Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

13 August 2007

Stardust

I am officially a Stardust fan. I really liked it last night when I saw it and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

It's not what you think, either, that's what's so cool about it. I thought it was going to be the standard mythical-creature fantasy-land fairy-tale movie with which we've been inundated since The Fellowship of the Ring and The Sorcerer's Stone in 2001. The most recent incarnation of these films was the terribly-made and boring Eragon.

But Stardust is more like The Princess Bride than Willow. It's filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, like Shrek without jokes about flatulence. These jokes are smart and clever, like the seven sons of the dying king all being named after the order of their birth (Septimus, Tertius, Primus). And what's wonderful, is that the movie doesn't point up its jokes. The filmmaker doesn't need to wink at the audience. Jokes like these are passed over as though they are just a part of this movie-universe.

It also helps that the male lead is the adorable Charlie Cox (you should remember him from Casanova). He's irrepressibly cute and he has a charming facility with making himself look like an ass and still allowing it to be funny (Orlando Bloom could take lessons). Claire Danes is her usual gorgeous self, and Michelle Pfeiffer is fierce and brilliant as the beautiful villainess. The movie also has tons of cool people in tiny roles: Peter O'Toole makes a random appearance as do Rupert Everett (!), Ricky Gervais (hilarious) and Nathaniel Parker.

I don't want to oversell the movie. It's not The Hours. But what it is is a fairy tale with a universe that doesn't play by the same old boring rules for fantasy movies that we're used to. It's inventive and clever and it doesn't take itself seriously. Definitely worth seeing.