We went to see Stardust last night with some friends and, honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I really hadn't heard much, but based on the star-studded cast and the number of ads on TV, the hopes weren't high that this would be a good flick. Don't blame me, I said, I wanted to see Superbad or Rush Hour 3 (though based on ratings I've seen since, my choices might have been worse).
The movie begins with a voice over by Gandalf... er, Ian McKellan, who serves as the Narrator to bookend the movie. We're then treated to a young boy who discovers a magical new world and loses his virginity... which to any teenage boy losing his virginity is really one and the same.
If you're thinking that this might not be a fairy tale for young kids, the unceremonious delivery of a baby 9 months later to the doorstep of this hapless youth should cement that opinion. And I haven't even gotten to the part with Robert De Niro in drag. Yes. I'm still trying to unburn *that* image from my retina.
Anyway, the movie picks up pace and quickly becomes interesting, involving and quite humorous.
A cameo by Peter O'Toole as a ruthless king on his deathbed sets the story in full motion and establishes a rather amusing theme of fratricidal inheritance and beyond-the-grave sideline commentary.
Michelle Pfeiffer plays a witch in search of the fallen star to regain her youth and magical power. I must say, she's really showing her age, but they did a great job using prosthetics and CG to make her beautiful again. Oh wait, scratch that, reverse it. Prosthetics ugly, catwoman beautiful.
Robert De Niro does indeed get dolled up in women's clothing during a true train wreck of a scene that you can't watch yet can't tear your eyes from while laughing hysterically. I really won't tell you more because he plays a great character that needs to be unveiled and not explained.
In all, the movie was surprisingly fun to watch in a Princess Bride tradition of a modern fairy tale. Though I wouldn't call it equal in story and execution, it certainly comes in a close second.