Jan 2008 23

Matthew Vaughn’s follow up to the excellent Layer Cake is a solid fantasy adventure that has gotten better on subsequent viewings.
Tristan (Charlie Cox) live in the village of Wall that sits on the edge of the fantastical world of Stormhold which he has to cross into to find a shooting star to buy the love of the girl of the village. Tristan discovers that his mother is actually from Stormhold and was given a Babylon candle that has the power to transport him to whatever he sets his mind to. Upon arriving at the site of the fallen star, he discovers that it is a woman named Yvaine (pronounced vain), and that she was knocked out of the sky by a necklace hurdling through space.
The necklace was sent into motion as a challenge for the surviving sons of the dying king of Stormhold to prove who the aire to the throne is. The murderous brothers begin to hunt for the necklace while a group of witches led by Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) are trying to find Yvaine so they can cut out her heart to make them look young again. Many people are on the hunt for Yvaine while Tristan is just trying to get her out of Stormhold and that is where are adventure begins.
All of these groups’ paths cross throughout the story with backstabbing and murder along the way. There are interesting characters throughout and the film takes us all around the world of Stormhold. I will not spoil the plot as it is fun and full of twists and turns; it just gets a bit to wrapped up in plot by the end which might drag the film for some.
The cast is full of stars and they all do very good work. Michelle Pfeiffer is great as the witch on the hunt. Just having fun in the part and playing it delightfully wicked she makes a welcome return from the rock that she had been hiding under for the past few years. Robert DeNiro turns up in an odd but funny role as Captain Shakespeare, a lightning catching air pirate, that help Tristan and Yvaine along there path home. Charlie Cox is goofy and funny as Tristan doing an ample job as the lead but Claire Danes out shines him, pun totally intended, on most occasions when they are working together. Ricky Gervais is hilarious in a small bit part and I can’t wait to see him in a lead of his own movie sometime soon. All of the dead brothers (don’t worry I’m not spoiling anything) are also great and add good bits of humor throughout. Peter O’Toole is also very good in his brief appearance as the King of Stormhold.
The movie works really well for most of the film, but once we get into the third act there are too many plot points to tie up and the movie plods a little to the finish. It doesn’t ruin the film by any means, but it hurts it enough that it is worth mentioning. The effects are very good through out and there are some really great ideas as well, that make the film feel fresh and interesting from other fantasy films. Expect a fun and enjoyable ride and you will enjoy this film, just don’t expect the next Princess Bride, like some people try to say this film is, because it falls far short of being any where near the same pedigree as that.


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