Stardust (2007 film)

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Stardust
Stardust promo poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Michael Dreyer
Neil Gaiman
Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by Jane Goldman
Matthew Vaughn
Based on Stardust 
by Neil Gaiman
Narrated by Ian McKellen
Starring Claire Danes
Charlie Cox
Sienna Miller
Jason Flemyng
Mark Strong
Rupert Everett
Peter O'Toole
Michelle Pfeiffer
Robert De Niro
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Ben Davis
Editing by Jon Harris
Studio Marv Films
Ingenious Film Partners
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 10 August 2007 (2007-08-10)
Running time 122 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $88.5 million[1]
Box office $135,553,760[2]

Stardust is a 2007 British romantic fantasy film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name and stars an ensemble cast including Charlie Cox, Ben Barnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O'Toole, David Kelly, Robert De Niro, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap and Henry Cavill. Narration is by Ian McKellen.

In 2008, it won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.[3]

Plot[edit]

The English village of Wall lies near a stone wall that is the border with the magical kingdom of Stormhold. A guard is constantly posted at a break in the wall to prevent anyone from crossing. At the beginning of the story, Dunstan Thorn crosses over the wall and into the Wall Market. There, he meets an enslaved princess named Una, who offers him a glass snowdrop in exchange for a kiss. Nine months later, the Wall Guard delivers a baby to Dunstan, saying his name is Tristan.

Eighteen years later, in the royal palace of Stormhold, the king is on his deathbed. He throws a ruby into the sky, decreeing that the first of his fratricidal sons to recover it will be the new king. The gem collides with a star, and they fall together and land elsewhere in Stormhold. Most of his sons have already been killed off by the others. The king's two remaining sons, Primus and Septimus independently search for the gem.

In Wall, Tristan Thorn sees the star fall behind the wall, and vows to retrieve it for the object of his infatuation, Victoria, in return for her hand in marriage. His father reveals to him that his mother is from the other side of the wall, and gives him a Babylon candle that she had left for him, which instantly transports the user to any desired location. Tristan lights it and is transported to the fallen star, a beautiful woman named Yvaine. He promptly chains her to take her home to Victoria.

Three ancient witches in Stormhold also learn of the fallen star and resolve to find her, intending to eat her heart to recover their youth and replenish their magical power. The leader of the witches, Lamia, consumes the remains of the heart they had cut from a star that had fallen centuries before and was captured by the witches. Regaining temporary youth, Lamia hunts down Yvaine and sets a trap for her, magically conjuring an inn in the countryside.

Yvaine is weary and unaccustomed to daytime travel, so Tristan chains her to a tree and promises to return with food. In his absence, a unicorn frees Yvaine, then unwittingly takes her to Lamia's inn. Tristan discovers Yvaine gone and lies down to rest. The stars whisper to Tristan, warning of Yvaine's danger and begging him to save her as the last star who fell was murdered by the three witches and her heart eaten; instructing him to get on a passing stagecoach, which happens to be Primus'.

Tristan and Primus arrive at the inn, interrupting Lamia's attempt to kill Yvaine. Lamia kills Primus, but Tristan and Yvaine escape using the stub of the Babylon candle. Because they are each thinking of their respective homes, the candle takes Tristan and Yvaine into the storm clouds, between the earth and the stars, where they are captured by pirates in a flying ship. They befriend the kind-hearted Captain Shakespeare, who teaches Tristan how to fence and fight, and gives him and Yvaine clean clothing. In return, Shakespeare asks them to pretend to be frightened of him in public, to maintain his image as a fearsome pirate. His crew later catches him wearing women's clothing, but reassure him they have always known he is "whoopsie", and that they don't care.

Septimus arrives at the site of the inn and discovers that he is the last surviving son of the king, needing only to find the stone to claim the throne. He learns that it is in the possession of the fallen star and realises that the heart of a star grants immortality.

