Cover Art and Menus:
The cover is sadly a let down. I saw it and though, “Ugh, looks obnoxious.” So, there ya go. It just shows you how wrong a first impression can be. The menu isn’t much more exciting, but don’t let the packaging discourage you. This is just a case of poor design on the outside, hidden treasure on the inside.
- Good Omens – The Making Of Stardust: Interviews with cast and crew, and clips that show some behind the scenes action. The author of the book the movie is based on talks about how the story came to be and what his impressions were during the filming of a story he created. The director talks about how he got big names like De Niro and Pfeiffer on board. It’s highly produced with the more formal interviews and such, but it’s worth watching if you enjoy the movie.
- Blooper Reel – Hmmm.. big stars making mistakes.
- Deleted Scenes – There aren’t many scenes here that would have made any difference in the movie, but they wouldn’t have been out of place if they had been left in.
The Movie: 8/10
I have often dreamt of a day when someone would take the charm and mystery of a one night stand and turn it into a fairy tale…and by golly somebody finally did! Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. It’s an adult twist on an enchanted story that has magic and ghosts and love that all began because of a secret truce between a teenage boy from a small village and a captive princess cursed to be servant to an old witch forever. Brilliant.
The voice over guy even says that once the young man goes back to his village he hopes the rendezvous will be forgotten (typical). The thing is, nine months later a baby in a basket arrives on his door step. Jump forward eighteen years and now the love child of the whimsical one night stand is about to face an adventure that will change his life, and an entire kingdom forever.
Whew, it’s kind of hard to sum up the story and not give anything important away. I’ll try. The boy wants to win the affection of a snotty rich girl. He sees a falling star and says he will go find it and bring it back to her to prove his love in a week’s time before she marries the snotty rich guy with bad hair.
The falling star falls because it (she) is intercepted by a large gemstone that has been sent out into the night sky by a dying king. He says his true heir who restores the ruby (it was a ruby but magic made it into a diamond) will be the next king. His last few sons, the cheeky princes are all trying to kill one another for their own chance at the thrown. Their other brothers, killed by one another are all now ghosts who make wise cracks and are suspended in the states they died in, one with an axe in his head, one with a flattened face (pushed out of a window), and the others in similarly comical but gruesome conditions.
The young man from the village receives a gift his mother left for him when she sent him to be raised by his father, a very cool candle that basically kicks the arse of any other form of transportation. It can fly you to anywhere, really really fast. He uses the candle to chase down the fallen star, only to find Claire Danes, how weird. She’s in a flowing gown and is kind of whiny, but she’s a fallen star, so what can you expect?
Is this making sense? Hmmm, well, it should all just flow over you like a fun adventure with the excellent Michelle Pfeiffer as a wretched witch, Robert De Niro as a happy-go-lucky sky pirate, Ricky Gervais as a wise cracking middleman in an old-timey outfit, and a whole lot more.
The witch wants her youth back and she doesn’t care who she tramples or turns into a goat to get it. The pirate captures lightening and rules his ship with an iron fist, but has a softer secret that’s weighing heavily on his mind. It’s all par for the course when you start your fairy tale with that illusive and wonderful one night stand. Oh yes, we call be proud of our adventurous indiscretions. They have been raised to a new level of respectability…did I say WE? Oh no, no. I mean YOU ALL with your unspeakable behavior.
There is enough adult humor to keep us interested and enough whimsy to keep most kids captivated. It’s not a typical tale of damsels and heroes, but it’s got enough recognizable favorite elements to be a great way to spend a couple of hours and escape to a place on the other side of the wall.
Video & Audio (By Ascully): 9/10
One of my favorite films of the year and a surprise hit for me, but how does it fare on HDDVD. Paramount really have a handle on mastering HDDVD at this point, they have moved all there transfers to the VC1 codec and every time it shows. Stardust is choc full of detail and color and HDDVD really shows it off with a sharp looking picture that really satisfies. I took a look at the standard DVD also and must say it looks very soft and muddy, but that just could be because I was looking at them side by side.
Audio is also handled well, the most noticeable awesome audio moment for me was the CGI falling star sequence near the start of the movie, watch your levels with this one as it could blow a less than awesome subwoofer.
I don’t mind saying that this is a cool movie. I think it’s excellent in either low or high definition. So, if you think you might watch it many many times to make it worth it and want to spend more ($27-$30), and you happen to have an HDDVD player, go for the HDDVD version. If you want to have a good time, have some laughs and have enough left over to spend on other stuff, and you have a standard old fashioned DVD player, well, you get the picture. You pay more for a better picture and sound, true. But for around $18 you can own it on standard DVD. Either way, I think it’s a good one for your collection. I won’t mind seeing it again some rainy Saturday afternoon.
Overall Score 8/10