Here is another summer movie everyone should place on their must see list. This fantasy flick took me on a magical ride of comedy and adventure. Writers Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn (who also directs) adapted this film from Neil Gaiman's novella of the same name which was published by DC Comics.
This epic fairy tale is narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. It all begins with the story of a young man named Dunstan Thorne (Ben Barnes) who lives in the English village of Wall. This village is separated by a stone barrier from the supernatural and mystical kingdom of Stormhold. Dunstan's curiosity and sense of adventure takes him beyond the barrier to the forbidden kingdom where he meets and falls in love (a one-night stand) with a beautiful slave girl (Kate Magowan), who is being held captive by a witch's curse. Their romance produced a son and Dunstan must return to Wall by himself to raise the infant Tristan (the hero of the movie).
Years pass and the hero Tristan (Charlie Cox) is now a young man and somewhat awkward. He's in competition with another young man named Humphrey (Henry Cavill) for the hand of the prettiest girl in the village. She is the shallow Victoria (Sienna Miller), who has the two guys dangling for her affection. One night a shooting star falls to Earth and Tristan promises Victoria a piece of the meteorite in exchange for her hand in marriage. The only problem is that the shooting star landed on the other side of the barrier in the forbidden kingdom of Stormhold. This is a good set-up for an action-packed mysterious adventure movie. But I'm not finished yet. The shooting star is a beautiful angelic woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes), who has magical powers which everyone wants. So we now have a hunt and chase scenario included in the plot.
What sets this imaginative fantasy apart from other movies of this genre is the fact that there are many bad guys in the story, starting with Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia, one of the wicked witches who need the shooting star's magic to regain their beauty and youth. She is the villainess of the summer, having also appeared in Hairspray as the ruthless and conniving Velma Von Tussle. Also appearing is Peter O'Toole as the ailing king of Stormhold who has sons threatening to take his throne by any means necessary, even if it means killing each other. But they also need the magical powers. And not to forget the hilarious Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) who helps Tristan and Yvaine return to Wall and who enjoys dressing up as a woman aboard his flying ship, cruising the skies for lightning bolts. All this results in a rip-roaring tale of love and adventure that holds many surprises.
Besides resembling some parts of Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter, this movie has great comedy, good action, ongoing adventures, CGI, and unique ghostly scenes shot in black and white. The only problem was the chemistry between Claire Danes and Charlie Cox. I felt that Claire Danes seemed too mature for the immature character Charlie Cox is in love with. Otherwise,there wasn't a dull moment in this fun summer flick.
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Running time: 2 hours 8 minutes
Release date: August 10, 2007
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13