It’s been a while since a real fairy tale has hit theaters and Stardust is a creatively crazy one. There may be one too many imaginative ideas in this fantasy mix of swashbuckling, evil witches, greedy princes, and even a cross-dressing pirate, but the ambitious concoction is more than refreshing in a summer filled with lame sequels and retreads. The central story even breathes renewed life into the concept of stargazing.
The film, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, introduces the audience to Tristan (Charlie Cox) who lives in England but is initially unaware that his mother is actually from a fantasy land from beyond called Stormhold. Smitten with Victoria (Sienna Miller) and in order to dissuade her from marrying another man, Tristan sets out to retrieve a shooting star that they see falling in Stormhold. With the star will arrive a rare stone whose bearer will determine the next heir to the king (Peter O’Toole).
That star is Yvaine (Claire Danes), a beautiful young woman with long, flowing blonde hair reminiscent of none other than Goldilocks. Tristan finds her after his father tells him about a magic candle that was left behind by his mother and uses it to cross over to Stormhold. He is not the only one who is seeking her, however. Also on the hunt are seven greedy princes who are looking for the stone she is wearing and a group of evil witches, Lamie (Michelle Pfeiffer), Empusa (Sarah Alexander), and Mormo (Joanna Scanlan) who want to perform a ritual on her to in order to attain immortal youth for themselves.
During his adventure, Tristan of course, comes to protect Yvaine from the greedy princes and the witches and he eventually realizes that he loves Yvaine and not Victoria. After all, how can he resist a shining star that is literally aligned with him? It’s a nice, enchanting touch that she literally glows even brighter when she feels the emotion of love. It also helps that Cox and Danes have a sweet onscreen chemistry together, even if their fairy tale innocence is marred a bit by the fact that their characters actually fall into bed.