Tuesday, August 21, 2007


More than one reviewer has portrayed Stardust as this generation's Princess Bride. It's an unfair comparison that is more likely the result of lazy reviewers paying more attention to promotional materials than the film. From what I know, the only connection between Stardust and the Princess Bride is that they could both fit into the genre of fairy tale. Beyond that, Stardust has no more similarity to Princess Bride than it does to Snow White.

A better comparison is Eragon. [But Stardust is a much better film]. Like Eragon, Stardust is a coming of age story. It's the ancient formula of "Jack" the young hero who sets out on a quest as a bumbling boy and returns as a man. But Stardust adds a twist of romance to the coming-of-age formula. In fact, Stardust is a combination of fairy tale types. The romance in Stardust is the formula of the the young man who falls in love with an enchanted creature who chooses humanity for the sake of love. In this case, its Yvaine, who is a fallen star. She can survive in the mystical land of Stronghold, but if she should cross the wall into our world she will disintegrate into stardust.

The story adds yet another fairy tale theme in the form of Yvaine's desire to live among the humans she has watched over the centuries. But wait, there's still another fairy tale theme woven into this story. Tristan, our "Jack" in this complex fairy tale, is the hidden king who is the rightful heir to the throne of Stronghold.

The story is a crazy quilt of fairy tale ideas woven together nicely and without confusion. The visual magic of the film is delightful as well. The philosophy is also rich. The opening line is worth pondering:

A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really. Do the stars gaze back? -- Now that's a question.

The philosopher may have overlooked the possibility that the heavenly creatures are in awe of the lives of mere mortals. But the apostle seemed to understand it . . .

The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah's Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this! - 1 Peter 1:10-12

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