In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.
What do stars do? Shine.
I fell in love with this movie when I first watched it half a year ago (yes, it took me that long to watch it) and since this movie is turning 10 this year, I’ve decided to write my thoughts about it.
If you are looking for an entertaining and easy-to-digest fantasy movie, this is it. I won’t go into much details though because I don’t want to spoil anyone who might be interested in this movie.
The plot is straightforward and easy to follow with a perfect blend of magic, dark humor, adventure and romance. We have the loner main character, a young man named Tristan Thorn, living in a village with a wall that separates the real world from another more magical and “dangerous” world. The villagers are not allowed to cross that wall and they even appointed a guard on the only entrance through the wall to ensure that no one ever crosses the boundary.
However, for the glory of love and all that, young, hopeful Tristan decided to cross the wall and travel through potentially deadly magical realm in order to get the fallen star that he and his beloved Victoria saw during a dinner date.
Victoria, for your hand in marriage, I’d cross the wall and bring you back that fallen star.
He had no idea, of course, that the “star” he had set out to find would have thoughts of her own, nor did he expect to have such murderous and scary competitions for the acquisition of said star. And there, his adventure started.
It was quite the adventure indeed– sky pirates, witches vying for youth, princes competing for a possibly cursed throne, people turning to goats, goats turning to people, men turning to women, curses and hexes, ghosts, unicorns, murder and finding the true meaning of love.
It was entertaining to say the least.
What I adored about this movie, aside from the general death and magic, is the slow build up of the romance between Yvaine (the fallen star) and Tristan. I am not a very big fan of love at first sight tropes so this was a pleasant movie for me. It was so refreshing to see Tristan and Yvaine grow close given the fact that Yvaine initially hated Tristan for trying to take her as a gift for his beloved Victoria, while Tristan was dead set on his feelings for Victoria.
Now, if I’m not mistaken this means you have to come with me. You’re going to be a birthday gift for Victoria, my true love.
And how can I not love Yvaine after her response?
But of course! Nothing says “romance” like the gift of a kidnapped injured woman! I’m not going anywhere with you!
Hah! Take that, Tristan!
After a few scuffles, it did not take long before they both started catching feelings for each other. I guess near-death experiences and heart to heart talks have a way of doing that. I especially love that one scene when they first got captured by the pirates.
Yvaine: Tell me about Victoria, then.
Tristan: Well, she… she… There’s nothing more to tell you.
Yvaine: The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.
Tristan: Hang on! This wasn’t about me buying her love. This was a way for me to prove to her how I felt.
Yvaine: Ah… And what’s she doing to prove how she feels about you?
What indeed, Tristan? WHAT INDEED.
Well, in the end, they also got the help of my favorite character in the movie:
Captain Shakespeare and his motley pirate crew definitely made the movie better in my honest opinion. I thought it was very original to include a (closet) gay pirate captain character into the story. It was funny to see a manly-looking man dancing around in frills when he was in the safety of his quarters. His character has been quite helpful to our two young heroes as well. He even turned awkward, weak Tristan into a confident and strong man. It’s hard for me not to care about him.
It’s all right, Captain. We always knew you were a whoopsie.
Unfortunately, Captain Shakespeare doesn’t exist in the book. A shame because I really like his character.
If I was asked which I preferred more: the book or the movie, I would say the movie. And it’s not because of the difference in the endings, but solely because of the existence of Captain Shakespeare in the movie.
The villains in this movie are pretty diverse, with their own set of agendas. The main villains are obviously the three witches led by Lamia, who wanted to get the star in order to eat her heart and regain their youth. But there’s also the Princes of Stormhold. They aren’t really villains in a sense, but I would categorize them so since they were also after Yvaine, who unfortunately possessed something they badly need to get the throne. They aren’t above killing people (and each other) just to find her. Then there is also Ditchwater Sal, who is a villain in her own right towards Tristan’s mother.
It was absolutely fun seeing them all clash and kill each other while searching for their prize. Of course, the meanest one of them all came out on top to fight our heroes in the final battle.
So yeah, this is definitely a must watch movie especially if you’re into fantasy and romance and don’t mind some sordid murders, predictable plot and cheesy happy endings on the side. It is a far cry from the book it is originally based from. From the characters to the pacing and the ending, the book and the movie had very few similarities.
If I were to describe them shortly, the movie would be feel-good fun while the book would be bitter-sweet.
Looking at it at face value, I don’t think I have anything I particularly disliked about this movie. Due to limited time, I can understand why the characters seem shallower than the characters in the books. I don’t really have an opinion regarding the cast or soundtrack or their costumes. They are all great to me and I wouldn’t change anything if I had the chance to do so. This movie is nothing grand like some other fantasy movies but it certainly had charm.
With all the loose ends satisfyingly tied and closed, this movie was a fun adventure through and through.
My rating: A solid 10/10
Favorite character: Captain Shakespeare (and his crew)
Favorite quote: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren’t what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys who just happen to work in a shop for the time being.” – Yvaine