Film Spotlight: Robert DeNiro in Stardust

I’m glad to partake in the Robert DeNiro blogathan hosted by Tyson and Mark. My job was to pick a DeNiro film I hadn’t seen and give a brief review. I focused on the 2007 film, Stardust.

The British fantasy-romance-adventure film included all the elements one would expect from a fantasy and with great special effects, it was as charming as The Princess Bride or The Golden Compass.  From Claire Danes as the fallen star to Mark Strong as a scheming prince to Michelle Pfeiffer as the wicked witch, everyone played their roles convincingly except for, I’m sorry to report, Robert DeNiro. I never thought I’d admit he was the weak link in the chain.

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The comic relief?

Robert DeNiro’s character was a confused pirate, Captain Shakespeare. One minute he’s the tough guy you’d expect DeNiro to play when he kidnaps the pair and brings Tristan and the fallen star, Yvaine, on board his flying pirate ship. The hero, Tristan, played by Charlie Cox, crossed into the fantasy world called Stormhold and falls in love with the fallen star who shines brighter and brighter as her love grows for Tristan.

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As Captain Shakespeare, he mimicked the dramatist by accentuating the effeminacy. Then he  added the can-can routine and the audience was privy to transvestite tendencies.  Seeing DeNiro in drag was not funny. His interpretation was a muddled mess.

Oh, Robert DeNiro, if I could have reviewed twenty other films of yours that showed your brilliance. You were more offensive in this role than any other time you beat someone to death with whatever prop was handy. Goodness, what were you thinking?

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What did work in the film were the dead brothers on the sideline watching as ghosts.  They were funny and the technique clever.

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Michelle Pfeiffer was great as Lamia, the wicked witch in this story. The make-up was great. It was disturbing to see the beautiful legend turn hideous. Ouch.

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Stardust was a commercial success and kept me interested for the most part. I would rate the film 7 out of 10 under one condition: Bobby never agrees to play a transvestite pirate again.

17 thoughts on “Film Spotlight: Robert DeNiro in Stardust

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  1. That is one De Niro movie that I haven’t seen. It didn’t really look like it would appeal to me, but I liked your review. It makes me think of how Johnny Depp played a drag queen in Before Night Falls. I love Depp, but his role in that movie was awful. Also, my favorite singer Jared Leto plays a drag queen in the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club. What were they thinking?

      1. You got me thinking about it more and my favorites were Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire (if that counts) and Johnny Depp in Ed Wood. I like Vincent Cassel, but I will admit that I have not seen Elizabeth. Tim Curry played that part a little too well. It was too creepy : )

  2. I quite enjoy this one, Cindy! Btw, Henry Cavill (there’s an extra ‘l’ there) is not on long enough in this film for me though. Did you mean Mark Strong as the Prince? He’s quite good here but yeah, I wouldn’t call this De Niro’s shining hour though.

  3. I saw bits and pieces of this one the other day while I was cleaning the flat. I have to admit, I found his role kinda funny. Not the most convincing role he’s done, but I got a chuckle out of it.

  4. has a few moments …

    some good people in there. people who have earned the right to try whatever they like i guess. but sometimes that’s not good news. how about The Fokkers, for instance? PHEW!

    but … they’ve made a lot more goodies than baddies. some greaties.

    yeah .. think i’d pull out my copy of Ladyhawk after this. or the Deer Hunter …

  5. Never heard of this one, maybe fortunately in view of what they did to Michelle Pfeiffer’s face! Eeyow! DeNiro was particularly creepy as Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart, back in 1987.

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