Breaking a Fast

Two years ago was the last time we saw a movie in a movie theatre. We saw Serenity, the movie based on Joss Whedon’s short-lived television series, Firefly.

In the intervening two years, we just haven’t felt the need to see a movie in a movie theatre. The big-screen experience just wasn’t that compelling, and the drawbacks (other people talking,* cell phones, sticky floors, uncomfortable seats, and lack of bathroom breaks) just seemed too great. It wasn’t so much that we had this militant stance against movies in a movie theatre – it was more that the movies themselves didn’t seem good enough to draw us out of our home-based routine.

What broke us out of the rut? Stardust. We both love Neil Gaiman, we both love good fantasy and science fiction (well, for that matter, when it comes to movies, John likes really bad made-for-tv science fiction and horror too). I wanted especially to support this sort of movie on its opening weekend (yes, I know – going on Friday night was supposed to be the biggest help, but I was wiped. It was a long week with all sorts of worrying stuff going on: luckily, most if not all of which was resolved by Friday).

So, after a nice sushi dinner at our favorite local (conveniently right across from the movie theatre), we sat in uncomfortable seats with our feet on a sticky floor and absolutely loved this movie. The effects were appropriately magical and marvelously inventive. The script made great use of the source material, without resorting to massive anvil-dropping to get thematic points across.

Newspaper reviews have covered the cast’s superb work. Yes, Michelle Pfeiffer was wonderful: evil and vain and arrogant. Yes, DeNiro looked like he was having loads of fun (and we had loads of fun with him – others have said he goes a bit over the top with this one: I disagree). Yes, Charlie Cox was an absolute find for the lead role, maturing subtly and convincingly from callow youth to brave young hero. Claire Danes started out combining massive irritation with bemusement, a bit of fear, and more than a touch of bravado and gradually showed her softer side.

But for John and me, some of the best bits were the little casting touches – Inspector Thomas Lynley is Tristran’s dad. Peter freaking O’Toole is the King of Stormhold. Other actors like Rupert Everett and Ricky Gervais have important parts, but they spend vanishingly small amounts of time on-screen (it doesn’t matter -they remain memorable. Their efforts are not wasted simply because they spend little time acting). Ian McKellen does the fairy tale voice-overs (melt).

Over all, the movie is perfect escapism: fun and witty, adventurous and exciting, touching. Big thumbs-up from the “we never go to movies in the theatre” couple.

*Heck – just other people. We can be curmudgeonly that way.


  1. Haha! Y’all are like exactly the way I am in movies. Only, I continue to go to them and feel no shame in standing up in the middle of a movie and telling someone to turn off their phone. I felt the exact same way about Stardust too. I took two people to see it and both of them had doubted me and my movie taste and left going “Oh my, we want the dvd!” :)