I've been quite excited for Stardust ever since I learned about it, and tonight I went to see it. If I had one word to describe it, I'd simply say beautiful.
I'm no critic. I like a lot of movies, movies that many people might dismiss as a waste of their time for one reason or another. Oh well. However, even most of my favourite movies don't fall into the category of "beautiful". Hot Fuzz was a raucous action adventure with a great plot, but it wasn't "beautiful". Serenity was an outstanding conclusion to Joss Whedon's Firefly series, but it wasn't "beautiful". What was beautiful? I can name a few: Children of Dune, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Stranger Than Fiction. Why? Dunno. :) Like I said, I'm not a critic. But I like them.
They changed the story quite a bit from the book, but unlike many movies, this does not detract from it. The core of the story remains, wrapped around the nugget goodness of the central theme. In fact, I enjoyed most of the adjustments better than the book! Particularly the ending, which suited this story of love and magic far more than the book's ending. Neil Gaiman is a remarkable writer, though. You should pick up Stardust and read it. While you're at it, get American Gods, Anansi Boys, and oh, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter. That last one will get you acquainted with crazy Terry Pratchett, if you don't know him already, which will oblige you to read Discworld.
Yet I digress. Stardust. A tale of romance and adventure with the undercurrents of humour that should be present in such a movie. I love British film, especially humorous bits. There were sword fights, magical duels, and things that were in between. And if you want to see Robert De Niro in a dress, then you picked the right film. (Alternatively, if you don't want to see Robert De Niro in a dress, don't worry. Go see it anyway; he isn't in a dress for long.) The special effects are adequate, a bit bright, but not presumptuous. I didn't like Claire Danes' acting at first, but she grew on me, and I like how she portrayed the star by the end. Her little monologue to Tristran when he was a mouse was the most beautiful piece in the entire movie.
I can't wait until this comes out on DVD. And I want that song at the beginning of the credits ("Rule the World" by Take That).