I didn't expect much from a movie based on something Neil Gaiman wrote. Categorically, I'd have to say Gaiman has never done anything to impress me and my opinion of his writing is fairly low. Balancing this, I found Layer Cake to be an excellent movie and hoped that Matthew Vaughn wasn't already breaking away from a winning streak to toy with a stupid concept. I have been pleasantly surprised by Stardust.
The movie is mainly fluff, but it's fun fluff. The story revolves around a dying king felling a star from the heavens and sending his sons on a wild goose chase for the star and his missing amulet, a quest that is mirrored by that of a pack of witches and a young man trying to impress the girl that he wants to marry.
The star turns out to be a person and the young man tries to tote the woman back to his lady love, encountering no end of troubles along the way, including encounters with sky pirates, chases, witch attacks, and transmogrified goats.
The film is quite a bit of fun and will appeal to the more feminine viewers (such as my girlfriend), especially if they appreciate the story and humor more than the cliches and fact that you can kind of see where the movie is going. But it is satisfying, even if it is a bit sappy, and the amount of sheer fun wrapped up in the movie is enough to carry you through easily.
As for Vaughn's part as adapter and director, he manages to make the movie look lovely and feel like every idea is a good one, even if you have to question some of the stranger choices, such as casting that you might not expect. And that casting works fairly well. Even Claire Daines, who has something of a spotty record, does well enough and gets to show off her comedy chops. The cameos and supporting roles all work well and don't take away from the overall film, leaving the whole product satisfying, even if convention makes you feel like you've seen much of this before.
The film has been compared to a Princess Bride for a new era and this assertion isn't entirely faulty, though I wonder if the setpieces of this film will still stand up in 20 years the way that Bride's fairly simple stage play-like comedic scenes do.
Still, it's fun.