This week at The Pink Heart Society editor Trish Wylie is here to extol the wonders of the latest addition to her DVD collection... a good old fashioned romp of a movie called Stardust...
The fairytale that won't behave...
Okay. If you're pushed for time just let me make this simple for you... if you haven't already done it then WATCH THIS FILM! I looovveedddd it!!!
Now, for those of you with a longer attention span I shall continue ;) From the moment the narrators voice sounds you know you're in for something special with this movie:
A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really...”Do the stars gaze back?" Now *that's* a question.
Stardust begins in the sleepy English village of Wall; named for the huge dry stone wall that has for hundreds of years kept the villagers safely away from the magical realm of Stormhold that lies just on the other side. Tristan (Charlie Cox), is a simple shop boy who dreams of marrying Victoria (Sienna Miller) but his dreams seem to be in vain until she sends him on a quest: to recover a falling star. Urged on by his father Dunstan (Nathaniel Parker), Tristan uses a magic candle to travel to the place where the star fell. (A gift left for him by his mother who he has never met) But when he arrives he discovers the star is not the lump of rock he was expecting but a beautiful girl called Yvaine (Clare Danes), who is none too happy to have been knocked out of the heavens to begin with - never mind being captured by an awkward boy!
Tristan: Oh, excuse me, madame, sorry, this may see strange but, have you seen a falling star anywhere?
Yvaine: You're funny.
Tristan: No, really. We're in a crater, this must be where it fell.
Yvaine: [sarcastic] Yeah, this where it fell. It is, or if you want to be really specific up there [pointing to the sky] is where this weird bloody necklace came out of nowhere and knocked it out of the heavens without minding it's own business. And over there is where it landed. And right here, here is where it got hit by a magical flying MORON!
Reluctantly she's forced to begin making her way back to Tristan's village. But it turns out that Tristan is not the only person who wants to get his hands on Yvaine. Oh no. A nasty witch called Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer - who can I just say is flipping brilliant in this role!) and her two sisters want to eat Yvaine's heart, because it will provide them with youth and beauty again. How GREAT is this plot already?! I tell ya - you want a film for all the family with a love story thrown in then I really don't think you can do much better than this! For me, it's even earned a place one slot up on my shelf from The Princess Bride. And that's saying something!
Anyway, back to the film... While all this is happening, the King (Peter O'Toole - this movie has one heck of a cast!) has died and his sons are fighting to recover a lost gem that will allow one of them to succeed to the throne. Naturally Yvaine has it. And before long, Tristan and Yvaine are thrown into a whirlwind adventure facing witches, pirates, and kings-to-be, all the while discovering that heroism, leadership and most of all love may appear in the last place they'd expect it. Have I mentioned how much I love this movie???
The bloodthirsty fight for succession that leads Prince Septimus (Mark Strong) and his brothers to kill one another off until the last survivor ascends the throne brings us a wonderful addition to the story as one by one the brothers come to grisly ends. You see instead of passing over once they're gone the brothers become ghosts; tied to the brothers that are left and in the state they were killed in. Bit unfortunate for the one who was naked in a bath at the time... They run an often hilarious commentary on the actions of Septimus, pop their heads through walls to see what people are doing, appear in the oddest places - loved them!
And as if all that's already going on isn't enough we then have the appearance of pirates! Thanks to a small mistake made with the magic candle when trying to escape the witch...
Tristan: What the hell did you do?
Yvaine: What did I do? What did YOU do? Think of home? That was a GREAT plan! You thought of your home and I thought of mine and now we're halfway between the two!
Tristan: Well you stupid cow! What did you think of your home for?
Yvaine: You just said home! If you wanted me to think of your home you should have said!
Tristan: Some crazy lady was going to cut your heart out and you wanted more specific instructions? Perhaps you'd want it in writing or a diagram maybe?
One half of the scriptwriting team that brought author Neil Gaiman's book to the big screen (along with TV personality Jonathan Ross' wife Jane Goldman), the director of the film (Matthew Vaughn) definitely keeps the action fast-paced - jumping us between the various factions as they bear down on Tristan and Yvaine. Add the Scottish and Icelandic locations that provide Stormhold with sweeping vistas allowing for sprawling chase scenes and a sense of the epic, Vaughn also has some serious fun with a little swashbuckling as Tristan, gets expert tutelage and a makeover from a colorful Pirate Captain played by none other than Robert De Niro (told you this as one heck of a cast!) in a role as far removed from his usual gruff persona as humanely possible! Arrrgggg! As his crew would say.
Michelle Pfeiffer is, as I've already said, simply fantastic as the evil witch Lamia, whose centuries-old exterior is showing its years without the aid of the heart of a star, and Mark Strong as Prince Septimus, balances her black magic with his dastardly evil ambition. Add Sir Ian McKellen's narration to give us that storybook tone, amusing cameos by David Kelly, Rupert Everett and Ricky Gervais and the simply gorgeous cinematography and really this is just an all round entertainment fest.
But being as and how we're all about the love here at The Pink Heart Society, it's the love story at the heart of the movie (no pun intended) that adds that little something to truly make it magical! I mean, who here doesn't like a heroic hero and a feisty heroine who knocks him off the course he was so sure was the right one for him?
Yvaine: Tell me about Victoria.
Tristan: Well, she... she... There's nothing else to tell you.
Yvaine: The little I know about love is that it's unconditional. It's not something you can buy.
Tristan: Hang on! This wasn't about me trying to buy her love. This was to prove to her how I felt.
Yvaine: Ah... And what's she doing to prove how she feels about you?
Tristan: Well... Look, Yvaine, you'll understand when you meet her, all right? If we don't get murdered by pirates first.
Yvaine: Mmm... Murdered by pirates, heart torn out and eaten, meet Victoria... I can't quite decide which sounds more fun...
In case I haven't already mentioned it I LOVED this movie. For 127 minutes I was completely transported, the outside world forgotten and even when it finished I was able to bask in the warm glow of what was just a great film. My inner child had a blast. The romantic in me got my happily ever after. My love of the funny was pandered to in spades. All round. My kinda film.
I'm gonna leave you with two things. First, a trailer for a look see:
And then the kind of quote we romance writers could copy and paste to stick to the wall above our computer screens:
Yvaine: You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable,unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me anymore. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing inexchange - no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.
And that, in the words of Forrest Gump, is all I have to say about that...
Warm and Fuzzy Rating a RESOUNDING ten out of ten!!! Get the DVD. Keep it for times that life gets to you. It's a little pocket of the kind of escapism we category romance lovers LIVE FOR.
H's & K's
Trish’s current release is in Australia and New Zealand where GABE is making a bid for world wide recognition in Claimed By The Billionaire Bad Boy… The book is available from eharlequin Australia RIGHT NOW
To find out more about Trish and her books you can visit her Website or Her Blog…