After leaving Captain Shakespeare's ship, Tristan and Yvaine make their way to a village near the wall, where they spend the night at an inn. Come morning, Tristan leaves Yvaine sleeping and goes to Wall, bringing with him a lock of her hair, to tell Victoria that he won't marry her, having fallen in love with Yvaine. When the lock turns to dust, he realises that Yvaine will die if she crosses the wall, and he rushes back to save her.

Yvaine wakes up to find Tristan gone, and she starts walking toward the wall, believing that he abandoned her to go back to Victoria. Tristan's mother Una notices Yvaine walking to her doom, so she takes the caravan of her enslaver, a witch named Ditchwater Sal, to the wall to stop her. Lamia arrives and, after killing Sal, captures both Una and Yvaine, taking them to the witches' castle.

Septimus and Tristan both pursue Lamia and meet at the castle, agreeing to work together for the time being. Barging into the witches' castle, Septimus recognises the princess as his long-lost sister. Una and Tristan meet for the first time, and she informs him that she is his mother.

Septimus and Tristan fight the witches, killing two of them, but Lamia kills Septimus using a voodoo doll, then uses it to make his corpse fight Tristan. Tristan disposes of the corpse. Lamia then disarms Tristan in a swordfight and is about to finish him off, when she breaks down over the loss of her two sisters. Lamia seemingly frees Yvaine but instead reveals her feigned defeat to be a ruse meant to bolster Yvaine's broken heart. As the witch-queen bears down on them, Yvaine realises that Tristan's return has left her heartbroken no more. She tells him to close his eyes and hold her tight. As they embrace, her love for Tristan allows her to shine once again, vaporising Lamia in a blinding flash of pure starlight.

Tristan retrieves the jewel that Yvaine was wearing. Una explains that, as her son, Tristan is the last male heir of Stormhold. Tristan becomes the new king with Yvaine as his queen whilst Dunstan and Una are reunited.

Later, after 80 years of ruling Stormhold, they both use a Babylon candle to ascend to the sky, where Tristan also becomes a star. Since Yvaine "gave her heart" to Tristan, the two will live forever in the sky.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Optioning[edit]

The 1998 fantasy novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman was first optioned for the movies by Miramax in 1998–99. According to Gaiman, the film went "through an unsatisfactory development period", and he recovered the rights after they expired.[4][5] Eventually, discussions about a film version of Stardust began taking place between Gaiman, director Terry Gilliam and Matthew Vaughn. After Gilliam dropped out following his involvement with The Brothers Grimm, Vaughn left the talks to direct Layer Cake. Gaiman and Vaughn resumed talks after the director walked away from helming the film X-Men: The Last Stand and in January 2005, Vaughn acquired the option to develop the film adaptation.[6] In October 2005, the director entered final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to direct and produce Stardust with a budget estimated at US$70 million.[7]

Writing[edit]

The adapted screenplay was written by Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman. When asked how the book inspired his vision for the movie, he said that he wanted "to do Princess Bride with a Midnight Run overtone."[8] One of the difficulties with adapting the novel was its earnest and dark nature: an adult fairy tale in which sex and violence are presented unflinchingly. As a result of changes, the movie version has a greater element of whimsy and humour, with Gaiman's blessing given to the screenwriters. Gaiman did not want people to go to the theatre to see a film that attempted to be completely loyal to Stardust the book and failed.[9] After creating the audiobook version of the novel, Gaiman realised that there were 10½ hours of material in the book. This led him to acknowledge that the film would have to compress the novel, leaving out portions of the work. Budgetary concerns also factored into the adaptation, even with the level of 2006 technology.[4]

Vaughn and Goldman decided that the witches needed names (as in the book they were collectively the Lilim and their names were lost beneath the sea); their Classical decisions included a reference to The Books of Magic (Empusa) and Neverwhere (Lamia).[10]

On the film's differences from the novel, Gaiman commented: "I sort of feel like my grounding in comics was actually very useful, because in my head, that's just the Earth-Two version of Stardust. It's a parallel Earth version of Stardust, which has Robert De Niro and stuff. And I get people who come to the book from having loved the movie who are really disappointed at some of the stuff that isn't there that Matthew brought."[11]

Casting[edit]

