Just got back from seeing an advance preview of Stardust and oh my goodness people, it is really, really good. FULL DISCLOSURE: I like the works of Neil Gaiman quite a lot. Such works include the multi-award-winning novel American Gods, the epic Sandman comic book series, the brilliant children's book Coraline, and of course, the novel Stardust with illustrations by Charles Vess. I also like Charles Vess, particularly his work with Gaiman on the third chapter of the original Books of Magic series and a few issues of the aforementioned Sandman. I, however, have never read Stardust (for shame!) so I went in completely blind, just looking forward to enjoying it.
The first ten or so minutes didn't look very promising. The introduction to the story seemed fairly pedestrian and trite, and I was worried that I'd be let down by the rest of the movie. But luckily, it was not the case. By the time the title credit fell from the screen, the movie picked up considerably and we were off. The dialogue was fresh and bright, and the story is enchanting. Like many Neil Gaiman stories, the basic plot - person finds mystical world living just beyond his own - is simple, but there are twists and turns to keep one entertained the entire time. Sky pirates, evil witches, seven...err, four rival brothers, and one young man's quest for love. It's the stuff that great fantasy is made from.
The actors are well-cast, particularly the leads: Charlie Cox is wonderful as Tristan, and Clare Danes is stellar as Yvaine. I would have a hard time imagining any other actors in the roles. As for supporting cast? Please. Michelle Pfeiffer, magnificently evil; Robert DeNiro, menacing and glorious; Mark Strong . Throw in David Kelley, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, Peter O'Toole, and Ricky Gervais as himself (because when is he not himself?) and you have a delightful production.
The special effects are lovely; rarely overdone, they add the perfect touch to make the whole experience enchanting. I would say it was easily one of the best movies I've seen this year. When this movie is in full release, run, do not walk to the box office. I do not think you will be disappointed.