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Stardust – Family Movie Review

Movie Mama Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Starring: Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Charlie Cox

Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

Running Time: 2 hours and 8 min.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some fantasy violence and risqué humor.

When Tristan (Charlie Cox), a young peasant man, professes his love to the beautiful village girl Victoria (Sienna Miller), he finds that she is already promised to another. She agrees to break the engagement and marry Tristan only if he crosses a forbidden wall into the magical country of Stormhold and brings her back a fallen star. Tristan sets out on the quest determined to win Victoria’s love, but he is not prepared to find that the fallen star is actually a young woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). As Tristan attempts to bring Yvaine back to Victoria, he realizes that the fallen star is being hunted by several foes. As he tries to protect her, they embark on an adventure of epic fantasy proportions.

Stardust is a whimsical tale of adventure and romance set against a breathtaking and magical backdrop. It’s almost like The Princess Bride meets Harry Potter meets The Golden Compass. The cast, the story–every scene has the potential to be enjoyable for both men and women. It moves at a perfect pace and despite several crude parts, Stardust will have you laughing throughout.

There are cameos from many blockbuster actors such as Ian McKellen (Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings) as the narrator, Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter films) as a hilarious billy goat, Ricky Gervais (from the British television show The Office) as Ferdy, an underground salesman, and even Robert De Niro (Jack Byrnes from Meet The Parents) as an effeminate pirate captain. Claire Danes has grown into a very capable and mature actress, and she fits in very well alongside a very talented cast. Michelle Pfeiffer once again plays a terrifically horrid and terrifying antagonist.

One positive lesson that is predominant in the film is that we don’t have to bend over backwards to be popular. Tristan’s idea of the most beautiful woman is skewed, but his own soul-searching shows him that he’s better off being himself, rather than trying to “fit in” just to impress others.

No one can say this film isn’t entertaining. Though that’s about all it has going for it. One would think that a compelling story studded with famous faces should be enough, but Stardust proves itself just another Hollywood film by weaving unnecessary sensuality and violence throughout each frame.

Here are a few things parents should be aware of:

For one, there are quite a few scary images, especially regarding the scenes with the three witches who are hunting Yvaine. The witches dabble with divination, voodoo, runes, and also sacrifice several animals quite brutally. In the end, one of the witches is viciously attacked and killed by a pack of angry animals.

There is a royal family who takes no remorse in killing each other off, and the film even makes light of murder and death by having the ghosts of each dead family member follow their living siblings around, making satirical comments.

Worst of all, both Tristan and his father live in a fantasy world where one simple kiss must always lead to sex. Because these scenes are off screen, one might think this film is “clean,” but it is simply the idea of promiscuity that is so dangerous for our kids. I for one do not want my children believing the Hollywood myth that having sex with someone you just met should be as casual as going out for ice cream. Besides this, Tristan is born out of wedlock as a result of his father’s impetuous and impromptu affair with a princess. During one of the off-screen “intimate” scenes, one of the ghost brothers sneaks in to watch–resulting in someone calling him a pervert. As if there couldn’t be more, Stardust’s director has chosen to include sensual camera angles, risqué dialogue, come-hither looks, and even several jokes regarding women’s breasts.

OVERALL

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