Film / Stardust

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stardust_xlg_6452.jpg

Stardust is a 2007 film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's book of the same name. While certain liberties were taken, it remains a relatively faithful adaptation. When a star falls from the sky, Tristan Thorn sets out to find a fallen star for Victoria the girl he's in love with, only to find that the "star" is a human woman named Yvaine... and that three evil witches want to capture her. Yvaine is also being chased by heirs to the throne of the magical kingdom of Stormhold who seek Yvaine's ruby necklace.

With an All-Star Cast comprised of Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Mark Strong, the film is said to remind viewers of The Princess Bride. Although the movie contains a different ending from the book, it's successful at playing straight many of the often clichéd fantasy elements in an intelligent and entertaining way.

Stardust contains examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love: Tristan starts out trying to force Yvaine to come back to England with him to show her to Victoria, then the two subsequently fall in love. Of course, by that point Yvaine isn't Tristan's captive and she's going with him as a favour to a friend. Yvaine gives us this gem when Tristan first tries to convince her to come with him:
    Yvaine: But of course! Nothing says "romance" like the gift of a kidnapped injured woman! I'm not going anywhere with you!
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie goes in a different direction from the book, introduces numerous changes in both the plot and the characters. However, it's not a bad story by any means.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the book, the eldest of the Lilim has black hair and wears red. In the movie, Lamia has blonde hair and wears green.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Lightning Pirates get a brief mention in the book, but have a significant subplot in the movie.
  • Adaptational Badass: Tristan learns to sword fight in the movie, the witches use more combat-oriented spells, and Septimus was a poison master in the book, while in the movie, his preferred weapon is a knife (using poison only once), and he fights with blades.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Septimus and Lamia were both villains in the book, but are more villianous in the movie: Septimus kills more people and is more ruthless, while Lamia is considerably more sadistic.
    • Victoria goes from Spoiled Sweet in the book to a Spoiled Brat (or a Rich Bitch).
  • Adorkable: Tristan begins the movie a hapless shopboy, head over heels for the village Rich Bitch (who humors him out of pity). He earnestly sets out on his adventure to prove his love for her, and even after Taking a Level in Badass, remains sweet, forthright, and good-natured.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Lamia. Where the book played it straight, it is played with in the film: imagine the scene in the castle of the witches, after Lamia's sisters die, and how the film would have ended if she truly were regretting it.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Bernard is ecstatic when he gets to help Yvaine undress for her bath. However subverted when Tristan and Yvaine admit their love and presumably sleep together; one of the ghost!princes tells the others to come and watch, but they're not interested.
  • Animorphism:
    • Lamia stops by a goatherd's hut and offers to buy his goat. When Bernard points out that one goat isn't strong enough to pull her cart, she quips, "Hmm. You're quite right," turns Bernard into another goat, and takes them both. The hapless goatherd gets dragged along by the villains for most of the rest of the film.
    • Ditchwater Sal similarly turns Tristan into a mouse for the journey to Wall Market, keeping her Exact Words by changing him back when they arrive.
  • Author Appeal: The director of the movie, Matthew Vaughn, liked the original story so much that he thought it could be a movie a lot like The Princess Bride.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Tristan gets the throne and his queen while his mother, father, and Capt. Shakespeare look on approvingly.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Both instances of Animorphism are applied by witches to unwilling subjects: Lamia turns Bernard into a goat, and Ditchwater Sal turns Tristan into a mouse.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: The dead princes can't pass on until a new King of Stormhold is chosen. They're understandably unhappy about all of them dying before getting crowned—luckily for them, they have a long-lost nephew in Tristan.
  • Badass Grandpa: The old man guarding the Wall apparently has had a lot of time to practice (having been there for 80 years).
  • The Beard: Victoria may be one to Humphrey, who's seen winking at Shakespeare during the wedding.
  • Berserk Button: You really shouldn't betray Septimus, or mock him for that matter. To be fair, Ferdy can't make clear he isn't trying to mock Septimus, given that he was cursed by Lamia so that he can only communicate with chicken sounds.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Lamia and her sisters are a Big Bad Triumvirate, plus the various competing princes. By the end, though, Lamia is the last villain standing, so she probably takes precedence as the Big Bad.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Lamia gives a Skyward Scream when Tristan and Yvaine escape with a Babylon candle and her knife instead lodges in the wall of the inn.
    • Tristan does the same thing later on when he hears from the gate guard that Yvaine was captured by Lamia.
