Film Review: ‘Starburst’ (2007)

(re-post from an older version of my blog)

Directed and written by Matthew Vaughan, based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Staring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais and Peter O’Toole.

stardust dvd cover

“In hopes of wooing a beautiful girl, Tristan promises to bring her a falling star. But he’s in for the adventure of his life when he discovers the star is actually a celestial beauty named Yvaine. When an old witch Lamia attempts to steal Yvaine’s youth, Tristan must protect her at all costs. This magical fairy tale like no other will make you laugh out loud and believe in love again.”

Mildly entertaining romp some moments of genuine excitement and fun.

I did have the film worked out within half an hour but I was never expecting anything more complicated. At first I was very taken with the seemingly fast pace of the film, everything was happening quickly and told well… then I noticed that the film ran 122 minutes.

The pace started to drag once they got onto the pirate ship, as much as I absolutely loved Robert De Niro’s deliciously camp cross-dressing pirate it ran for far too long without anything more happening and I would have loved more cross-dressing pirate comedy. Particularly the end, after the whole talk thing about “be true to yourself” talk in the middle he should have gone in drag – I felt that was a bit of a cop out.

I didn’t have to wait long before the pace picked up again, only to drop back down. The love element was underplayed which I liked as I can’t stand overly romantic films but these where the moments when it dragged, clearly the screen writer wanted to stick to the action, which I applaud but he could have done something with the romantic pacing.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s desperate witch was good but suffered in both terms of pace and writing. It seemed to be underplayed and reduced to a sub-plot despite playing such an important role in the film, the fight at the end whilst brilliant in terms of action again reduced the witches role to nothing more than an interesting side note. She gets kudos in my book for killing Ricky Gervais’s painfully acted jack of all trades and why was it never explained what the other witch was doing there?

Perhaps if the film had been aimed higher than the under-12s kids market it could have been a lot more like the tagline ‘the fairy tale that won’t behave’, hints were dropped but nothing taken up. Recommended if you have children under-12 to entertain although they may get bored around the half way point.

Highlights:
– Robert De Niro’s cross dressing pirate
– The ghosts
– The battle at the end
– Ricky Gervais getting what he deserved.
– Mark William’s turn as a goat.

Non-highlights:
– Claire Danes (sorry I really don’t like her)
– the sub-plot with Victoria
– Ricky Gervais (please, please stop casting him!)
– the terrible end music

Memorable Quotes:

“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now that’s a question.”

“Because, let’s be honest, it’s a field. Look. Do you see another world out there? No, you see a field. Do you see anything non human? No, and you know why? Because it’s a field!”

“Have no fear, no one on this vessel will harm you, but there are many that would… Your emotions give you away, Yvaine, you must learn to control them. You’ve been glowing more brightly every day and I think you know why.”

“Would I be correct in thinking that you can neither see nor hear me? Then I’d like to tell you that you smell of pee. You look like the wrong end of a dog. And I swear, if I don’t get my Tristan back as he was, I’ll be your personal poltergeist!”

“We always knew you were a whoopsie… “

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