11. Being Bullied Is Just Worth Accepting - Stardust
Props have to go to Matthew Vaughn for turning his reputation into one of the best in genre filmmaking, because on the basis of his break into comic book movies hes completely incapable of holding a film together. I've never read the Neil Gaiman comic upon which the film is based, but the final big screen product was a mixture of unaccomplished special effects shots, fantasy movie clichés and a tone that jarringly fluctuated from humour to attempted epic every five minutes. Yeah, I didn't like the film. Most people were a lot more forgiving, but all my goodwill was gone long before Tristan enters the imbalanced world. Unaddressed bullying in movies has been something thats irked me for a while - sure you could chalk up Freds treatment of Barney in The Flintstones as laddish behaviour, but with no basis in the original cartoon and an overall mean tone to it what else can you call it - but Stardust not only shows it, but condones it. Tristan, like every other fop in cinema, bends over backwards for the pretty on the outside, ugly on the inside girl. But different from the herd here we go a step further and see him flat out bullied by her actual boyfriend. We not only see him get his ass kicked at the beginning, but when one morning he turns up with bruises from a completely different beating, his father chuckles and chalks it up to Humphrey. I usually try and find a creative way to work round swearing, but what the f**k? Not even in this Americanised England (odd given how Stardust was a British production) can it be believable to have a father laugh at his child being bullied. And yet thats exactly what we get.