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Stardust

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Fantasy Violence and Some Risque Humor)

Running Time: 127 Minutes

Starring: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemying, Rupert Everett, Peter O'Toole with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro

Screenplay by: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Based on the novel written by: Neil Gaiman 
Illustrated by: Charles Vess

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Good Omens: The Making of Stardust, Deleted Scenes, Blooper Reel, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (18 Scenes)

Released: December 18th, 2007

 

 

"Stardust" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and this is a pretty disappointing transfer. There seems to be no balance at all here: the scenes that take place in the dark or at night look a bit faded and very murky, while the daytime scenes are too brightly lit, resulting in shots that look over-exposed and a large amount of mosquito noise. Edge halos are constant throughout, fleshtones and detail are merely decent and color saturation is good for the most part, but at times looks a bit underwhelming. In all, the film looks more washed out than it should be - which is a shame, given that the excellent visuals and production design don't really get much of a chance to stand out.

 

Better is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but it was not as enveloping as I hoped it would be. There are a good amount of sound effects - be it horses galloping, the crash of Yvaine the star falling and the action-packed climax - but they often sounded too broad, and usually lacked the zing and sharpness. (I expected more from such a swashbuckling tale.) While the rears are used for some decent surrounds, too often I felt things were kept to the front speakers. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear though, subwoofer use is fine and Ilan Eshkeri's score is mixed well through the channels, giving it a bit more flavor and power.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also available in French and Spanish. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish are on the disc too, as well as English closed captions.  

 



Good Omens: The Making of Stardust is a breezy half-hour featurette about the making of the movie. There doesn't seem to be much structure here, but you get glimpses of the original graphic novel, its (legendary) author Neil Gaiman talking about his inspirations for the original story and Matthew Vaughn's attraction to the piece. There's bit from the cast, but there's a surprisingly large amount devoted to the special effects and expansive production design - this was clearly not an easy film to undertake, but everyone comes across as involved and passionate with their work. Like the movie itself, there's a little something for everyone here.

There are five Deleted Scenes that total 5 and-a-half minutes, and are in somewhat rough non-anamorphic widescreen. The scenes don't add anything to the movie, but since they're so short, you might want to check them out. There's also a 5 minute, 25 second Blooper Reel which basically has cast member missing a beat and laughing. Finally, there's the Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen.

 

I found "Stardust" to be a pretty lacking and uninvolving fantasy, that had too much going on and didn't meet its story potential. The DVD itself is a bit on the shallow side too, with a murky transfer, a standard 5.1 mix and not much in the way of extras. If you missed it in theaters, it's a harmless rental at best.