  • Black Comedy: The scene where the princes drink a toast to their quest for the ruby, after which Tertius and the Bishop drop dead from poisoning.
  • Blue Blood: When Lamia cuts Primus's throat in the bath, he bleeds blue.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lamia and her sisters; Lamia is the blonde.
  • Blunt "Yes": The opening exchange between Dunstan and the Wall Keeper.
    Guard: I'm charged with guarding a portal to another world, and you're asking me to just let you through?!
    Dunstan: [as-a-matter-of-factly] Yes. Because, let's be honest, it's a field. Look, do you see another world out there? No, you see a field. Do you see anything non-human? No. And you know why? Because it's a field!
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Tristan says he would do the following for Victoria: bring her back her weight in gold, find a diamond the size of her hand, and chop off a polar bear's head. The last one acts as a Moment Killer.
  • Broken Aesop: You don't have to just be a shop boy, you can go out and have adventures and be a boy momentarily working in a shop! Don't worry if you're not born special! Except Tristan is the son of a magical princess.
  • The Bully: Humphrey. Maybe Septimus too.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Bernard. First he gets kidnapped by Lamia, who turns him into a goat to drive her cart, then he gets put into a girl's body, almost trapped in a burning inn, kidnapped and kicked around by Septimus, before finally making an appearance at the end sequence looking surprisingly happy for all he's been through—probably because everybody who did those things to him had died horribly and the people who were nice to him just became King and Queen. Also, he dies in the book, so he's probably thankful for living at all, and according to the DVD commentary he was found by Captain Shakespeare and joined his crew.
  • Camp Gay: Captain Shakespeare of the Caspartine, but only in the privacy of his cabin. He puts on an act for his crew, though they saw through it long ago.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Lamia. Well, more "Cast from Youth," as each spell she uses drains a little bit of the good looks she got from eating the last of the previous star. This leads to a funny scene where she repeatedly tries to use magic to undo signs of age in one spot on her body only for it to cause signs of age to appear on another spot.
  • Celestial Body: Yvaine is a star.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Loads and loads—the glass flower, the silver chain, the Babylon candle, the tube of lightning, the spell Lamia casts on Ditchwater Sal, and Tristan's mother.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Pirate Crew. When facing Septimus's men they bow, and while their opponents do the same out of courtesy, they take the chance to get the first strike.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The elderly Wall guard administers one to Tristan.
  • Dance of Romance: Tristan and Yvaine's dance on the ship where Yvaine starts glowing as she's realizing her feelings for him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tristan and Yvaine.
  • Death by Adaptation: Lamia actually survives the book.
  • Decoy Protagonist:
    • An inversion, a Decoy Villain. Septimus seems like he should become a major problem for the heroes. Not only is he actually Tristan's uncle, but the only time he actually meets the two main characters is in the film's climax, just in time to help fight the Big Bads and get killed.
    • And before, Secundus—he gets a great entrance, only to be pushed a minute later from the window.
    • Played straight with Tristan's father at the beginning—although he is important. To get the real protagonist, he and Una go into the back room and have fun...
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You'll always be our Captain, Captain."
  • Destination Defenestration: Secundus's fate at the hands of Septimus during the King on His Deathbed scene—much to their father's delight.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Yvaine can only shine bright enough to destroy Lamia utterly when she is feeling true love for Tristan after he comes to rescue her. Lampshaded:
    Tristan: Couldn't you have done that earlier?
  • Enemy Mine: Sort of. At the end of the film we have a hero/villain team-up (between Tristan and Septimus) to take down a more dangerous villain (Lamia), but the two characters weren't enemies beforehand—in fact, they'd never met (though Septimus did beat up Tristan's mentor, Captain Shakespeare). Septimus lampshades it nonetheless — he points out while neither of them can trust the other, neither do they have much choice but to work together.
  • Engagement Challenge: From Victoria to Tristan. As Yvaine points out, this only shows that Victoria is a False Soulmate.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Una disappeared for years and is presumed dead, and Septimus is known to have killed several of his older brothers, but he is still deeply offended that everyone assumes he must have killed Una as well. As he points out, he would have no reason to kill her, given that Stormhold is an Heir Club for Men—as a daughter she wasn't a competitor in the line of succession anyway.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: The 98-year-old Irish shepherd guarding The Wall is somehow proficient in Shaolin Kung Fu in spite of living in 19th- to early 20th-century England all his life.
