Between directing Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, two Kingsmen movies and now this Neil Gaiman story, I think Matthew Vaughn likes comic books.
Here, he’s telling the story — with a huge ensemble cast — of Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox), who enters the magical Stormhold to retrieve a star for Victoria (Sienna Miller), the woman he loves. Yet inside it, he discovers a woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes) and runs afoul of the many princes of that country and the witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer).
I think the main lesson here is that if a woman asks you to get her a star before he agrees to marry you, your marriage is probably not going to be very good.
Vaughn has never been happy with how the film was sold, as the studio promised Lord of the Rings when this movie is much more The Princess Bride. That’s an apt description, as this has gone on to be well-regarded, the kind of movie that you’ll lay and watch if it comes on on a Sunday afternoon (not that we get that many lazy days around here any longer).
This has a sprawling cast — DeNiro is a cross-dressing space pirate! The Princes are Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adam Buxton and David Walliams, a cast so big the love interests of five Bridget Jones movies! Peter O’Toole is the king! — and the script does a great job of condensing Gaiman’s expansive narrative down while adding new characters.
I have no horse in the fight between book and film, so if you do, perhaps you feel much differently. I just find this an entertaining film.