Stardust

 
Low-budget sci-fi disaster with some swearing.
  • Review Date: July 18, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As it slowly comes to life, Stardust the vacuum cleaner becomes fond of repeating the word "peace" over and over again. The father goes to jail rather than have his work used for war.

Positive role models

Charlie does what he needs to do to figure out the secret of Stardust, and does his best to get his father out of jail. The father sacrifices himself for his anti-war beliefs.

Violence

Thieves representing the evil corporation break into Karol's house. Punches are thrown and bookcases are tossed around. Two boys cut their thumbs with a switchblade in order to become "blood brothers." A boy's necktie gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner while he's wearing the tie; he chokes for about 10 seconds before the vacuum cleaner lets him go.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"Crap," "hell," "dick," and "ass." A younger brother makes a joke about how his older brother only thinks with his "third leg."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Stardust is not the 2007 film based on the Neil Gaiman novel, but a low-budget 1998 film about an old vacuum cleaner that slowly comes to life after inadvertently vacuuming up a bio-chip invented by the scientist father of the house. This could have been an interesting premise, but instead, the film is duller than vacuuming a living room. There is occasional profanity ("ass," "dick"), and some moments of corporate espionage that feel more like home invasions. There's nowhere near the action a film like this should have, and the amateur hour feel of the production makes this one to avoid.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Scientist Karol Wasacz (Olek Krupa) has invented a bio-chip -- a computer chip that can give life to inanimate objects and offer endless scientific potential for the benefit of all mankind. But when he overhears his boss talking with a defense contractor about how the bio-chip will be used for war, Wasacz absconds with the bio-chip, hides it in his house, and is then framed for arson by his evil boss and sent to prison. While using an ancient vacuum made by an old company called STARDUST, Karol's son Charlie vacuums the bio-chip, and slowly but surely, Stardust comes to life. Charlie needs to learn the secret of the bio-chip, and must find a way to free his father before the evil corporate scientists find the bio-chip in the old vacuum cleaner.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Stardust could have gone the quirky route, or it could have gone the action-packed route, but instead, the movie plods along with all the slowness of an old vacuum cleaner. After all the action of the first 10 minutes, culminating with the father being sent to jail after being framed for arson, scenes drag out longer than necessary, to say nothing of the scenes that feel superfluous. The vacuum cleaner that is supposedly brought to life doesn't even develop much of a personality until the very end; before that, it spits gunk and eventually learns to repeat the word "peace" over and over again.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Stardust is that it was filmed on-location in Hamtramck, Michigan. The acting is decent, and had this been in more capable hands, this movie could have been entertaining. Instead, the low budget and amateur-hour feel hinder any potential this movie had to be worthwhile viewing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about low-budget films. What are the challenges in making a film with limited resources? Are there any good ones?

  • What would have improved this movie?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 1, 1998
Cast:Anthony Hamilton, Jared Robbins, Olek Krupa
Director:Charles F. Cirgenski
Studio:MTI Home Video
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Robots
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and mild violence

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byIrene007 August 26, 2013
age 5+
 

Brilliant Movie for the Whole Family

This movie is perfect for the whole family. It's so magical and unusual; it's lovely. And of course, the fact that this is based on Neil Gaiman's novel makes it more awesome. Also, Narnia's Prince Caspian is in it! My siblings and I have watched this movie countless times.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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