  • Evil Prince: Septimus, and presumably most of his brothers, though none of them get a chance to perform evil acts onscreen. It's a tradition in Stormhold that the princes be evil—they're encouraged to kill each other off, proving that the survivor will be a strong king. Primus is an aversion, and the bishop supports him as the first potential benevolent ruler, but though he takes precautions against Septimus's assassination attempts, he's killed anyway when he happens to get in Lamia's way.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Toward the climax, Septimus vs Lamia.
  • Exact Words: Ditchwater Sal promises Tristan that she'll get him to Wall Market, leaving him there in the exact condition he is at that moment. She never said anything about his condition during the journey.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Subverted twice, then played straight—when Lamia is controlling Septimus's dead body via Voodoo Doll and making it fight Tristan, he tries to take it out by dropping a chandelier on it, but severs the wrong rope twice before he finds the right one. When he does, he also uses the rope to lift himself up to Lamia's balcony before she can cut out Yvaine's heart.
  • False Soulmate: Tristan wholeheartedly believes he and Victoria are meant for each other. He learns better over the course of the film.
  • Funny Background Event: After he's changed into a woman, Bernard spends most of his screentime staring at himself or sneaking looks at Yvaine.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: After Tristan finds the ruby, he sets the souls of the seven princes free. While six of them become white spirits and float upwards (presumably to Heaven), Septimus, the most evil of the brothers, becomes a red spirit, and heads downwards to... that other place.
  • Foreshadowing: The mistake that leads to Yvaine and Tristan meeting the lightning pirates foreshadows that two people can use the candle to travel into the heavens with the rest of the stars, as the two of them do in the end.
  • Gag Boobs: Lamia's breasts suddenly deflate after she uses too much magic.
  • Game Between Heirs: Before he dies, the king of Stormhold announces that his heir will be the one who manages to obtain the ruby necklace he threw into the sky. But it all gets complicated when it crashes onto Yvaine's star and falls to Earth...
  • Gender Bender: Bernard, the goatherd chap, gets this treatment as part of Lamia's ruse to lure Yvaine into a trap. At least Lamia was good enough to give him a decent rack. He keeps his deep male voice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The director even admitted that he wanted to create a movie for kids that had a heavy dose of Parental Bonus. For example, this scene with Primus talking to Yvaine:
    Primus: [sitting in a bathtub] ... and it is the largest in all of Stormhold—[flicks water with a smile]—so they say.
    Yvaine: Um—how nice for you.
  • Greek Chorus: The dead princes, Barred from the Afterlife, have nothing better to do than follow their brothers around and comment on the action to each other.
  • Happily Ever After: Tristan and Yvaine are crowned King and Queen and rule for a long time before finally returning to Yvaine's home.
  • A Head at Each End: A miniature elephant with heads at both ends is seen in a cage when Dunstan makes his visit to the market. When Lamia calls Ferdy a "two-faced dog," he takes no offense and merely offers to sell her one.
    Ferdy the Fence: I can get you one of them. Very good guard dogs; they can watch the front door and the back door at the same time.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: In the movie, during the final Boss Battle, Lamia hurls spells and makes rows of windows dramatically explode one after the other, but seems persistently unable to hit Tristan or Yvaine who are running away in a straight line, staying just in front of the explosions. They don't even get a scratch from the flying shards. Given that she needs to cut out Yvaine's heart and eat it, she's likely not trying to hit them, she's just terrorizing them For the Evulz and herding them back towards her.
  • Heroic Fantasy: Set in a high magic world but the stakes aren't high enough to qualify as High Fantasy, and emphasis is on the adventures of the characters rather than a battle of good vs evil.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Captain Shakespeare puts on a gruff facade, but has carefully arranged matters so that he doesn't need to engage in much actual violence. When he meets Tristan and Yvaine, he's delighted to be able to confide in them, since they aren't from Stormhold and don't know or care about his fearsome reputation. He's also a not-so-secret Camp Gay and Crossdresser.
  • High Dive Escape: Septimus's escape from Captain Shakespeare's ship when cornered by the crew is to crash through the window and jump into the water.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: During the Awesome Moment of Crowning at the end, Captain Shakespeare (a closet Camp Gay) and Humphrey (himself getting married to Victoria, and not having been implied to be gay) share a look, with Victoria looking rather confused. Meanwhile, Tristan's parents (who only met once, on the night of his conception) are reunited.
  • Humanity Ensues: Billy the goat is transformed into a human to play the part of an innkeeper in Lamia's trap. He still acts like a goat, bleating and chewing on people's clothing. He reverts to his goat shape when the unicorn kills him.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The witch sisters. We only see what Lamia's youthful self looks like, but they all intend to restore their youth and beauty.