In March 2006, the studio cast Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller. Production began in the UK and Iceland in April 2006, with the majority of filming taking place in the UK.[12] Vaughn himself picked Danes, Cox and Pfeiffer for their roles. He intended Captain Shakespeare to be played by either De Niro or Jack Nicholson. Stephen Fry was pitched as a possible Shakespeare, but Vaughn eventually picked De Niro.[13] Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the role of Yvaine but turned it down to spend more time with her husband, Freddie Prinze, Jr.[14] Cox was tentatively cast as Tristan, but to ensure the leads had "chemistry" on screen Vaughn would not confirm the casting until the both leads were cast. Vaughn had Cox audition alongside the prospective leading ladies, until the female lead was cast.[15]

The role of Quintus was originally given to comedian Noel Fielding, but due to health issues he had to drop out, and was replaced by fellow comedian Adam Buxton.[16] Similarly Billie Whitelaw was originally cast as Ditchwater Sal, but was replaced by Melanie Hill on the first day of principal photography.[17]

Locations[edit]

Locations used in Scotland included the area surrounding the Quiraing, on the Isle of Skye.

In mid-April 2006, principal photography started on Stardust. The production was filmed at Pinewood Studios in London. Location filming started in Wester Ross, in the Scottish Highlands[18] followed immediately by filming on the Isle of Skye. Some parts of the film were also shot in Iceland

Several weeks of location filming also took place in the woods and the Golden Valley near Ashridge Business school, Hertfordshire in the village of Little Gaddesden in June and July.[19] In summer 2006, there was some filming at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and in the village of Castle Combe, Wiltshire. Some of the scenes requiring wide open spaces for riding and coach scenes were filmed at Bicester Airfield in Oxfordshire. Filming was finished by 13 July 2006.[19]

One film location was on Elm Hill in Norwich. The area, with a mixture of Tudor and medieval buildings dating as far back as the 11th century, was transformed into the streets of Stormhold. The Briton's Arms tea house became the Slaughtered Prince public house.[20] The owners were so enthralled with the new look, including a spectacular mural and new thatching, that they appealed to the local council and English Heritage to keep it. However, their request was refused.

Reception[edit]

Pre-release[edit]

Stardust was well received by test audiences. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura was surprised when the film was well received across all demographics, the film not having been designed for everyone, expecting instead for parts of the audience to feel the film wasn't for them. In their feedback audiences agreed it was not a fairytale, giving various descriptions of it, such as an adventure with magical elements.[21]

Box office[edit]

Stardust was released on 10 August 2007 in the United States in 2,540 theatres, earning US$9,169,779 in its opening weekend (an average of $3,610 per theatre). The film also opened the same day in Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States, earning $8,118,263 as of 14 October 2007. Stardust has earned a total of $135,553,760 worldwide.[2] Its biggest markets were the US where it made $38 million, and the UK where it made $31 million (approximately £19.5 million GBP).

Critical response[edit]

The film was released to positive reviews. The film rates 66/100 at the movie review aggregator Metacritic based on 33 reviews.[22] On another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film was judged "certified fresh" given 76% rating, based on reviews from 186 critics.[23] Stardust was released in the UK and Ireland on 19 October 2007, where it spent 8 weeks in the box office top ten.[24]

Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the No. 7 best film of 2007.[25] The New Yorker's Bruce Diones called it "more surprising and effective than the usual kiddie-matinée madness."[26] While Roger Ebert called it a "fun" movie and gave it a positive rating of 2.5 out of 4 stars, he criticised the pacing as being cluttered and unfocused.[27] Philip French of The Observer asserted that the film "fails on every level and plumbs new depths of camp embarrassment."[28]

Video releases[edit]

The film was released on both Region 1 DVD and HD DVD on 18 December 2007. The DVD was released in both Fullscreen and Widescreen aspect ratios.[29] The HD DVD and DVD special features include:

  1. Good Omens: The Making of Stardust
  2. Deleted scenes
  3. Blooper reel
  4. Theatrical trailer

The film and special features on the HD DVD version are presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen high definition 1080p and feature a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio soundtrack.[30]

