Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro.

Dir: Matthew Vaughn

Rating: 4/5

Tristan (Cox) has lived his whole life in the quiet town of Wall, named after the ancient stones that surround it, cutting it off from the world beyond.

Tristan pines and desperately tries to win the heart of the beautiful yet shallow Victoria (Sienna Miller). One evening Victoria promises to marry Tristan if he brings back a fallen star.

To prove his love Tristan escapes from Wall in an attempt to find the star but when he does he comes face to face with Yvaine (Danes).

But Tristan isn't the only one looking for the star: the king of Stormhold (Peter O'Toole) is dying one of his surviving sons must find a precious stone to be crowned the next king - a stone than is now in Yvaine's possession.

And a trio of witches require the heart of a star in order to cheat death and restore their former beauty. Lamia (Pfeiffer) sets out to capture Yvaine and take her heart.

Based on the fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman Stardust is a cross generation wacky, surreal fairytale with something for everyone.

Instead of trying to sell a concept that's fuelled by CGI, like many of this summer's blockbusters, director Vaughn, yes Vaughn of Layer Cake fame, instead concentrates on selling the story mixing together effortlessly comedy, romance and action.

But the films real selling point is it's great cast and the over the top performances from acting veterans Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro just steal the show.

In particular De Niro who sends himself up beautifully as the tough Captain Shakespeare who is not what he seems and it's not often, if ever again, that you will see him dancing in front of a mirror dressed in a corset and feather boa.

The unknown Fox handles well the responsibility of the movie's hero Tristan and stands his ground alongside a more established cast.

He interacts well with Claire Danes, who many claim was miscast, but who plays the part of the innocent Yvaine perfectly and their growing relationships feels real despite an uncomfortable and forced first couple of scenes.

There are also some great cameo appearances from Rupert Everett and British comedians David Walliams, Julian Rhind-Tutt, from Green Wing and Jason Flemyng as Peter O'Toole's sons. Their antics in the after life providing many of the laughs.

This film is by no means perfect it suffers from uneven pacing, the beginning is painfully slow, and is a tad too long.

For the older member of the audience it becomes obvious fairly early on in the film who is going to end up with who and who will get their comeuppance but it's just so much fun watching these characters get there.

In all this is a fun movie that all of the family can enjoy that doesn't take itself too seriously. Despite having its flaws it doesn't suffer for them as it wears it's heart on its sleeve concentrating only on telling the story.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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