This post is a little different from others we usually do here at The Nerdd, but I just have to talk about this.
My wife and I recently watched Stardust on Netflix because we saw Charlie Cox (Daredevil) on the thumbnail. As we watched it, we were more and more amazed by both this ridiculous movie, and the fact that neither of us had ever seen it before, for two main reasons: the great cast, and the interesting fantasy.
I will say, this movie is based on a comic book written by Neil Gaiman, who is on a roll lately with on-screen adaptations of his work, most notably Coraline, American Gods, Good Omens, and Lucifer.
This movie came out in 2006, so this is before the MCU or the Worlds of DC (The Dark Knight hadn’t even come out). A couple of the familiar faces were already known at that time, but it was also a super interesting window into some nerd celebs of the near-future (a.k.a. today).
First of all, the narrator of the movie is Sir Ian McKellen, who you should know as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, as well as the first Magneto of the X-Men movies.
Then, for anyone to not instantly recognize Robert De Niro would be painful, but because this is The Nerdd, I will say he was Murray Franklin, the late night host in Joker.
Also with a fun cameo is Ricky Gervais, creator of the British The Office, and this movie came out just after the American The Office was created, putting Gervais in a strong position at the time.
The last memorable face would be David Kelly from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as a butt-kicking portal guard. To see Grandpa Joe beat up Daredevil (spoilers!) is a sight to see.
Now, for the not-yet-known faces of the film, first we have Ben Barnes from Punisher and Westworld. Within two years, Ben Barnes joined two amazing streaming nerdy properties, and became a popular face at conventions. Not to mention that between Stardust and Westworld, he was also Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia films.
Ben Barnes’ son was none other than another Netflix/Marvel star, Charlie Cox from Daredevil. Charlie Cox plays the main character of the movie, and goes from awkward cashier to swashbuckling adventurer over the course of the film. If Matt Murdock wasn’t charming enough for you, then Tristan Thorn will be.
One of the primary villains of the movie was Mark Strong, who would go on to be Lord Henry Blackwood in the RDJ Sherlock Holmes, Frank D’Amico in Kick-Ass, Sinestro in Green Lantern, Merlin in Kingsman, and Dr. Sivana in Shazam!, yet relatively unknown by the release of this film.
The last soon-to-be-known face was Henry Cavill, Superman of Justice League, and now Geralt of Rivia of The Witcher series coming to Netflix. He’s not quite as muscular as he will soon be known for, but as the buff guy in town for Charlie Cox to be rivaling against in a Rom-Com style, it’s crowd-pleasing that would have been impossible to predict.
If the unknown cast was the only thing interesting about this movie, I would understand having not watched it before; after all, Band of Brothers has an even more impressive pre-fame who’s-who. But it’s not, there is interesting fantasy that is rarely seen in this Post-Tolkien Fantasy age. So much fantasy since 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring has featured elves and dwarves, magic and dragons in one way or another. Yet this movie follows a very unique style of magic and fantasy that is so separate from The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Skyrim, or Chronicles of Narnia that it should be required watching for fans of fantasy.
The movie starts easy, introducing fantasy with a hidden world, behind a seemingly inconsequential gate, that leads you to a world of magic and witches and wondrous things, but nothing you haven’t seen before.
The movie starts to pick it up with their ghost mythos, where once you die, you get to sit around and watch the goings-on of the world, until you are freed, which seems to come about when the greatest mystery of your life is wrapped. These ghosts become a peanut gallery of one of the films plot-lines, and they can’t be seen by any characters in the film; they are only there for the enjoyment of the audience. They don’t interact with anything, they don’t influence anyone, they just sit there and make jokes.
The first truly unique aspect of this fantasy world, is that occasionally the stars themselves come down from the heavens above, and take a physical and human form. This seems to be against their wishes, and they desire to return to space. However, the power within them is so strong, it is the base of magic itself, for you have to consume the now-physical heart of one of these stars to achieve magical power. Magic isn’t found through study or inherent ability, but purely through the eating of a demihuman heart.
Lastly, the most amazing and amusing aspect of the fantasy of Stardust, come in the Lightning Pirates. That’s right. There are pirates who have flying ships, that go into storm clouds to collect the power of lightning, and then sell it on the black market. It becomes such an issue apparently that there are Lightning Marshals that patrol storms to stop pirates from harvesting the electric resource. (I am still unsure if the power that they collected allowed for a level of matter manipulation, seen used for rapid hair growth.)
Why haven’t more people seen this? If they have, why aren’t more people talking about this? Even if you haven’t seen this, and you just read this entire article, I promise you I haven’t spoiled so much of it that you won’t enjoy the film. Even if I have, the movie came out 13 years ago, sometimes spoilers happen. If anything, I hope I have piqued your interest enough to boot up Netflix and give Stardust a watch, and soon.