Australian Council on Children and the Media

Stardust

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Violence, scary scenes and supernatural themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Stardust
  • a review of Stardust completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 September 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, scary scenes and supernatural themes
Children 8-13 Parental guidance to 13 recommended due to violence and supernatural themes
Children over the age of 13 OK without parental guidance

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Stardust
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, Fantasy themes, May frighten young children
Length 127 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Young adventurer, Tristan (Charlie Cox), pursues a falling star to bring back to his beloved, Victoria (Sienna Miller), by stepping through the wall that protects his named village, named  Wall from the supernatural universe, Stormhold on the other side.  The star is not what he expects. He finds it in human form, now a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). She has been struck down from the heavens by a ruby necklace belonging to Stormhold’s dying King (Peter O’Toole).

The king’s surviving sons, Primus (Jason Flemyng) and Septimus (Mark Strong), pursue Yvaine for the ruby, whilst the witches Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her sisters also want Yvaine for her heart and its eternal properties.  During the journey back to Wall and Victoria, Tristan and Yvaine encounter friends and enemies, as well as the meaning of love.  The final dual with the evil Lamia ends in a destiny beyond Tristan’s imagination.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural, Captivity and slavery

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • a sword fight with sticks between Tristan and Humphrey
  • a prince is pushed to his death through a window of a tall tower
  • frequent conversations about murder of others and removing Yvaine’s heart
  • an animal is slaughtered by the witches and some organs are removed
  • the Guard of the wall prevents Tristan’s passage through it by beating him up with his stick
  • the witch, Lamia, whips goats and horses pulling carts
  • a soothsayer is stabbed and killed by Prince Septimus
  • a crocodile is slain and dissected by the witches
  • a previous fallen star is killed by the witches on a stone table (off camera)
  • Prince Primus has his throat slit by Lamia while he is in the bath
  • a unicorn headbutts a man (previously a goat).  He changes back into a goat as he hits a wall, falls to the ground and dies.
  • Lamia lunges at Yvaine with a glass blade before they disappear.  The blade breaks as it hits the wall instead.
  • Captain Shakespeare (a pirate) puts a knife against Tristan’s throat threatening to kill him.  He then throws a body out of the porthole of his ship leading the audience to believe it is Tristan’s.  He is rough with Yvaine as he takes her to his cabin.
  • a trader, Ferdy the Fence, is stabbed and killed by Prince Septimus
  • There is a sword fight on the deck of Captain Shakespeare’s ship between his crew and the Prince’s guards.  The Captain is beaten (off camera) and threatened with a knife over his desk by Septimus.
  • Septimus throws a farm boy off his horse before taking the horse for himself
  • Lamia and a lesser witch, Ditchwater Sal, engage in a magic battle.  Sal loses her head, runs into “the wall” and incinerates on the ground.
  • Septimus and Tristan threaten each other with knives outside Lamia’s palace
  • Septimus and the sister of Lamia engage in a dual.  She dies when Septimus spears her with a lance.
  • Lamia tortures Septimus with a voodoo doll; breaking his arm, then his leg, and finally drowning him
  • Lamia cruelly sharpens her butcher’s blade menacingly over Yvaine as she lies strapped to the stone table
  • Tristan lets loose all of the wild animals the witches kept in cages.  They attack one of the witches.
  • Lamia hits Tristan with a huge flying urn.  He retaliates by hitting her with lightening bolts.  She then raises Septimus’ corpse to fight him with a sword.
  • Lamia and Tristan engage in a duel with a meat cleaver and sword
  • After believing they’ve been released, Lamia locks Tristan and Yvaine in the palace and causes the windows to explode onto them in succession
  • Yvaine emits a pulsar of light and explodes Lamia into confetti

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Tristan’s father, Dunstan, comes across a two-headed miniature elephant and a jar full of seeing eyeballs at a market
  • When each prince dies, they turn into a ghost.  Some have their weapons of death still imbedded in them.
  • The king’s necklace hits a star causing an explosion which impacts the earth and again explodes
  • Frequent use of magic to cause physical transformations and disappearances. eg. Lamia transforms a farm boy into a goat, Ditchwater Sal’s face is blown under a spell, farm boy is changed into a woman, a village is magicked into existence, Sal turns Tristan into a mouse.
  • Tristan is transported magically from his house to arrive at the impact crater.  Upon re-entry he appears out of nowhere to hit into Yvaine and knock her to the ground.
  • A large imposing ship flies through the air during a loud thunderous storm with bright flashes of lightning

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Una, the slave of Ditchwater Sal, is always on an unbreakable chain in the service of her mistress
  • Tristan uses a magic chain to tie Yvaine to himself and later to a tree to prevent her escaping
  • Tristan and Yvaine are tied up together in the brig of Captain Shakespeare’s ship

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Septimus poisons all but one of his brothers and the priest with a poisoned drink

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Captain Shakespeare leads his crew to believe that he wants to have sex with Yvaine
  • In attempting to prolong a charade, Captain Shakespeare suggests that he has captured Yvaine solely for Tristan’s personal pleasure
  • Both Lamia and the farm boy’s breast shape noticeably decrease or increase at separate points in the film.  The camera focuses on the transformation and the characters’ reaction to this occurrence.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A passionate kiss occurs between Una and Dunstan at the market
  • Tristan spies on Yvaine briefly while she is taking a bath
  • Tristan and Yvaine exchange a passionate kiss whilst she is clad in only a towel
  • Prince Primus is killed in the bath, hence his ghost is naked.  There is one full-length shot of him but is sitting in a way so as not to expose himself.
  • After the triumphant defeat of Lamia, Tristan and Yvaine share another kiss

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Champagne
  • Poison
  • Wine

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “You stupid cow”
  • “This idiot’s coming with us”
  • “You better be telling the truth, you two-faced dog”
  • “Mind you don’t wear the wench out”
  • “It’s alright Captain, we always knew you were a whoopsy” (referring to his sexual orientation)
  • “You smell of pee, you look like the wrong end of a dog…”

In a nutshell

Stardust is a fantasy adventure movie based upon the illustrated novel by Neil Gaiman.
The main messages from this movie are about the importance of ambition, love, bravery, loyalty and dedication to a cause.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • a desire to dream and explore their world
  • courage to face injustice
  • loyalty to oneself and worthy acquaintances
  • open mindedness with new cultures, experiences and in relationships with others


This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • forcing others to do things against their will
  • naively embarking on unsafe adventures
  • using violence to achieve goals

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