Most enjoyable movie night in a long while tonight, watching Stardust with Supawife. Romance, action, magic, drama, and comedy, with the extra one-two punch of Michelle Pfeiffer looking her best (and worst), and DeNiro doing La Cage. In all honesty, I haven’t seen something quite like this since I saw The Princess Bride — holy moley — two decades ago.
That’s a long time to go without a good fairy tale at the movies. If you liked one, make sure you check out the other. The best fairy tales gain resonance with the years, as one gains a better comprehension and apprehension of loss, and an appreciation for the all-healing power of true love. Stardust is one of these: it retains all the poignancy of Neil Gaiman’s writing and, like many of the movies for which I carry an enduring torch, gently and subtly plucked unexpected emotional chords. Honestly, I can’t figure out for the life of me why this film wasn’t huge at the box office.
Speaking of which, I’ve been reading Evie Because of Winn-Dixie, after finishing The Secret Garden last week. I know there’s a film of that book out as well, but I think I’m avoiding it unlike Stardust because so much of Winn-Dixie rides heavily on a narrator’s voice, a conceit which is generally a sign of lazy writing in film.
Stardust starts with a little narration, and had me worried whether it would ultimately fall back on that crutch one time too often. As I should have predicted, however, Gaiman the screenwriter used this technique perfectly, only as a setup (“Once upon a time…”) and to wrap up the denouement (“…and they all lived happily ever after”).
So in short, Stardust is a massive success on just about every level. Very highly recommended, watch with someone you love for maximum effect.