|Directed by||Matthew Vaughn|
|Narrated by||Ian McKellen|
Special Appearance by
with Michelle Pfeiffer
and Robert De Niro
|Music by||Ilan Eshkeri, Rule the World by Take That|
|Editing by||Jon Harris|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||August 10, 2007|
|Running time||128 minutes|
Stardust is a 2007 fantasy film from Paramount Pictures, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The film is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, illustrated by Charles Vess, originally published by Avon Books, and stars an ensemble cast including Charlie Cox, Ben Barnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O'Toole, David Kelly, Robert De Niro, and Mark Heap. Narration is by Ian McKellen.
In 2008 it won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
The English village of Wall lies near a stone wall that is a border with the kingdom of Stormhold in another, magical world. A guard is constantly posted at a hole in the wall to prevent anyone from crossing. In the capital 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. The king's remaining two sons, Primus and Septimus, independently search for the gem.
In Wall, Tristan Thorne 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 in order to take her home to Victoria.
Three witches in Stormhold learn of the fallen star and resolve to find her, intending to eat her heart in order to recover their youth and replenish their magical power. One of the witches, Lamia, sets a trap for Yvaine, 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, instructing him to get on a passing stagecoach which happens to be Primus's.
Tristan and Primus arrive at the inn, interrupting Lamia's attempt to kill Yvaine. Lamia kills Primus, but Tristan and Yvaine escape using the Babylon candle. Because they're 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 a haircut which lengthens his hair.
Septimus arrives at the site of the inn and discovers that he is the last surviving son of the king, only needing to find the stone to accept the throne. He learns that it is in the possession of the fallen star and 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 stardust, he realizes 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 her caravan to the wall to stop her. Lamia arrives and captures both Yvaine and Una, 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 recognizes Una as his sister, daughter of the king. Una and Tristan meet for the first time, and she informs him that she is his mother.
Septimus and Tristan fight the witches, but Lamia kills Septimus using a voodoo doll, then uses it to make his corpse fight Tristan. Just as Lamia is about to kill Tristan, Yvaine, more in love with Tristan than ever, unleashes a wave of starlight that disintegrates Lamia.
Tristan retrieves the jewel that Yvaine was wearing. Una explains that Tristan is the last male heir of Stormhold. Tristan becomes the new king with Yvaine as his queen. Later, after eighty 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.
The 1998 fantasy novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman was first optioned for the movies by Miramax in 1998-9. According to Gaiman, the film went "through an unsatisfactory development period", and he recovered the rights after they expired. 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. In October 2005, the director entered final negotiations with Paramount Pictures to direct and produce Stardust with a budget estimated at $70 million (US).
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." 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 humor, with Gaiman's blessing given to the screenwriters. Gaiman did not want people to go to the theater to see a film that attempted to be completely loyal to Stardust the book and failed. After creating the audiobook version of the novel, Gaiman realized that there was 10 1/2 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.
Vaughn and Goldman decided that the witches needed names (as in the book they were collectively Lilim); their Classical decisions included a reference to The Books of Magic (Empusa) and Neverwhere (Lamia).
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. 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. Sarah Michelle Gellar was offered the role of Yvaine but turned it down to spend more time with her husband, Freddie Prinze, Jr.
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. Similarly Billie Whitelaw was originally cast as Ditchwater Sal, but was replaced by Melanie Hill on the first day of principal photography.
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 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. 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 July 13, 2006.
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. 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.
Stardust was released on August 10, 2007 in the United States in 2,540 theaters, earning US $9,169,779 in its opening weekend (an average of $3,610 per theater). The film also opened the same day in Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States, earning $8,118,263 as of October 14, 2007. Stardust has earned a total of $135,553,760 worldwide. Its biggest markets were the US where it made $38 million, and the UK where it made $31 million (approx. £16 million GBP).
The film rates 66% at the movie review aggregator Metacritic based on 33 reviews. On another aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film received 76% rating. The film has received Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop rating of 65% from major news outlets. Stardust was released in the UK and Ireland on October 19, 2007, where it spent 8 weeks in the box office top ten
Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the #7 best film of 2007. The New Yorker's Bruce Diones called it "more surprising and effective than the usual kiddie-matinée madness." But while Roger Ebert noted it a "fun" movie, he criticized the pacing as being cluttered and unfocused. The Observer asserted that the film "fails on every level and plumbs new depths of camp embarrassment."
The film was released for Region 2 DVD and HD DVD on February 25, 2008.
The film was released on Region 2 Blu-ray on February 1, 2010.