Stardust (2007 film)

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Stardust
Stardust promo poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
Starring
Narrated by Ian McKellen
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Ben Davis
Edited by Jon Harris
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • 10 August 2007 (2007-08-10)
Running time
127 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Iceland
Language English
Budget $70 million[2]
Box office $135.6 million[3]

Stardust (2007) is a film adaptation of the 1999 Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, Stardust. The romantic fantasy adventure film was directed by Matthew Vaughn and co-written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The film features an ensemble cast led by Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter O’Toole, with narration by Ian McKellen.

The film follows Tristan, a young man from the fictional town of Wall. Wall is a town on the border of the magical fantasy kingdom of Stormhold. Tristan enters the magical world to collect a fallen star to give to Victoria, in return for her hand in marriage. He collects the star who to his surprise, is a woman named Yvaine. Witches and the Princes of Stormhold are hunting for Yvaine, meanwhile Tristan tries to get her back to Wall with him before Victoria's birthday, the deadline of her offer.

The film was released to positive reviews and grossed $135.6 million[3] on a $70 million budget.[4] In 2008, it won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.[5] Stardust was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD on December 18, 2007, by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Plot[edit]

The village of Wall lies near a gap in a stone wall bordering the magical kingdom of Stormhold. The gap is guarded constantly, but Dunstan Thorn manages to dash through and at a magic market meets an enslaved princess, Una. She offers him an enchanted glass snowdrop in exchange for a kiss. Dunstan tries to free her by breaking the chain but finds it is enchanted to keep her prisoner until the witch who casts the spell dies. Una invites him into her caravan, nine months later, the Wall Guard delivers a baby to Dunstan, saying his name is Tristan.

Eighteen years later, the dying King of Stormhold throws a ruby into the sky, decreeing that his successor will be the first of his fratricidal sons to recover it. While one of his sons is looking off the balcony at the kingdom, another kills him by pushing him off of it, which the king is undisturbed by. The dead son, invisible, joins his other dead brothers as a ghost, and they tell him that they are "stuck like this until the new king is crowned."[6] Meanwhile, the gem hits a star, they fall together, and the king dies. The remaining sons, Primus and Septimus, independently search for the gem.

In Wall, Tristan, now a young man, is in love with Victoria, a girl who lost him his job and is already engaged to a man called Humphrey who humiliated Tristan in a fight. Tristan and Victoria see the star fall on the other side of the wall and he vows to get it for her in return for her hand in marriage. Before leaving for Sormhold, Tristan learns that his mother is from beyond the wall, and receives a Babylon candle that she had left for him, which once lit will instantly carry the user to whichever place they hold strongest in their mind. Tristan lights it, intending to find his mother but is instead transported to the fallen star, a beautiful woman named Yvaine who has broken her leg. He promptly chains her using a piece of his mother's magic chain to take her home to Victoria.

Three ancient witch sisters in Stormhold resolve to eat the fallen star's heart to recover their youth and replenish their powers. Their leader, Lamia, eats the remnants of an earlier star's heart, and sets off to find Yvaine. Along the way, she encounters another witch- the same one who still holds Una captive- who tricks her into eating Limbus grass, an herb that causes the eater to speak nothing but the truth for several hours. Under its influence, she tells the witch of her plans to capture the star, but also curses her so that she cannot see, hear, smell, or touch the star, and then makes the witch forget about their meeting. Lamia later conjures up a wayside inn as a trap for Yvaine.

Yvaine becomes tired, so Tristan chains her to a tree and promises to bring food. In his absence, a unicorn releases her, but unwittingly takes her to Lamia's inn. Tristan discovers Yvaine gone, but the stars whisper that she is in danger, telling him to get on a passing coach, which happens to be Primus'. At the inn, Lamia fixes Yvaine's leg and reveals that when a star is happy her heart glows brightest. Before Lamia can kill Yvaine, Primus and Tristan arrive interrupting Lamia and starting a fight. Lamia kills Primus, but Tristan and Yvaine are saved when the unicorn sacrifices itself to buy them time. Tristan tells Yvaine to think of home as they light the Babylon candle but as they both think of different places they end up in the clouds, where they are captured by pirates in a flying ship who capture lightning in storms to sell, and now teach Tristan how to fence. During the several days on the ship, Yvaine and Tristan grow closer and Captain Shakespeare reveals that he knows she is a star but vows not to harm her, but warns Yvaine that there are others who will.

