong as Septimus, the cruelest of the seven Stormhold princes. He is the last of the brothers to die at the hands of Lamia.
  • Nathaniel Parker as Dunstan Thorne, Tristan's father
  • Ben Barnes as Young Dunstan Thorne
  • Kate Magowan as Una, the first and only Stormhold princess
  • Sienna Miller as Victoria Forester, Tristan's dream girl for whom he obtains the star
  • Peter O'Toole as King of Stormhold
  • Jason Flemyng as Primus, the first of the sons. He is the sixth to die when his throat is slit by Lamia.
  • Joanna Scanlan as Mormo, one of the witches. She is killed by the animals she had imprisoned for rituals.
  • Sarah Alexander as Empusa, the youngest of the witches. She is killed when Septimus throws a sword through her.
  • Rupert Everett as Secundus, the 4th to die. He is pushed out of a window by Septimus, falling many stories to his death.
  • Ricky Gervais as Ferdy the Fence, a frequent client of Shakespeare. When questioned by Lamia, the queen turns his voice into that of an animal, which later annoys Septimus and prompts him to kill Ferdy.
  • Mark Heap as Tertius, the 3rd son and 5th to die. He is poisoned by Septimus when he drugs Tertius and Primus's wine. Primus' wine is mistakenly drunk by the priest, who dies in his place.
  • Adam Buxton as Quintus, the 5th son.
  • Julian Rhind-Tutt as Quartus, the 4th son. The specifics of his death are unknown but he was frozen to death by Septimus.
  • David Walliams as Sextus, the 6th son
  • Melanie Hill as Ditchwater Sal, another witch
  • David Kelly as Guard
  • Mark Williams as Billy
  • Dexter Fletcher as Skinny Pirate
  • Henry Cavill as Humphrey
  • Ian McKellen as Narrator
  • Jake Curran as Bernard


Production

Optioning

The 1998 fantasy novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman was first optioned for the movies by Miramax in 1998-9. According to Gaiman, the film went "through an unsatisfactory development period", and he recovered the rights after they expired.Eventually, discussions about a film version of Stardust began taking place between Gaiman, director Terry Gilliam and Matthew Vaughn. After Gilliam dropped out following his involvement with The Brothers Grimm, Vaughn left the talks to direct Layer Cake. Gaiman and Vaughn resumed talks after the director walked away from helming the film X-Men: The Last Stand and in January 2005, Vaughn acquired the option to develop the film adaptation. In October 2005, the director entered final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to direct and produce Stardust with a budget estimated at $70 million (US).

Writing

The adapted screenplay was written by Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman. When asked how the book inspired his vision for the movie, he said that he wanted "to do Princess Bride with a Midnight Run overtone." One of the difficulties with adapting the novel was its earnest and dark nature: an adult fairy tale in which sex and violence are presented unflinchingly. As a result of changes, the movie version has a greater element of whimsy and humor, with Gaiman's blessing given to the screenwriters. Gaiman did not want people to go to the theater to see a film that attempted to be completely loyal to Stardust the book and failed. After creating theaudiobook version of the novel, Gaiman realized that there was 10 1/2 hours of material in the book. This led him to acknowledge that the film would have to compress the novel, leaving out portions of the work. Budgetary concerns also factored into the adaptation, even with the level of 2006 technology.

Vaughn and Goldman decided that the witches needed names (as in the book they were collectively Lilim); their Classical decisions included a reference to The Books of Magic (Empusa) and Neverwhere (Lamia).

Casting

In March 2006, the studio cast Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller. Production began in the UK and Icelandmarker in April 2006, with the majority of filming taking place in the UK. Vaughn himself picked Danes, Cox and Pfeiffer for their roles. He intended Captain Shakespeare to be played by either De Niro or Jack Nicholson. Stephen Fry was pitched as a possible Shakespeare, but Vaughn eventually picked De Niro.Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the role of Yvaine but turned it down to spend more time with her husband, Freddie Prinze, Jr.

The role of Quintus was originally given to comedian Noel Fielding, but due to health issues he had to drop out, and was replaced by fellow comedian Adam Buxton.

Locations

In mid-April 2006, principal photography started on Stardust. The production was filmed at Pinewood Studiosmarker in London. Location filming started in Wester Ross, in the Scottish Highlands followed immediately by filming on the Isle of Skyemarker. Some parts of the film were also shot in Icelandmarker.

Several weeks of location filming also took place in the woods and the Golden Valley near Ashridge Business schoolmarker, Hertfordshiremarker in the village of Little Gaddesdenmarker in June and July. In summer 2006, there was some filming at Stowe Schoolmarker in Buckinghamshire and in the village of Castle Combemarker, Wiltshiremarker. Some of the scenes requiring wide open spaces for riding and coach scenes were filmed at Bicester Airfieldmarker in Oxfordshire. Filming was finished by July 13, 2006.

One film location was on Elm Hill in Norwichmarker. The area, with a mixture of Tudor and medieval buildings dating as far back as the 11th century, was transformed into the streets of Stormhold. The Briton's Arms tea house became the Slaughtered Prince public house. The owners were so enthralled with the new look - including a spectacular mural and new thatching - that they appealed to the local council and English Heritage to keep it. However, their request was refused.

Reception

Box office

Stardust was released on August 10, 2007 in the United States in 2,540 theaters, earning US $9,169,779 in its opening weekend (an average of $3,610 per theater). The film also opened the same day in Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States, earning $8,118,263 as of October 14, 2007. Stardust has earned a total of $135,553,760 worldwide. Its biggest markets were the US where it made $38 million, and the UK where it made $31 million (approx. £16 million GBP).

Reviews

The film rates 66% at the movie review aggregator Metacritic based on 33 reviews. On another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film received 76% rating. The film has received Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop rating of 65% from major news outlets. Stardust was released in the UK and Ireland on October 19, 2007, where it enjoyed particularly strong reception and box office success.

Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the #7 best film of 2007. The New Yorker s Bruce Diones called it "more surprising and effective than the usual kiddie-matinée madness." But while Roger Ebert noted it a "fun" movie, he criticized the pacing as being cluttered and unfocused.

Video releases

The film was released on both Region 1 DVD and HD DVD on December 18, 2007. The DVD was released in both Fullscreen and Widescreen aspect ratios. The HD DVD and DVD special features include:
  1. Good Omens: The Making of Stardust
  2. Deleted scenes
  3. Blooper reel
  4. Theatrical trailer


The film and special features on the HD DVD version are presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen high definition 1080p and feature a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio soundtrack.

The film was released for Region 2 DVD and HD DVD on February 25, 2008.

There has yet to be an announcement of a Blu-ray release.

Music

  • British pop band Take That wrote (after watching an early cut of the movie) and recorded a song for the film titled "Rule the World", featuring Gary Barlow on lead vocals. The song features in the end credits to the film and was released as a single on October 22, 2007 in the UK where it peaked at number two on the UK singles chart.
  • U.S. record label Decca Records released a soundtrack album featuring Ilan Eshkeri's score on September 11, 2007. However, the song "Rule the World" was not included on the album.
  • Dimmu Borgir's song "Eradication Instincts Defined" is featured in both the UK and US trailers.
  • Prelude 2 in C Minor from the first book of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" by Johann Sebastian Bach was adapted for use in the first part of the scene at Lamia's inn.
  • Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 6 in D Major by Antonín Dvořák was adapted for use for the dancing scene aboard the flying ship.
  • "The Galop Infernal" from Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld", more commonly known as the "Can-Can", was used for the fight on the pirate ship.


References

External links




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