Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Blu ray is too grainy
on August 22, 2017
The movie itself: 5 stars
The blu-ray presentation: 3 stars
Stardust is a mature fairy tale with a lot to offer. The cast and their performances are outstanding. The story is interesting and well off the beaten track, and so it is consistently surprising. It is moving and exciting, with plenty of variety in terms of magical creatures, evil witches, a missing princess, competing princes, and two young men (years apart) who have gone past "The Wall" to visit a magical land.
Neil Gaiman's novelette upon which the movie is based was quite popular. It was so popular that there are a large number of fans who severely criticize this movie for the plot differences. I have two answers to make to that charge. First, its a rare movie that doesn't make plot changes from the source material. Even the highly acclaimed "Lord of the Rings" trilogy did that, and at times by a wide margin. Anyone expecting a movie to be a scene by scene rehash of the written source just isn't paying attention to the real world. Second, Neil Gaiman was personally involved in the production of this movie. Whatever changes were made, they had his blessing. Just to fact check this, I found and read Gaiman's blogs from the time this movie was in production and release. I could find no complaints at all concerning anything about the movie, including the direction of the story.
I find that the movie bears up under repeated viewings quite well. I've seen it myself six times over the last three years.
As for the blu-ray, I found it to be quite disappointing. The first few times I saw the film was in its HD presentation on PPV movie channels. I found that presentation to be gorgeous. The costuming, set decoration, and scenery in the film are rich in detail and color, and viewing the images of the film was as entertaining as the story. In contrast, the blu-ray, even though it has all the color, does not supply nearly as sharp a picture as the HD movie channel version. Some scenes look great. Others are needlessly grainy. I can only conclude that not much time or expense was undertaken in this blu-ray transfer. I know that this movie was first released in HD-DVD as a hi-def format. I'm left to wonder if it was transferred directly from that HD-DVD version to blu-ray, with some quality lacking in the HD-DVD version that caused it to not transfer well to the blu-ray format. Unfortunately, you'll find that most of the reviews here of the blu-ray version were made BEFORE the release, I suppose hoping to get a leg up on Helpful votes. Many of them say, "This film will look FANTASTIC on blu-ray". Well, it looks OK, but it doesn't look fantastic.
My criticism of the blu-ray version does not extend to the sound. The sound effects and score are impressive and satisfying. Voice levels are well matched. You do not have to strain to hear dialog over the music and sound effects, as is sometimes the case.
Overall, if you are a fan of the movie itself and already own a blu-ray player, I recommend this version. Just don't expect more than it actually offers in the way of visual presentation. Sadly, since the film did not surpass its production budget in general release, the studio probably did not expect wide base of support for the DVD/blu-ray release. So I don't expect the unimpressive visual transfer on the blu-ray will ever be corrected in a future release.