The film was released on Region A Blu-ray Disc (Canada and US) on 7 September 2010.[31]

Music[edit]

  • After watching an early cut, English pop band Take That wrote and recorded a song for the film titled "Rule the World", featuring Gary Barlow on lead vocals. The song features in the end credits to the film and was released as a single on 22 October 2007 in the UK where it peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.
  • US record label Decca Records released a soundtrack album featuring Ilan Eshkeri's score on 11 September 2007, but "Rule the World" was not included.[32]
  • Dimmu Borgir's song "Eradication Instincts Defined" is featured in both the UK and US trailers.
  • Prelude 2 in C Minor from the first book of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" by Johann Sebastian Bach was adapted for use in the first part of the scene at Lamia's Inn.
  • Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 6 in D Major by Antonín Dvořák was adapted for use for the dancing scene aboard the flying ship.
  • "The Galop Infernal" from Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld", more commonly known as the "Can-Can", plays during the fight between Captain Shakespeare's men and Septimus's men on board the sky vessel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Archie Thomas (26 January 2006). "London shoots up 18% while UK prod'n falls". Variety. Retrieved 2012-10-31. "Matthew Vaughn's $88.5 million fantasy" 
  2. ^ a b "Stardust (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  3. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Results Announced". World Science Fiction Society. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Brooke Tarnoff. "Neil Gaiman, Stardust Interview". UGO: Underground Online. Retrieved 2007-04-29. [dead link]
  5. ^ All of a sudden, his fantasies are turning to reality – Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ Adam Dawtrey (16 January 2005). "Vaughn pushes ahead with 'U.N.C.L.E.' feature". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  7. ^ "'Stardust' Author Neil Gaiman Tells Why He Turns Down Most Adaptations – But Not This One". MTV. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  8. ^ Douglas, Edward (2 August 2007). "Exclusive: Stardust Director Matthew Vaughn". Superherohype.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  9. ^ Anthony Breznican (30 July 2007). "Storyteller Gaiman wishes upon a star". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  10. ^ Gaiman, Neil. "Neil Gaiman's Journal: April 2006". Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. 
  11. ^ O'Hara, Helen (28 June 2013). "Six Seasons Planned For HBO's American Gods Adaptation". empireonline.com. Event occurs at 26:00. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Michael Fleming (6 March 2006). "A sprinkling of 'Stardust'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  13. ^ Damon Wise (29 September 2007). "Stardust is a fairytale like no other". The Times (London). Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  14. ^ "Sarah Michelle Gellar Turned Down 'Stardust' Role For Her Husband". Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  15. ^ Mark Olsen (5 August 2007). "'Stardust' gave him the space to grow. A fanciful tale with a big-name cast offered a test for Charlie Cox.". Los Angeles Times. 
  16. ^ "Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman's Journal: Stardust news". Journal.neilgaiman.com. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "Highland films screened at Cannes". BBC.co.uk. 12 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  19. ^ a b "OLV INTERNATIONAL Road Trip: The Enchanting Locations of Stardust". Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  20. ^ BBC – Norfolk – Places – Stardust: Hollywood magic falls over Norwich
  21. ^ Fred Topel (6 March 2007). "Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" Scoring High With Test Audiences". 
  22. ^ "Stardust (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  23. ^ "Stardust". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  24. ^ "Stardust Box-Office". 12 March 2010. 
  25. ^ David Germain; Christy Lemire (27 December 2007). "'No Country for Old Men' earns nod from AP critics". Associated Press, via Columbia Daily Tribune. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  26. ^ Bruce Diones. "'Stardust review'". 
  27. ^ Roger Ebert (10 August 2007). "STARDUST (PG-13)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  28. ^ Philip French (21 October 2007). "Stardust". Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  29. ^ "Stardust (R1) in December – New artwork". DVD Times. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  30. ^ "HD DVD Review: The Bourne Ultimatum | High-Def Digest". Hddvd.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  31. ^ "Amazon Blu-ray Disc listing". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  32. ^ General – Stardust Original Soundtrack / 0[dead link]

External links[edit]