Stardust (the Movie, Not the Book)—Fun But Not Free of Problems

Stardust movie poster

Stardust is a romantic fantasy adventure movie based on a book by Neil Gaiman. It’s follows Tristan as he crosses the magical wall that separates his little English village from the magical realm of Stormhold.

1—Beautiful Movie

Stardust is a gorgeous movie with excellent set design, special effects, and editing. The music is often big and bold but also appropriate to each moment.

2—The Plot

This is a story with a lot of moving parts. You’ve got Tristan trying to bring a shooting star (who it turns out is a woman named Yvaine) home to his crush Victoria. You’ve got the Princes of Stormhold fighting over the crown. You’ve got the witches seeking the fallen star so they can cut out and devour her living heart because it will restore their magic and youth. Then you’ve also got the lightning pirates, and the subplot with Tristan’s mother who’s been enslaved by a different witch. So yeah, there’s a lot going on in this movie, but I never felt at a loss as to what was going on.

3—The Ending

The end fight is perfect, with changing circumstances and twists. But then you get to the moment where Lamia has the heroes at her mercy and…let’s them go? She gives a speech about what good is life without her sisters, what’s the point, but then goes off and tries to kill them again anyway. Even though she said what good was a broken heart to her, hadn’t Yvaine’s heart already been unbroken? It didn’t make sense to me.


I have mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, I love the dark whimsy of it. On the other, all the women seem to be damsels in distress or villains, or Victoria (I don’t like Victoria, but then the audience isn’t meant to). And Captain Shakespeare’s depiction as a crossdresser was played for laughs but I didn’t find it funny. On the other hand, his crew does tell him they know and don’t mind.

Oh yes, and Tristan learning to become an expert swordsman in less than a week, even though it was stated at the beginning of the film that he never learned to do well with it in school, where he presumably had even more training. I do dislike the Instant Expert trope.

I’d say the movie’s worth seeing though.

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