I love reading Christopher Borelli's movie reviews in the (Toledo) Blade. I almost always agree with his assessment, and he's a very entertaining writer. So when he gave Stardust one star, my heart sank. I really like Neil Gaiman; I hope to meet him one day and probably should have already, since he lives across the river in Wisconsin, is in Minneapolis fairly often, and has close ties to Dreamhaven Books which is not far from my house. I really wanted this movie to be good, but now I'm worried.
Because articles don't always stay available online very long, here are the beginning and end of Chris' review:
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Stardust, which opens today in Toledo, tells the story of a star who falls to earth, and so it is here, with great exhaustion, I invite you to contribute your finest Lindsay Lohan one-liner. I'll even wait. Finished? Let's move on: The star of our aforementioned Stardust is not a troubled starlet or celebrity, but a ball of gaseous vapor adrift in space - again, not Michael Moore, either. Not a famous face at all. Let's get it straight, people.
Let's get it straight because we're going to need to concentrate. In space, this star is a celestial body; but on Earth, the star becomes Claire Danes, pulling a muscle in her attempt at a British accent. Half of this thing is about the indomitable power of the imagination; the other half features Robert DeNiro doing a can-can dance in a teddy. I'm going to need strong footing to retrieve what I have mentally blocked. Besides, my handwriting stinks, and though I do take notes during screenings and later find those notes illegible back at the office (all that writing in the dark), I'm nonetheless dumbfounded by my scribble for Stardust, which, I believe, reads:
No idea what that means.
I flip a page:
"If you have no transportation and can turn a man into a goat, why not turn him into a horse?"
Why, that's almost wise.
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Stardust falls into the ever-expanding category of movie adaptations based on books for young adults (Eragon, Lemony Snicket) that remind us adults like to over-think the material. When characters are always asking "Do you know what this means?", no one else does.
But an aside: Why is England always the gateway to fantasy lands? England, with its tradition of children's literature stretching as far back as our nation is old, got there first, sure. But after The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter and the rest, may I point out Americans are losing the race to parallel fantasy worlds. I propose we put a small child from, say, oh, Ohio, in a magical land populated by talking beavers as soon as possible. They will stumble upon an enchanted strip mall and find themselves in a new world. I propose we meet this goal by 2010 - do you know what this means if we don't?