  • Important Haircut: Captain Shakespeare cuts Tristan's hair during the Training Montage. Being a fantasy realm, his hair somehow ends up even longer, befitting his new look and level in badass.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The wall on the border of the magical land is only chest high, yet an old man guards a gap in it—but then, who's to say you'd end up in the same place if you climbed over it than if you went through the gap?
  • Interspecies Romance: Stars and humans. In the book, this means they can't have offspring. In the movie, they have no problem with this.
  • Ironic Echo: "What's it to be? Heads or tails?" When Lamia initially meets Ditchwater Sal, the latter offers her half of a rotisserie rabbit with this line. When they next cross paths, it's a Pre-Mortem One-Liner—Lamia blasts off Sal's head.
  • It's All About Me: What Victoria seems to think, even after Tristan flat out tells her to "get over herself."
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: The princely ghosts, who have the clothes (or lack thereof, for Primus who died in his bath) and injuries (burns, smashing, axe in head) they had at death. Primus can be seen appropriating the tails of his brothers' coats or cloaks to cover himself in some scenes.
  • Jerk Jock: Humphrey gets a line that implies he's been bullying Tristan since their school days—specifically that he whupped him in their fencing lessons.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: At the end, Lamia nearly kills Tristan and Yvaine, but stops when she sees her sisters' bodies, and then lets them go, as immortality means nothing without them. When they leave, she shuts the door, and reveals that she was kidding, to lure Yvaine into a sense of security (happy stars give more years).
  • King on His Deathbed: The king of Stormhold gets a scene like this shortly before his passing, where he tells his four remaining sons the conditions for getting the throne.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Lamia specializes in offensive enchantments, and dresses to the nines as soon as she restores her youth.
  • Large Ham: Robert De Niro as the lovable Captain Shakespeare. Mark Strong and Michelle Pfeiffer also ham up their roles as Septimus and Lamia.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Inverted. Yvaine's hair is down at first but she and Tristan don't properly begin to fall in love until she starts wearing it up.
  • Lighter and Softer: The book is a bit darker and more adult, with explicit sex and violence. The movie is a bit more tongue-in-cheek, emphasising some of the comedy and relying more on Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Una to the princes of Stormhold. Septimus recognizes her before he gets killed off. Tristan is also one, as her son.
  • Macho Camp: Captain Shakespeare may be Camp Gay in a Transparent Closet, but he's still a pirate captain with a not-entirely-undeserved fearsome reputation.
  • Made a Slave: Twice, to poor Una. How she was lost to the royal family of Stormhold is unknown, but she ends up enslaved to a witch, only to be freed when the witch dies. Unfortunately, the witch is killed by a more badass witch, who immediately takes possession of her magical chain.
  • Magical Underpinnings of Reality: On this side of the Wall, a star is a giant ball of gas and a falling star is a lump of rock and metal, but on the other side of the Wall stars are immortal women who float in the sky and shine at night (unless someone hits them and knocks them down). A fallen star crossing the Wall turns into a lump of rock and metal.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Bernard checks him/herself(?) out after Lamia transforms him into a girl. Though his sex is changed, Lamia didn't do as good a job with transforming his voice, so he replies with a masculine voice when he tries to serve poisoned wine to Tristan in the stable.
  • Match Cut: After the scene where Septimus kills his soothsayer for being a traitor, he asks his men, "So, do we continue west?" He then throws his runes into the air. One of them flies at the camera and as it flips, is used to transition to Lamia standing on the top of a cliff using her runes.
  • Meaningful Echo: What do stars do best? They shine.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The children of the Lord of Stormhold, Primus, Secundus, ... and so on. Their only sister Una counts as well, "Una" meaning "single" or "one."
    • The witches are named after demons from Greek mythology said in some myths to be daughters of Hecate, the goddess of witches.
  • The Moon Is Always Full: The film takes place over the course of a week, and yet the moon is full in every nighttime scene from beginning to end.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Who knew traveling scenes could be so dramatic? Primus in his carriage, Septimus on his horse, and even Lamia in her little goat-pulled cart all get sweeping helicopter shots with bombastic music. So does the Caspartine, but as an airship, it's already awesome.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The witches were collectively known as the Lilim in the book. In the film their roles are expanded to become Lamia, Mormo and Empusa.
