Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is my new favorite movie. I definitely want to own a copy. Amazing cast (Robert DeNiro, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer), great effects, and the story is just wonderful. Based on a Neil Gaiman graphic novel, it's a fairy tale for adults (as Gaiman described it in an interview). A young man, Tristan, is in love with Victoria, a selfish young woman who asks him to retrieve a fallen star for her as proof of his love for her. To get the star, he must go to a foreign, enchanted land.
Claire Danes is the luminous star. And not just Tristan is after her. She also has a ruby necklace the king's son wants and a heart that can provide eternal life for a witch (Pfeiffer) and her sisters.
It's romantic and funny with action but it's not a romantic comedy. The director, Matthew Vaughn who was also a co-writer of the script with Jane Goldman, knows exactly what he's doing. He lets the actors do what they need to but reigns them in before they go over the top. This is a "Princess Bride" for a new generation. It's what Terry Gilliam should have directed instead of "The Brothers Grimm."
I think the marketing team at Paramount didn't know what to do with this one. Many graphic novels reach a lot of demographics at once - they don't have the sorts of constraints lots of novels and movies do - because so many different kinds of people can read and appreciate them for very different reasons. So where do you position this film? Not a true romance or comedy or action or fantasy. Even the star power is playing against type: DeNiro as a fey pirate and Pfeiffer as an old evil crone.
I hope it gets a new life on DVD and becomes as popular as "Princess Bride" (I actually prefer "Stardust" but then I am biased toward anything that stars Michelle Pfeiffer).