Septimus discovers that, as the last surviving son, he need only find the stone to claim the throne. He learns it is in the possession of the fallen star and realizes that the heart of a star grants immortality.

After leaving Captain Shakespeare's ship, Tristan and Yvaine meet the witch who keeps Tristan's mother captive in bird form and ask her to take them to Wall on the condition that they arrive in exactly the same form. True to her word, the witch-who cannot perceive Yvaine due to Lamia's curse-turns him into a mouse until they arrive at the market outside of Wall. There, Tristan and Yvaine confess their love for one another and spend the night together at an inn. Come morning, Tristan leaves Yvaine sleeping and goes to Wall with a lock of her hair, to prove he found the star but tell Victoria he will not marry her, having fallen in love with Yvaine. When the lock turns to dust, he realizes Yvaine will die if she crosses the wall, and rushes back to save her.

Yvaine finds Tristan gone, and starts walking towards the wall, thinking he has abandoned her for Victoria. Tristan's mother Una (currently human to run the stall) notices Yvaine walking to her doom, so drives the caravan of her enslaver, a witch named Ditchwater Sal, to the wall to stop her. Lamia arrives and kills Sal which frees Una from slavery but then Una and Yvaine are captured by Lamia who takes them to the witches' castle. Septimus and Tristan both pursue Lamia, agreeing to work together for the time being. Barging into the castle, Septimus recognises the princess as his long-lost sister and Una informs Tristan that she is his mother.

Septimus kills one witch and Tristan sets hungry wolves on the other, Lamia cannot hurt Tristan with magic because of the enchanted snowdrop he wears so she uses a voodoo doll to kill Septimus and make his corpse fight Tristan. Lamia is about to finish Tristan off, when she appears to break down over the loss of her sisters. Lamia frees Yvaine, but her feigned defeat was just a ruse to bolster Yvaine's broken heart. As Tristan and Yvaine embrace she tells him to close his eyes, their love allows her to shine like she did at home in the sky, vaporising Lamia in a blinding flash of starlight.

Tristan retrieves the jewel that Yvaine was wearing. As the jewel turns red, Una explains that, as her son, Tristan is the last male heir of Stormhold. The second the gem turns red, the delighted seven ghost brothers recognize that Stormhold has a new king and ascend to the afterlife. He becomes king with Yvaine as his queen while Dunstan and Una are reunited. The story ends happily when after 80 years of ruling Stormhold, they use a Babylon candle to ascend to the sky, where Tristan also becomes a star and the pair live forever in the sky.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The 1998 fantasy novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman was first optioned for a film adaptation by Miramax in 1998–99. According to Gaiman, the film went "through an unsatisfactory development period", and he recovered the rights after they expired.[7][8]

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.[9] In October 2005, the director entered final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to direct and produce Stardust with a budget estimated at US$70 million.[10]

Adaptation[edit]

The adapted screenplay was written by Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman. When asked how the book inspired his vision for the film, Vaughn said that he wanted "to do Princess Bride with a Midnight Run overtone."[11] 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.[12] 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.[7]

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 names also found in The Books of Magic (Empusa) and Neverwhere (Lamia).[13]

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."[14]

Casting[edit]

In March 2006 the studio cast Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller. Production began in the United Kingdom and Iceland in April 2006, with the majority of filming taking place in the UK.[15] 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.[16]

Cox was tentatively cast as Tristan, but to ensure the leads had chemistry on screen Vaughn would not confirm the casting until both leads were cast. Vaughn had Cox audition alongside the prospective leading actresses until the female lead was cast.[17]

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.[18]

Filming[edit]

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

The production started filming in mid-April 2006, with principal photography taking place at Pinewood Studios in London. Location filming started in Wester Ross, in the Scottish Highlands[19] 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.[20] In mid-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.

Another 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.[21] 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, but their request was refused.

Filming was finished by 13 July 2006.[20]

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.[22]
  • 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 Infernal Galop" 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.

