The ads on TV had been rather fetching, I knew Neil Gaiman's a hoot every time and the film itself had scored high marks, even from my online compadre The Evil DM, so I went into Stardust expecting to see a movie I'd enjoy.
I did not expect to see a film that would impress me so much, and especially not one that would move into my list of favorites.
Now...I'm famously hard to impress in the movie theatre. It's not like I don't like anything, or that I'm curmudgeonly or overly-crtitical or a bastard or anything like that; in fact, I love movies, and I really enjoy watching them. It's just rare that a movie really moves me, really excites me, really snaps my imagination and my senses like a rubber hand inside my skull. Star Wars did it; The Empire Strikes Back did it. Dark City, Stargate, Hellboy, Blade Runner, Serenity and Metropolis did it. Compared to all the movies I own, have seen, and etcertera...that's not a big precentage.
The biggest tell is that I can't tell you exactly why I liked it. That's good; it means that it transcended reason and went right for my pleasure centers, I just enjoyed it because I did. It's got swordfights, magic, an airship, interesting characters, charismatic leads, a goat that gets turned into the guy that plays Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies and a 97-year-old master of crooked old guy stick fu. It's got a parallell universe, truly attractive actresses (I'm even pickier about those), a convincing love story (!), gorgeous art design and more gamer cues than you can shake a stick at.
Oh, and the FX are secondary to the story, which is always a bonus.
It's a fairy tale for grown-ups, so comparisons to The Princess Bride are unavoidable but ultimately inconsequential -- while not as quotable as Bride, it has a much (MUCH) higher wow factor, what with the huge castle and the lightning-fishermen and the swordfight with a cleverly-reanimated dead guy and all that. I'd say that Stardust is a fantasy adventure film as much as it is romantic fairy tale, so it's a different film than the others to which it might be compared.
It doesn't seem to be busting ass at the box office, though, and I guess that's to be expected; films like this just don't. But it has definitely sold at least one DVD already, to me, when it comes out, and a copy of the book upon which it is based as well. I think this'll become a cult classic on par with (again) The Princess Bride, although you won't have renfaire girls quoting from Stardust as much. Which is a good thing, because that gets annoying.
Oh, and fellas?
I didn't know her name until just now, but damned if I'll ever forget it.