Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom/USA, 2007. Paramount Pictures, Marv Films, Vaughn Productions, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Ingenious Film Partners, Truenorth Productions. Screenplay by Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. Cinematography by Ben Davis. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Dreyer, Neil Gaiman, Matthew Vaughn. Music by Ilan Eshkeri. Production Design by Gavin Bocquet. Costume Design by Sammy Sheldon. Film Editing by Jon Harris.
A grocery store clerk in a tiny English village has no idea that the stone wall that runs alongside his peaceful little hamlet is actually the gateway to another dimension. After seeing a shooting star fall to earth, he promises the girl of his dreams (Sienna Miller) to retrieve it for her in order to be worthy of her hand in marriage, crossing the wall and finding himself in an enchanted land where four brothers fight for its throne while three witches struggle to retain their youth and power. The star has arrived on the planet in human form (Claire Danes, to be specific), with whom the clerk pairs up as they go off on an adventure to restore themselves to their rightful homes and save the kingdom from destruction. Michelle Pfeiffer is delicious as the witch who specifically wants to eat Danes’s heart in order to make herself young and beautiful again, while Robert De Niro has an incredibly strange but funny supporting role as a tough, bad-ass pirate who on the inside just wants to be Kylie Minogue. It’s got lots of imagination fuelling it (with a story based on the novel by Neil Gaiman), but the plotting has a tendency to feel too loose and unfocused. Neither lead is particularly memorable, Danes especially failing to pull off the accent, but the supporting performers, including cameos by Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais and Peter O’Toole, are gems.