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Stardust

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Sienna Miller as Victoria and Charlie Cox as Tristan in Paramount Pictures’ Stardust – 2007

Stardust might well be one of the best movie this summer. Read on:

Watching Stardust, Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the acclaimed fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, it’s obvious that the filmmakers were trying for a sly if special-effects-heavy update of Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride — a film equal parts romance, fun and fantasy. But I was more immediately reminded of Ron Howard’s Willow, not just because I loved that film and all of its disjointed parts, but primarily because those same disparate elements are only occasionally combined in consistent measures here. That said, Vaughn’s film eventually proves to be a far more delightful and engaging adventure than Howard’s — although it may take a little patience enduring Stardust’s front-loaded fantasy before you get to the fun that follows.

Charlie Cox (Casanova) plays Tristan, the son of a local shopkeep whose dreams of marrying Victoria (Sienna Miller) become a possible reality when she sends him on a quest: recover a falling star. Urged on by his father Dunstan (Nathaniel Parker), Tristan uses a magic candle to travel to the place where the star fell. But when he arrives, he discovers that the star is not merely some hunk of charred rock but rather a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Clare Danes), who is none too happy to be enslaved to this ambitious but awkward mortal after falling from the sky.

Soon enough, the two begin to make their way back to Tristan’s village. But it turns out that Tristan is not the only person who wants to get his hands on Yvaine: A decrepit witch named Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her two sisters want to eat her heart, which will provide them with decades of youth and beauty. Meanwhile, the King (Peter O’Toole) has died and his sons fight to recover a lost gem — which coincidentally Yvaine finds — that will declare one of them heir to the throne. Before long, Tristan and Yvaine are thrown into a whirlwind journey across the globe facing witches, pirates, and kings-to-be, all the while discovering that heroism, leadership and most of all love may appear in the last place one might expect.

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In Theaters: August 10, 2007

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