On Wednesday of last week I was invited to NYC to attend a private screening of Stardust as part of the Tribeca Film Fest. Not an offer I was prepared to forgo. So last night, with friend and art pal, Michael Kaluta I found myself working my way through a hotel lobby full of bright young things and soon arrived at the Stardust screening room. Posh seats for, at most, 50 people. Filling those seats were several of the movie’s stars (Robert DeNiro, Clare Danes, Charlie Cox), producers (Lorenzo di Bonaventura, etc.) and many faces both recognizable and not. Matthew Vaughan , the director, introduced the film and the lights went down. Nervous couldn’t half describe how I was feeling at that moment. What if I found myself cringing at what had been done to “my” story. What if everyone started walking out? What if, what if… But all of that ‘noise’ quickly dissapeared as the story began to unfold on screen. And over the next two hours everything that I could have wanted was all there; action, humor, romance, a touch of horror, special effects that were there in service to the story being told, an epic scope as well as many wonderfully intimate quiet moments. Matthew and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman have managed to capture the essence of the novel and then have skillfully edited as well as extended plot and characters where needed to transform those elements from one medium to another. For those of you who love the original novel there are indeed changes aplenty, so prepare yourself. But there were just as many scenes and little moments that come directly from the book. As to the visuals, they are very different from my own conceptions but just as valid for the story. The pirates flying galleon is particularly brilliant! The Lilum’s hovel/castle is grand and decadent, bespeaking of older times when all three rulled in their glory. The landscapes from the extensive on location shooting are gorgeous and other worldly. Later, I found myself sometimes thinking, as I replayed the film in my head, “I wish that I’d thought of that!” It will be, I think, a lovely antidote for all the bombastic summer movies that will surround its release. I hope that you all will enjoy it as much as I did.