Stardust (2007)

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Review by Cindy Bruchman

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I’m glad to partake in the Robert DeNiro blogathan hosted by Tyson and Mark. My job was to pick a DeNiro film I hadn’t seen and give a brief review. I focused on the 2007 film, Stardust.

The British fantasy-romance-adventure film included all the elements one would expect from a fantasy and with great special effects, it was as charming as The Princess Bride or The Golden Compass. From Claire Danes as the fallen star to Mark Strong as a scheming prince to Michelle Pfeiffer as the wicked witch, everyone played their roles convincingly except for, I’m sorry to report, Robert DeNiro. I never thought I’d admit he was the weak link in the chain.

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The comic relief?
Robert DeNiro’s character was a confused pirate, Captain Shakespeare. One minute he’s the tough guy you’d expect DeNiro to play when he kidnaps the pair and brings Tristan and the fallen star, Yvaine, on board his flying pirate ship. The hero, Tristan, played by Charlie Cox, crossed into the fantasy world called Stormhold and falls in love with the fallen star who shines brighter and brighter as her love grows for Tristan.

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As Captain Shakespeare, he mimicked the dramatist by accentuating the effeminacy. Then he added the can-can routine and the audience was privy to transvestite tendencies. Seeing DeNiro in drag was not funny. His interpretation was a muddled mess.
Oh, Robert DeNiro, if I could have reviewed twenty other films of yours that showed your brilliance. You were more offensive in this role than any other time you beat someone to death with whatever prop was handy. Goodness, what were you thinking?

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What did work in the film were the dead brothers on the sideline watching as ghosts. They were funny and the technique clever.

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Michelle Pfeiffer was great as Lamia, the wicked witch in this story. The make-up was great. It was disturbing to see the beautiful legend turn hideous. Ouch.

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Stardust was a commercial success and kept me interested for the most part. I would rate the film 7 out of 10 under one condition: Bobby never agrees to play a transvestite pirate again.

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24 thoughts on “Stardust (2007)

  1. I have to admit to being quite disappointed in this one Cindy. It had everything going for it and I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman’ stuff but this was a bit uneven and on the tedious side. Hats off to DeNiro for trying but I don’t think he worked here either.

  2. I agree. I saw this after originally buying a ticket for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Got about halfway through that offensive pile of garbage before opting to leave the theater and see whatever was starting at the right time. Stardust happened to be the movie with the right start time.

    In comparison to Sandler and James’ colossal failure, Stardust is great and De Niro is completely authentic. Taken on its terms, you correctly identify every flaw. 🙂

  3. I love this movie, I love this book, and I love Neil Gaiman!
    I think because of my love for the story I can overlook De Niro’s silliness in this role. I don’t mind him as a cross-dressing pirate.

    • Really! Well, that’s fine, of course. I was embarrassed. He seemed to not have a clue how to act in this. I did like him when he was dancing with the star or teaching how to fence. Otherwise, I cringed.

  4. It’s funny – I really enjoyed this at the time because it’s about the closest thing we’ve had to The Princess Bride in recent years (although it’s nowhere near that classic. I wish anything could ever be half as good as that one!). But I now only remember bits of it & it wasn’t that long ago so it’s clearly not as good as I thought (plus I’d completely forgotten what De Niro’s role was in it). Great review. 🙂

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