(Matthew Vaughn, UK, 2007) 130min
This article is from 2007.
This British blockbuster adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s marvellous English fantasy novel looks fantastic. It’s seriously marred, however, by a lacklustre script co-written by Jane Goldman (Mrs Jonathan Ross) and director Matthew Vaughn. Despite fine art direction, make-up and costumes, and an impressive Transatlantic cast that includes Sienna Miller, Peter O’Toole, Rupert Everett, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, Gaiman’s flight of fantasy into the beguiling magical land of faerie is all but grounded – and then buried – in the ill-conceived idea of treating the material with the same ‘mockney’ attitude that informed the Guy Ritchie-directed British gangster films with which Vaughn as a producer made his name.
Thus, the tale of a young country lad’s quest into a magic realm to gather some of the titular fairy dust from a fallen star for his sweetheart back home becomes a tedious series of encounters with various tiresomely ‘colourful’ villains – the usurper sons of O’Toole’s King of Faerie, a trio of witches lead by Pfeiffer, De Niro’s particularly excruciating closet case gay captain of a gang of sky pirates. Vaughn, who made his directing debut with the assured gangland thriller Layer Cake, should have hired a decent screenwriter and stayed well away from the keyboard himself. (Miles Fielder)
Cineworld, 623 8030, 23 Aug, 7.40pm, £7.95 (£5.50).