Let's Watch: Stardust



Fast-foward 18 months, and Ian McKellen starts talking about how Tristan's journey from infant to boy isn't as hard as his journey from boy to man will be. Because apparently the latter requires him to marry his true love. This is where we get the first real look at the absolutely atrocious writing. I mean, could it possibly be more cliché?

Yes. Yes it can. And it will.

It is at this point when the character problems show up. Tristan is in love with this woman named Victoria; she's a whore. See, she's in a relationship with this other jackass Humphery, a wealthy guy who showers her with stuff. Yet she keeps leading Tristan on; she goes on a moonlight picnic with him. She even almost kisses him. And Tristan knows this. Yet he's still so very much in love with her.

Nothing in this entire sequence makes the audience like either character. Tristan comes off as an immature idiot, while Victoria comes off as... well, a whore. Thankfully, Victoria is not our main character.

Thankfully again, we cut to something slightly more interesting. The king of Stormhold is on his deathbed. He has four surviving male heirs, out of the 7 sons (and 1 daughter: remember the enslaved princess) he started with. He is distressed by this, not because 3 of them met with misfortune, but because six of them did not.

See, the king had 12 brothers, who all had convenient accidents, allowing him to become king. So he's pissed off by his sons' lack of work ethic. After getting Jerkass brother (named: Septimus, which suggests that he's the 7th, and that the King has absolutely no imagination) to kill one of the other 4 right there in the throne room, he gets down to business.

Kingship in Stormhold is apparently determined not by crown, but by a ruby necklace. He takes off the necklace and somehow causes the ruby to drain of color. He then magically fires the necklace into space, where it goes out, hits something, and falls back down. Naturally rather than falling somewhere on Earth, it falls within the boundaries of Stormhold. He says that whatever male heir finds the necklace and restores color to the ruby will be king. Then he dies.

How is the King able to do this; is he a wizard or something? I mean, I know this is a magical world, but as we see, there is a pretty clear delineation between the people who know magic and the people who don't. Sure, it makes sense that if you're King of a land where there's magic, you should probably know some. But none of the Princes wield magic, and they're trying to become King. Wouldn't it make sense if they knew some magic?

BTW, if you're wondering where this plot is going, you really need to get out more. It's going exactly and only where you think it's going. Since we already know Tristan (son of the princess, remember) is going to find the ruby and become King, you might wonder: what is the point of having these other Princes around?

There isn't one; at all. This plot is going absolutely nowhere; it will mean precisely nothing to the overall story. This wart was likely introduced by the book, though I can't imagine why it would have existed there either since they likely share the same basic story outline.

Back with Tristan and Victoria having their picnic, they can see the necklace falling, thinking it is a falling star. Because her actual boyfriend Humphery is going to get Victoria a ring from somewhat far away, Tristan says he'll get her the falling star. She then says that she'll marry him if he can get it within the week.

At this point, we cut to 3 old witches. Because witches always come in threes. Being witches, naturally they'll be our Big Bads for this movie. They see the falling star, and they want it. They don't have a Babylon candle (name drop. This will be important later), so they have to use slower means of travel. So one of them, Lamia (played by a thoroughly wasted Michelle Pfeiffer) eats a glowing thing and de-ages to become young. She then sets out to find the star.

This is about the only interesting thing that's happened thus far.

Cut to Tristan trying to get past the guard. He almost succeeds with his father's gimmick of running past when the guard's back is turned, but somehow the old guard has taken a level in badass over the last 18 years. He uses some martial arts moves to cow Tristan and send him packing.

Awesome though this scene is, it opens up a major plot hole. For the sake of the movie, I might be willing to believe that you could not get over the wall, that there was some magical field or something preventing it. I'd even be willing to buy that there was magic that would make it so that you didn't even think of climbing over it. I wouldn't be willing to buy any of this without the movie actually explaining it, but I could see how others might.

Except that, in the guard's gymnastic efforts, he actually jumps over the wall. This instantly shatters any of the previous rationalizations about the nature of Stormhold. The break is not a special portal; Stormhold is simply there, behind the wall. There isn't a magic field preventing people from climbing over the wall. There is no explanation that works, except to say that everyone who wants to go over the wall but is turned away by the guard involved is a blithering idiot.

When Tristan gets back home, he talks to his father about the wall. The guard made mention of the fact that Dunstan went beyond the wall in his youth, so Tristan asks him about it. Here, Dunstan reveals that Tristan's mother is on the other side. He also gives Tristan a scroll from his mother, which was addressed to Tristan. Why Dunstan waits 18 years to deliver his mail is not explained.

Dunstan also gives Tristan the other artifacts he acquired: the flower and the slave cord fragment that he cut from the woman's ankle. Naturally, both of these will be important later.

Rolled up in the scroll is a Babylon candle; I told you it'd be important later. Apparently, if you light one, it'll take you to the location you're thinking about. These are considered quite rare, since the witches (magical experts) don't have a ready stock of them lying around. How exactly did a slave happen to come across one? I know she's a witch's slave, but that make it even more unlikely, as the witch would notice the disappearance of such a valuable artifact.

Tristan lights up the candle and teleports into Stormhold.