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(Widescreen Edition)

STARDUST ($30) is a magical, amusing and slightly adult fairy tale that is surprisingly different than what one would normally expect from this type of film. Adapted from the novella by Neil Gaiman, STARDUST tells the story of a place where the realm of magic intersects with ours. As the film opens, we encounter a young lad from the English town of Wall, who crosses a breach in the very wall, from which the town takes its name. Once on the other side, the young lad finds himself in the magical realm of Stormhold, where he has a tryst with a captured princess. Nine months later, a basket is delivered to our young lad- inside he finds an infant son named Tristan. Zipping forward eighteen years, our fully-grown Tristan (Charlie Cox) is in unrequited love with Victoria (Sienna Miller) and sets out to prove his love by retrieving a fallen star for her. This leads Tristan onto the other side of the wall, into Stormhold, where we discover the fallen star to be magically transformed into a young woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). Although Tristan is the first to find Yvaine, there are others who also seek the fallen star. Chief among them is a powerful witch named Lamia, who wishes to cut out the starís still beating heart and devour it with her sisters, so they can regain their youth. Also seeking the star, are the three remaining Princes of the kingdom of Stormhold, for the star holds the key to one of them claiming the recently vacated thrown. Also along for the ride, is the notorious Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro), who helps steer our hero onto the course of true love. The cast of STARDUST also features Ian McKellen, David Kelly, Ben Barnes, Kate Magowan, Melanie Hill, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O'Toole, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Mark Heap, Struan Rodger, Rupert Everett, David Walliams, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adam Buxton, Sarah Alexander and Joanna Scanlan.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made STARDUST available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The DVD is appears very well rendered, producing a sharp and nicely defined image. There is some softness in places, but this is in relation to how certain effects shots are processed. Colors are strongly saturated, without appearing overdone. Additionally, the flesh tones remain completely appealing throughout. Blacks accurately rendered, while the whites are crisp and stable. Contrast is very smooth and shadow detail is respectable, but not extraordinary. The film elements appear very clean and appreciable grain is generally mild. Digital compression artifacts are usually very well contained.

STARDUST comes with a nicely mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is decent in quality, but isnít as spectacular as some might like. The action sequences sound pretty darn good, but the dialogue passages, of which there are many, seem flat and uninspired. As expected, the front channels are dominant, while the outlying channels chime in during the more boisterous moments. The bass channel is solid and adds a nice bit of rumble when required. Dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish 5.1 tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Good Omens: The Making of Stardust is a solid half hour interview based program. There are five Deleted Scenes, a Blooper Reel, Theatrical Trailer and Previews for other Paramount titles that fill out the extras.

I found STARDUST to be a very pleasant surprise and not at all the film I was expecting. Paramountís DVD looks good and sounds fine- definitely worth checking out.



Stardust (Widescreen Edition) (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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