  • Neutral Female: During the final confrontation in the witches' lair, Una is utterly useless to the point where Tristan tells her to go outside, and she simply says "Okay" and runs out. She would just get in the way and she knows it.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In an aversion of Trailers Always Spoil, the exact nature of Robert De Niro's role as Captain Shakespeare was not spoiled by trailers, making The Reveal in the movie a total surprise.
  • Now What?: One of the seven brothers says this once Septimus, the last of them, dies. They were supposed to acquire a ruby from their father, which would make the winner the new king and release the ghosts, but with all seven deadů Thankfully, Tristan, being Una's son, turns out to be eligible and they're able to pass on.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: The children of the King of Stormhold, Primus, Secundus, ... and so on. They also each have the appropriate Roman numeral as a clothing motif, which is how Tristan identifies Septimus when the two end up at Lamia's hideout.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Michelle Pfeiffer's English accent often slips and sometimes completely vanishes.
  • Oop North: Ditchwater Sal's voice.
  • People Puppets: Of the corpse kind, via Voodoo Doll. Septimus is animated by one of the witches to engage in a sword fight with the protagonist.
  • Pet the Dog: Although Victoria is the local Alpha Bitch, she does still have a midnight picnic with Tristan and treats him cordially.
  • Phosphor-Essence: Yvaine glows more brightly the happier she is.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Captain Shakespeare's Lightning Pirates don't actually pirate per se, but make a solid living poaching lightning from thunderstorms, so they may be merely "The Pirates Who Do Something Else." The career paths of Shakespeare and crew still offer plenty of opportunities to evade the law (Lightning-Marshalls at that), to amass fortunes on the black market, and for combat badassery in the wild blue yonder, so their Pirate work resumes are still quite aglow. It's also a point that this is by design: Shakespeare has a very fearsome reputation but in reality he hates fighting and bloodshed. His crew just pretends he's a terrifying rogue while knowing the truth since they love the guy.
  • The Power of Love: In the movie's ending, anyway. Eating the heart of a star bestows long life, but having one give her heart to you by falling in love works just as well.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Presumably the book's Tristran was changed to the movie's Tristan because the latter is simply easier to say. The movie is a bit Lighter and Softer than the book, eliminating most of the sex to innuendos and trimming down the violence. Neil Gaiman called the movie and book two different interpretations of the same story.
  • Prophecy Twist: Everyone knows that possessing the heart of a star is the key to living forever. Turns out it works just as well metaphorically as literally.
  • Protective Charm: The glass flower that Dunstan purchases from the witch's stall with a kiss is left in Tristan's baby basket along with him. It provides total protection from a witch's harmful magic, preventing Ditchwater Sal from applying her Baleful Polymorph until he trades it back to her, and forcing Lamia to attack him with thrown objects and Septimus's animated dead body instead.
  • Reality Changing Miniature: Lamia is able to use a Voodoo Doll to kill Septimus and then puppet his corpse to fight Tristan.
  • Romantic False Lead: Victoria is only Tristan's love interest as a means to set him on his quest; with a nudge from Captain Shakespeare, he figures out his true feelings in short order.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: It turns out Captain Shakespeare's entire crew is this, regarding his cross-dressing.
    Old Pirate: It's alright, Captain! We always knew you was a whoopsy! [other pirates shove him to the back of the group]
  • Shout-Out: In the montage of Tristan and Yvaine's time on Captain Shakepeare's ship, there's one scene where she plays the piano with the Captain. A reference to her previous piano-playing role in Little Women?
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Septimus and his men ambush Captain Shakespeare's boat, in a massive fight, to the tune of the Can-Can, which is playing on Shakespeare's gramophone.
  • Sky Pirate: Captain Shakespeare and his crew have the look, though their illegal activities consist of less piracy (because Shakespeare abhors violence) and more poaching of lightning during storms.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Tristran, changing the Bittersweet Ending of the original into a genuinely Happy Ending. Also, Bernard the goatherd.
  • Spoiled Brat: Victoria. In the original book, she was actually Spoiled Sweet, whereas here her only sweetness is that she's nice to Tristan out of pity, and stops being nice the minute she actually expects something of him. Otherwise, she only thinks of herself.
  • Spotting the Thread: Septimus suspects that his soothsayer is not being honest, in spite of the guy's claims that he's following what his runes tell him. To test his loyalty, Septimus promptly asks the soothsayer some questions about himself that he knows are true. He sees that the runes land with the symbols facing up if the answer is yes. Then he asks if begging or pleading has ever convinced him to spare a traitor, something he knows is not true. This causes him to notice that the runes land with the symbols facing down if the answer is "no". Septimus then has the soothsayer throw the runes as high as he can. While they're still in the air, he asks, "Do you work for my brother?" The soothsayer's face turns to shock as the runes land with the symbols facing up. When they stop moving, Septimus fatally stabs his treacherous soothsayer through the heart.
