We went to see Stardust late last night, and it was fabulous. I doubt that it will be a huge blockbuster, but it already takes its place alongside The Princess Bride, Big Fish, and Willow as one of my favorite fairy tale movies. Robert DeNiro is wonderful, as are Michelle Pfeiffer and Claire Danes. Ricky Gervais does a nice little turn as a merchant in (apparently) illicit lightning bolts, and Peter O’Toole was great as the dying King.
What I liked most about it was that it was played exactly as something that might have come from the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It was a new story, set in a new world, but it felt like something my great grandmother would have read to me when I was a small boy. I could imagine that she had done so but that I’d just forgotten it.
While I wouldn’t say that this is a kids’ movie, I worry about the pronouncements in the media that you shouldn’t take kids to see it. Yes, it’s violent, and I probably wouldn’t want to deal with a 6-year-old’s nightmares, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have made my kids wait until they were 13 to see it.
Like the Grimm’s tales, it doesn’t pull its punches. The witches are bad, and they do wicked things (including a bit of animal mutilation). The evil princes are jealous and scheming, and they kill each other in evil ways. It was by turns sweet and romantic, then cruel and kinda scary…just like the original Snow White and Cinderella before they were Disneyfied.