The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, German, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, German, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish
Starring: Charlie Cox, Siena Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Fleming, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Claire Danes, Robert DeNiro, Peter O’Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Music by: Ilan Eshkeri
Written by: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 7, 2010
"Love is magic"
In Hopes of wooing a beautiful girl (Sienna Miller), Tristan (Charlie Cox) promises to bring her a falling star. But he’s in for the adventure of his life when he discovers the star is actually a celestial beauty named Yvaine (Danes). When an old witch Lamia (Pfeiffer) attempts to steal Yvaine’s youth, Tristan must protect her at all costs. This magical fairytale like no other will make you laugh out loud and believe in love again.
Stardust is a film adaptation of the novel written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess. It’s a fantasy/adventure/romance about a young man, Tristan, from the English village of Wall who goes in search of a fallen star in the hopes of bringing it back and winning the heart of his lifelong crush Victoria. Oh if it were only that simple. Wall lies near a stone wall that is the border with the kingdom of Stormhold a magical realm ruled by a dying monarch. On his death bed the king decrees that one of his remaining sons will be his successor. He removes his large magical ruby necklace and sends it hurtling into space decreeing that the first of his sons to recover it will be king. The gem collides with a star, and falls (seen by Tristan and Victoria) elsewhere in Stormhold. The fallen star isn’t a clump of space debris but is a beautiful celestial young woman named Yvaine (who wears the necklace).
The king's two sons, Primus and Septimus, venture out independently to search for the “gem”. Meanwhile Yvain’s presence is detected by three witches, Lamia, Empusa and Mormo, sisters, who seek the magic/youth restoring powers her heart possesses. Lamia goes in search of Yvaine in order to trap her and bring her back to their castle. Tristan locates Yvaine and after getting over the shock of her being “human” takes her captive and continues with his plan to bring her back to Wall for Victoria. Unbeknownst to them they are being tracked by the witches and princes of Stormhold. The 100 mile journey back to Wall is fraught with peril, deception, evil, and airborne adventure as Tristan and Yvaine discover that love is magic.
I am decidedly a fan of fantasy and a film like Stardust is right up my alley. Its age old premise is based upon a romantic theme blended with elements of magic, suspense and action/adventure. This is a multi-genre coming of age film that has a wonderfully whimsical and charming allure that I found entertaining. There are dark elements and violence which are counterbalanced perfectly by satiric wit and levity that never feels passe. I got a kick out of the ghost princes and their good-natured raillery. Captain Shakespeare and his crew are truly priceless. The fantastical nature of the characters is complimented by a discernible edginess that keeps them from seeming trite. The likeability of Tristan and Yvaine is enhanced by the credible onscreen chemistry between Charlie Cox and Claire Danes. As the film’s focal point they lay the foundation for acceptance of not only their characters but for how we as the audience perceive the story’s outcome. As a guy who prefers feel good movies I was of course pleased with how things turned out. The supporting cast including Robert DeNiro (loved Captain Shakespeare) Michelle Pfeiffer and Mark Strong (who were both equally sinister in their portrayals) lent an air of credibility and depth to an already stalwart screenplay. Stardust is fanciful, adventurous, and isn’t afraid to be unconventional. The result is a bedazzling, fun, and charming fantasy film that has found a home in my Blu-ray collection.
The rating is for fantasy violence and some risqué humor.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Stardust comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This appears to be a faithful Blu-ray Disc encoding from Paramount that presents this catalog release title in a positive light. Images boast stable, punchy contrast, bright, detailed whites, and gradationally enhanced grays. This coupled along with deep blacks and delineated shadow detail gives images both light and dark excellent depth. The video is definitively resolved with moments of innate softness that I never found objectionable. Wide angle shots of the panoramic vistas in Iceland/Isle of Sky have appreciable dimension with discernable rendering of objects within foregrounds and backgrounds. Close ups reveal subtle refinement as the intricate textures within facial features, clothing, and objects onscreen is apparent. This isn’t an overly colorful film however the chromatic palette coincides with the director’s intention. The earth toned colors and secondary hues have subtle tonal variety that looks great in high definition. Bright primaries are used sparingly and stand out in stark contrast to the mostly sepia toned aesthetic that predominate the film. Skin tones appear natural and appropriate within the scope of the source material. Grain is presented in fine layers that are apparent but unobtrusive.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound surpasses the video presentation and renders the film’s elements with aplomb. I was impressed with its extended dynamic range and rich, robust bass. This is a dialogue driven film however it contains active elements that have the ability to light up your room. The sequences featuring the Captain Shakespeare flying ship have excellent dynamic energy, deep bass extension and an immersive 360 degree sound field. The music score commands the soundstage with high level resolution and percussion heavy orchestration that sounds terrific. While the surround mix isn’t necessarily aggressive the entire platform is regularly used to drive the story by generating atmospheric enhancement that comes in both subtle and direct form that can be involving. Detail and clarity are first rate which enhances the depth of spoken dialogue, low level effects and musical articulation even during active moments. This is a well balanced, fun and occasionally enticing surround sound presentation that delivers the goods.
- Audio commentary by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman
- (HD) Crossing the wall - Making of Stardust: 5 segments (totaling 54 minutes)
- The quest for stone
- A portal to another world
- What do stars do?
- A quest of enormous importance
- Have you seen a fallen star?
- Nothing is true..
- 5 deleted scenes
- Blooper reel – 5 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Stardust is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman. It’s a feel good romantic fantasy that has an imaginative, adventurous, and charming story that isn’t afraid to be unconventional. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to report that its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount features faithful high definition video and distinguished DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound. It comes with a very decent set of bonus supplements that are headlined by a writer/director audio commentary and the five-part “Crossing the wall” feature. Stardust has found a home in my Blu-ray library and comes recommended.
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