    Septimus: So, do we continue west?
  • Stars Are Souls: When Tristan is old (Yvaine remains eternally youthful), they use the Babylon Candle to return to Yvaine's home, and Tristan becomes a star along with her.
  • Succession Crisis: It's apparently a tradition of Stormhold's royal family for the last male heir standing to be crowned King regardless of birth order—resulting in candidates killing each other off. The king's seven sons partook in this, but not fully; three are left when their father changes the rules and immediately dies.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Una doesn't seem to have aged much in at least twenty years—though spending most of her time transformed into a bird during those years might have halted the ageing process.
  • Take a Third Option: An accidental example. Tristan lights the Babylon Candle and tells Yvaine to "think of home". She ends up thinking of her home, which is the sky. And Tristen thinks of his home in Wall. The result is that they end up in the clouds. During a thunderstorm.
  • Terrible Trio: The three witches: Lamia, Mormo, and Empusa.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Lamia, Mormo and Empusa are the names of various vampiric creatures in Greek mythology.
    • The members of the royal family are all named after numbers in some way.
  • This Is the Part Where...: By Captain Shakespeare: "This is the part where you tell me who you are and why you're up here."
  • Threshold Guardians: The Wall Guard, both figuratively and literally. Turns out rather atypically since he actually prevents Tristan from crossing, so Tristan has to get around him with his dad's help.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Septimus effectively lobs a sword to kill Empusa.
  • Title Drop: Tristan brings Victoria a lock of Yvaine's hair, which has turned into stardust after crossing the wall. This does not happen in the book.
  • Training Montage: Tristan gets a level in badass surgically injected into him by The Captain.
  • True Blue Femininity: Yvaine chooses a blue gown when she has the pick of Captain Shakespeare's wardrobe. Una also wears a blue dress.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After discussing that his brothers will try to kill each other for the throne, Secundus doesn't see anything suspicious about his father asking him to stand with his back to his siblings, next to a large open window. Septimus takes advantage of this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tristan goes from "a boy who works in a shop" to a confident, sword-wielding adventurer, and later King of Stormhold. Captain Shakespeare's Training Montage provides a lot of the growth.
  • Transparent Closet: The ship's crew always knew their captain was gay.
  • Tsundere: Yvaine is actually a Type B. She is initially hostile to Tristan for understandable reasons—being knocked out of the sky, chained up and forced to walk so many miles. She calms down pretty soon and warms to him. When she fears he's going to choose Victoria instead, she simply becomes sad rather than angry.
  • Unexpected Successor: Tristan being the last remaining male heir to the royal line and the one who ends up becoming king is a complete surprise to him (and his uncles, who'd previously killed each other off to seize the throne).
  • Vain Sorceress: Lamia and her sisters' motivation—eating the heart of a star will restore their youth and beauty.
  • Villains Never Lie: Witches lie all the time, but if they actually give their word they seem to generally keep it. Lamia promised not to harm Ditchwater Sal during their first meeting, and lets Sal live despite her rage at Sal slipping her a Lambas Grass mickey (though all bets are off the second time they meet), while Sal herself does keep her end of the bargain with Tristan and delivers him to the Wall unharmed (though the manner in which she does so is kind of dickish).
  • Visual Pun: When Primus is killed, his blood is literally blue.
  • Voodoo Doll: Lamia uses a simple doll of clay to break two of Septimus's limbs—and when she tosses it into a fountain, he floats up into the air and drowns. She later pulls it back out and animates his body with it.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Primus, considering he's murdered while in the bath—and ghosts stay the way they were when they died.
  • Weapon Wields You: At the end, the witch Lamia controls Septimus's body, however she only bothers with animating the sword (and hands/arms), letting the rest of his body dangle behind it. His ghost cringes as he watches his former body get abused in such a way.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The unicorn that comes to help Yvaine is last seen being trapped in Lamia's fire in the inn before Tristan and Yvaine escape. There's no sign of a body when Septimus's men find the area, so it either burned to death or escaped when Lamia ended the spell.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Parodied to a wacky extent with the Sky Pirate crew. Hilariously subverted with Shakespeare.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Played with. Septimus, the youngest prince, is the last heir left standing—because he murdered most of the others. But in a meta sense, he is the prince that has the most screen time and plot relevance.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Stardust