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, despite 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.[23]

Box office[edit]

Stardust was released on 10 August 2007 in the United States in 2,540 theatres, opening at #4 and 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. In the UK and Ireland, the film was released on 19 October 2007 and spent spent 8 weeks in the box office top ten.[24]

Stardust has earned a total of $135,553,760 worldwide.[3] 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 rates 66/100 at the movie review aggregator Metacritic based on 33 reviews.[25] On another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film was judged "certified fresh" given 76% rating, based on reviews from 186 critics.[26]

Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the No. 7 best film of 2007.[27] The New Yorker's Bruce Diones called it "more surprising and effective than the usual kiddie-matinée madness."[28] 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.[29] Philip French of The Observer asserted that the film "fails on every level and plumbs new depths of camp embarrassment."[30]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Recipient Result
34th Annual Saturn Awards 2008[31] Best Fantasy Film Stardust Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Michelle Pfeiffer
Best Costume Sammy Sheldon
Empire Awards 2008[32] Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Stardust Won
GLAAD Media Awards 2008 Outstanding Film - Wide Release Stardust Won
Hugo Awards 2008 Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form Jane Goldman (written by), Matthew Vaughn (written by/director), Neil Gaiman (based on the novel by), Charles Vess (illustrated by) Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2007[33] Overlooked Film Of The Year Stardust Won

Home media[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.[34] The HD DVD and DVD special features include a documentary entitled Good Omens: The Making of Stardust; deleted scenes from the film; the film's blooper reel; and the film's 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.[35]

The film was released on Region A Blu-ray Disc (Canada and US) on 7 September 2010.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stardust (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "Stardust Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2017-02-14. Production Budget: $70 million 
  3. ^ a b c "Stardust (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  4. ^ "Stardust Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2017-02-14. Production Budget: $70 million 
  5. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Results Announced". World Science Fiction Society. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Stardust (2007) directed by Matthew Vaughn
  7. ^ a b Brooke Tarnoff. "Neil Gaiman, Stardust Interview". UGO: Underground Online. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  8. ^ Adams, Sam (5 August 2007). "All of a sudden, his fantasies are turning to reality". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Adam Dawtrey (16 January 2005). "Vaughn pushes ahead with 'U.N.C.L.E.' feature". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  10. ^ "'Stardust' Author Neil Gaiman Tells Why He Turns Down Most Adaptations – But Not This One". MTV. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  11. ^ Douglas, Edward (2 August 2007). "Exclusive: Stardust Director Matthew Vaughn". Superherohype.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  12. ^ Anthony Breznican (30 July 2007). "Storyteller Gaiman wishes upon a star". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  13. ^ Gaiman, Neil. "Neil Gaiman's Journal: April 2006". Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Michael Fleming (6 March 2006). "A sprinkling of 'Stardust'". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  16. ^ Damon Wise (29 September 2007). "Stardust is a fairytale like no other". The Times. London. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Neil Gaiman's Journal". 
  19. ^ "Highland films screened at Cannes". BBC.co.uk. 12 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  20. ^ a b "OLV INTERNATIONAL Road Trip: The Enchanting Locations of Stardust". Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  21. ^ BBC – Norfolk – Places – Stardust: Hollywood magic falls over Norwich
  22. ^ Stardust Original Soundtrack / 0
  23. ^ Fred Topel (6 March 2007). "Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" Scoring High With Test Audiences". 
  24. ^ "Stardust UK box office". 12 March 2010. Retrieved |date=16 February 2017.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. ^ "Stardust (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  26. ^ "Stardust". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ Bruce Diones. "'Stardust review'". 
  29. ^ Roger Ebert (10 August 2007). "STARDUST (PG-13)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  30. ^ Philip French (21 October 2007). "Stardust". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  31. ^ Awards. "34th Annual Saturn Awards". 
  32. ^ Awards, Empire. "13th Empire Awards". Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  33. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2007". Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  34. ^ "Stardust (R1) in December – New artwork". DVD Times. Retrieved 2016-11-05. 
  35. ^ "HD DVD Review: Stardust | High-Def Digest". Hddvd.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved 2016-11-05. 
  36. ^ "Amazon Blu-ray Disc listing". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2016-11-05. 

External links[edit]