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The Princess Bride (20th Anniversary)
11.29.2007 By: Jason Adams
The Princess Bride (20th Anniversary) order
Director:
Rob Reiner

Actors:
Cary Elwes
Robin Wright
Mandy Patinkin

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Girl falls in love with Farm Boy. Farm Boy gets lost at sea. Girl gets betrothed to evil prince and kidnapped by Sicilian. Farm Boy returns to rescue girl. Girl gets recaptured; Farm Boy gets tortured. With help of Giant and Spaniard, Farm Boy attempts to rescue girl one last time.

You know, just your average fairy tale story.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
For years I was embarrassed to publicly admit that THE PRINCESS BRIDE was one of my favorite movies, mainly because it sounded like something a group of six year old girls would watch at a tea party. But now it’s time to come clean: I love a movie that has a main character named Buttercup and I don’t care who knows it.

Can you really blame me though? Not even counting the Cliffs of Insanity, Pits of Despair, Rodents of Unusual Size, shrieking eels, and fire swamps, THE PRINCESS BRIDE has it all. There’s swashbuckling adventure and impressive swordplay for the action minded. The backbone of the film revolves around a storybook romance and a real heartfelt center. (Anybody who doesn’t cheer when Inigo Montoya calls Rugen a “son of a bitch” is emotionally vacuous.) And then there’s the comedy…so much comedy. William Goldman’s screenplay, adapted from his own novel, infuses a perfect sense of whimsical fun and self-aware funniness, but without being too tongue in cheek like a lot of fractured fairy tales.

However, it’s the great cast that really pulls the whole thing together. A charismatic Cary Elwes and then-newcomer Robin Wright do fine work as the main hero-damsel duo, but it’s easy to overlook them for the perfect supporting cast, including an inconceivably loquacious Wallace Shawn, a lovable Andre the Giant, and Mandy Patinkin channeling Antonio Banderas before there was Antonio Banderas. Even quick cameos by Billy Crystal, Carol Kane and Peter Cook’s speech-impeded priest go a long way in making the finished product that much more memorable. Everyone is able to pull off Goldman’s fanciful wit and dialogue naturally (Peter Falk’s final line couldn’t be more perfect), which culminates in a multitude of seriously great quotes fit for use in daily life.

More than any other movie, whenever I watch THE PRINCESS BRIDE it takes me back to the time when I first saw it as a child, filled with an innocent sense of wonder and swept up in all the fun, adventure, fantasy, romance and... Crap, maybe I am six year old girl.
THE EXTRAS
Technically this is the fifth DVD release of the PRINCESS BRIDE: There was a barebones release in 2000, a Special Edition in 2001, the 2-Disc Dread Pirate and Princess Buttercup editions last year (same content, different packaging), and now the 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. And amazingly enough, this time around we’re back to a single disc with a paltry set of worthless features. The only worthwhile addition is the nifty new artwork, which features an ambigram title (i.e. it can be read the same upside down), and a nice story booklet that is equally reversible.

PRINCESS BRIDE: The Untold Tale (9:07): A few cast members (Fred Savage alert!) tell us about their memories of the movie and its subsequent cult following.

The Art of Fencing (7:08): A real life Sword Master covers the fencing in THE PRINCESS BRIDE, as well as how swordplay is used in cinema in general. New personal goal: Acquire title of Sword Master before I die.

Fairytales and Folklore (9:16): A quick, useless history of the fairytale.

Official PRINCESS BRIDE DVD Game: Looks a little better than your average DVD game, but I was not particularly impressed or entertained.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
“My name is Jason Adams. You killed my PRINCESS BRIDE special edition. Prepare to die.”

If you’re a ginormous fan of this fantastic movie and want to buy this 20th Anniversary DVD for the new artwork, be my guest. That’s pretty much all it has to offer. If you want some actual special features, pick up the old Special Edition or try to track down a copy of the Dread Pirate/Princess Buttercup release from last year.

Extra Tidbit: The only time doubles were used in the swordfighting scenes was for the somersaults; Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all the fencing themselves.
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