Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||2007|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:31)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Matthew Vaughn|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Do ever wish that you could find a film which gives you enjoyment as an adult but will also keep your pre-teens and young teenagers engaged? Do you fondly remember the fairy tales and fantasy stories involving witches, princes, heroes and unicorns? How about a dash of English style quirky humour thrown in for good measure? Well, you have come to the right place, because this film, although overlooked on its theatrical release, is an entertaining experience which combines everything I mentioned before with a non-clichéd plot, quality performances from an excellent cast, well integrated CGI and high production values. Stardust is based upon a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess, and both were obviously quite involved in the production, featuring prominently in the extras. The film seems to have had a long production history with an option originally held by Miramax and then being given to the director Matthew Vaughan by the author once the original option expired. The film was shot in many locations in the UK & Iceland along with Pinewood Studios for on-set scenes.
The plot follows the adventures of a young man, Tristan Thorne (Charlie Cox), who lives in a small village in Victorian England called Wall. He lives with his father and has no knowledge of his mother. The village is named after a long wall which runs alongside the village. A gap in the wall is guarded day and night by a surprisingly sprightly old man (David Kelly who Fawlty Towers fans will recognise). His job is to stop people crossing the wall as there is a magical kingdom on the other side called Stormhold. Tristan is sweet on a young girl in the village, Victoria (Sienna Miller), but she is vain and shallow and has no real feelings for him. While trying to impress her with champagne on a moonlight picnic they see a falling star, which Tristan offers to retrieve for Victoria in order to prove his love. The star itself has been knocked out of the sky by a ruby thrown by the dying King of Stormhold (Peter O'Toole). Stormhold has a grand tradition of ascension to the throne by being the last son alive, which results in many murders. In order to try to avoid this, the King says that the one who retrieves the ruby will instead become King. When the star falls to earth it is revealed to be a beautiful young woman, Yvaine (Claire Danes), who is injured during the fall. Meanwhile, Tristan finds a way past the guard and ends up landing on top of Yvaine, annoying her further. He then attempts to force her to walk back to Wall with him to present to Victoria. Of course, this plan does not go smoothly as all of the princes (including Rupert Everett, Mark Strong, David Walliams & Jason Flemyng) are out to recover the ruby, and also a coven of witches, led by Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), want to remove the star's heart as it will allow them to recapture their long lost youth. Along the way Tristan & Yvaine get over their initial antagonism and meet many interesting characters including a sky pirate called Captain Shakespeare (a wonderful turn by Robert De Niro) and a dodgy trader called Ferdy the Fence (Ricky Gervais) along with many faces familiar to fans of English comedy and television.
This is a highly entertaining film which is suitable for most audiences, with the exception of pre-schoolers. Some scenes would be a bit too scary for that audience and there are some mild sexual references. Otherwise, though there is nothing in the film to offend anyone (which may of course means it loses interest for older teenagers and juvenile adults) and lots to enjoy. The location shooting adds significantly to the film including the few scenes shot in Iceland. The Pinewood based scenes are also well done with intricate sets and some excellent special effects. All of this is combined with an English sensibility which adds moments of humour to the romance, adventure, action and fantasy. Another amusing element is the peanut gallery of ghost princes who follow the still living princes on their quest to retrieve the ruby. The only (very minor) criticism I would have of this film is that the score is sometimes a bit more dramatic and grand than the film it accompanies, but otherwise is of good quality.
Overall, this film is very enjoyable and an excellent choice for watching with the whole family for an evening of escapism, adventure, romance and humour. Highly Recommended.
The video quality is very good without quite achieving excellence.
The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
The picture was clear and sharp throughout without achieving the crispness of the best transfers. There was no evidence of low level noise, however, there was light background grain in some scenes. The shadow detail was very good.
The colour was excellent. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.
Artefacts were either non-existent or so minor as to not be noticeable.
There are 7 sets of subtitles on this disc including English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian & Swedish. They are clear, easy to read and well placed to make use of the black bar between the 2.40:1 picture and the standard 1.78:1 widescreen frame.
The layer change occurs at 60:31 and is not noticeable.
The audio quality is excellent.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.
Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The score of this film by Ilan Eshkari is quite good but strays too far into melodrama at times, clashing with the tone of the film.
The surround speakers were in constant use adding significant atmosphere along with lots of directional effects including lighting storms, the shooting star, explosions and breaking glass. Quality stuff!
The subwoofer is also very well used for the music along with various explosions, storms and the shooting star.
|Surround Channel Use|
A decent selection of extras are included.
The menu design is of good quality, incorporating an intro and with scenes from the film and music.
A much better than average making of featurette, as it is self-deprecating, informative and even fairly honest. Interviews with the author, cast, director and crew are included and topics covered include design concepts, casting, the author's inspiration, CGI use, costumes, sets & locations. 16x9 enhanced.
There are five deleted scenes included which are not missed from the film itself but do contain some extra amusing moments of humour. Not 16x9 enhanced.
A reasonably amusing blooper reel which is better than most you see. Not 16x9 enhanced.
An excellent trailer which surprisingly enough actually represents the film well. 16x9 enhanced with DD5.1 sound.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
On this basis lets just call it a draw. This title is also available on HD-DVD.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is excellent.
There is a decent but not overwhelming set of extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|