We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
A fantasy, even a comic fantasy, needs above all to be lean and uncluttered. Only reality is untidy. The classic fantasy structure involves the hero, the quest, the prize and what stands in the way. It is not a good sign that almost the most entertaining element of "Stardust" is Captain Shakespeare appearing from the skies in his dirigible pirate ship. Shakespeare, played by Robert De Niro as a transvestite swashbuckler (swishbuckler?) is wonderful, but he should be forced to wear a badge saying, "Hi! I'm the deus ex machina!"
There are lots of other good things in the movie, but they play more like vaudeville acts than part of a coherent plot. It's a film you enjoy in pieces, but the jigsaw never gets solved. I liked it, but "The Princess Bride" it's not.
The plot, by Neil Gaiman, based on his novel: England is separated from the fantasy kingdom of Stormhold by a wall. Inside the wall, in a village conveniently named Wall, lives a plucky lad named Tristan (Charlie Cox), who is in love with a lass named Victoria (Sienna Miller). He fears losing her to a rival, but one night they see a shooting star fall inside the wall, and he vows to retrieve it for her.
It is not very hard to get through the wall, which is an example of Stormhold's crumbling infrastructure. Tristan's father was once able to bound through a gap in the wall, but Tristan has more trouble with an ancient guard and employs a magic candle which, by definition, works its magic. Inside, he discovers that the star is, in fact, a beautiful girl with long blond tresses named Yvaine (Claire Danes). I think her name makes her a sort of vain Yvonne. She possesses such secrets as eternal life, which are worth having, and so there's a rivalry for her powers.