Bourne & Stardust

[asa left]B000WZAE1I[/asa] I saw two movies this weekend, two very different movies. Stardust, and the Bourne Ultimatum. I don’t know what it says about me that I really liked both these movies, but I did.

[asa right]B000VWYJ86[/asa] Stardust is a classier, less campy The Princess Bride. I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that, because it is the obvious comparison. I really like The Princess Bride, but I love it for its humor and quirky dialog. And for Mandy Patinkin.

“Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. “

Stardust is lovingly and carefully told. There are moments of humor — Robert DeNiro provides the best ones, which I won’t give away — but mostly this is the story of a quest. A young man goes into a magical kingdom to retrieve something in order to prove himself to the girl he loves. Or he thinks he loves. There are witches and spells and enchanted princesses, evil kings (a truly fine performance by Peter O’Toole) and even more evil princes, a gallery of ghosts, a flying pirate ship. And that’s before the credits.

No, no. I’m kidding.

All in all, Stardust is a really fine way to spend two hours when you need to be whisked away from your daily work and troubles.

If you are feeling stressed or over burdened, you might want to save Bourne Ultimatum until you’re back on your feet. It takes off at high speed and rarely pauses so you can catch your breath. There is one big problem with the backstory, but they were also clearly setting up another sequel and I’m willing to give them time to straighten that out. This is a firecracker of a movie, perfectly edited. I don’t know what they did differently in the fight scenes, but to me at least they seemed to be on a new level of realism as far as physical punishment. Of course there is all kinds of out-of-this-world weapons play; I’m talking about hand-to-hand confrontations.

I think Matt Damon is a truly gifted actor, better with every movie — although I will say that his performance in All the Pretty Horses was so subtle and still emotive that it will probably always stand out for me. I know a lot of people disliked that movie but I admire it and rewatch it every now and then.

Joan Allen is an excellent and under-valued actor of the first order, so my hope is that if there is a fourth movie — pretty much a foregone conclusion, given the box office bonanza these movies have been — that Joan Allen comes along for the ride.

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10 Replies to “Bourne & Stardust”

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing Stardust. My hubby read the novel and enjoyed it. On a movie side note, I saw Disturbia on DVD this weekend and loved it! It’s kind of an homage to Rear Window. Great suspense and funny moments.

  2. I really enjoyed Bourne Ultimatum. I definitely thought it was better than the previous 2 movies. I think part of it is because the characters become more complex as the movies go along.

    And can you believe that car chase when he was in the police vehicle!? It was just crazy.

    I had wondered about Stardust. It is good to hear your review of it.

  3. I enjoy all of Matt Damon’s movies. I can’t wait to see The Bourne Ultimatum. Having read the series, even the one done after Ludlum’s death, I think the film makers have done a great job creating a story that stays true to the original premise – a spy/operative that has amnesia and the resulting reprecussions.

    You are the second reliable source that has said good things about “Stardust” and to make the comparison to “Princess Bride”. Looking forward to this movie too.

  4. Princess Bride – I love that movie. I am not very good at watching movies more than once, but I have watched Princess Bride several times. It never fails to please and lift my spirits. So I’ll make a note to watch out for Stardust.

    On a totally different subject, I saw an interview with Daniel Day Lewis on tv last night. He just seems to improve with age all round. He had a beard showing some definite grey but I was still drawn to his eyes. And he just has this bearing and presence. I do tend to think of him as Nathaniel…..

  5. I very seldom go to the movies, but Stardust and Bourne Ultimatum were on my to-be-seen list. I am so glad you mentioned exactly the two with a good review. I will be busy over the weekend. Thanks.

  6. Remember “R.O.U.S.s” and “inconceivable” and “there’s a great shortage of perfect breasts in the world. Twould be a shame to spoil yours”.

    I loved that movie too and also Willow if you remember that.

    Thanks for the tip on Stardust. I’m pleased to say it is coming to Hong Kong.

  7. Ooooh, Willow. That’s on my list of great fantasy type films. Along with Time Bandits and a few others.

    1. Willow! I own that movie and love it! It is the perfect fantasy; it has all the elements you need.

  8. Bourne Ultimatum was a really good movie. I think Matt Damon does such a good job, I hope he comes back for a number 4. I did think that he needed a love interest though. I almost hoped that he and Niki would hook up. Like he didn’t have enough going on right.

    I was on the fence about going to watch Stardust but now I’ll have to give it a try.

    The Princess Bride is one of the those guilty pleasures. It’s such a dorky movie and I LOVE IT! I watched it all the time as a kid. I had the biggest crush on Cary Elwes.

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