“Stardust” is a slight and amusing amalgam of a movie, beautifully cast and richly garnished with comic/bizarre (or bizarrely comic) elements and props from a warehouse where bits of Victoriana are jumbled promiscuously together with bizarre inventions and devices from Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. It has something of the same skewed fairy-tale sensibility of “The Princess Bride”, and features a plot involving (in no particular order) a captive princess under the spell of a gypsy witch, a star fallen out of the heavens, a callow young man who loves above his station, a gloriously wicked witch with a penchant for turning humans into livestock and vice versa, and a dying king whose throne will go to whoever is the last of his sons left standing after killing the others. This magical kingdom is just on the other side of a tall stone wall from a perfectly ordinary village in rural 19th century Britain. Oh, and there is a lightening-hunting pirate ship with a captain named Shakespeare, whose swash-buckling has a distinct swish about it, since he has a not-terribly-well-concealed fondness for wearing lacy underwear. Robert DeNiro obviously had a splendid time with that character, and Michelle Pfeiffer as the endlessly inventive but constantly frustrated witch is an absolute hoot. Clair Danes shines (literally) as the fallen star, whom the initially bumbling country boy-hero Tristan (Charlie Cox) comes to realize is the one that he really loves.

All in all, an enjoyable diversion, although oriented a little more towards the adult end of the “suitable for family viewing” scale. Extras are just sufficiently lavish for fans, but not so much that they run onto another disc. “The Making of” feature was about the most interesting of the lot, as it included extensive input from writer Neal Gaimon – who appears to have had just as much fun envisioning the story, writing it and then seeing a movie made out of his imaginings as did any of the actors featured.

Stardust is available December 18th from Amazon.com and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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