The Princess Bride (SE)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Told as a bedtime story from a grandfather to his grandson, this fairy tale follows the beautiful farm girl Buttercup (Wright) who has agreed to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) thinking that her childhood sweetheart, Westley (Elwes), was killed by pirates. She is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws, but is saved by a mysterious man-in-black who turns out to be, Westley himself! Soon thereafter, Humperdinck steals her back, leaving Westley to die, but Westley befriends two of the outlaws and together they "storm the castle" to rescue his true love.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Inconceivable! The Princess Bride is probably one of the most quoted movies outside of Star Wars and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Who hasn't looked someone in the face at some point in their life and said "My name is Iņigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die". The movie has so many one-liners, sight gags, satire, wit, and just plain funny acting that it's a tribute to Rob Reiner that he didn't let the movie become an Airplane-like goof fest. William Goldman's script is perhaps his crowning achievement combining fantasy, love, adventure, revenge, and more into one super-creative piece of writing. This movie is the best of the 80's fantasy movies (Legend, Labyrinth, Neverending Story, etc..) and is probably the best lighthearted fantasy movie to date. You can't beat that.
The casting agents earned their pay on this one. Elwes is practically Douglas Fairbanks's twin as the deadpan swashbuckler while a youthful Wright is the perfect Buttercup. Patinkin is the stand-out, though, as his character of Iņigo Montoya and the search for his father's killer is perhaps everyone's favorite part of the movie. Wallace Shawn's super-arrogant Vizzini is hilarious and Andre the Giant was just born to play Fessik, the lovable giant. Andre was truly huge. Compare his hands and head to everyone else in the movie and you'll be shocked. Chris Sarandon (Susan's ex-hubby) and Christopher Guest play evil royalty to the tee as the love-starved Humperdinck and his cohort Count Rugen. And finally, look out for Billy Crystal doing his schtick as the wrinkly old Miracle Max.
You gotta love these special editions! Along with the great commentaries, we get a smorgasborg of Princess Bride extras. The best is a newly filmed documentary called "As You Wish" containing all new interviews with Reiner, Goldman, and almost all of the actors from the movie. Whoever put that documentary together has a sense of humor because they interspersed funny clips of the movie during appropriate parts of the interview. Plus, you really see how the actors have changed over time. You get behind-the-scenes footage here as well as a touching tribute to Andre the Giant by Patinkin. There are two featurettes included on the dvd made back in 1987. Both are swamped with footage from the movie, but also have interviews and off-screen footage of the cast and crew. The clips focus mostly on the sets, effect shots, swordfights, and locations used to make the movie. The dvd also includes a Cary Elwes video diary which is about 5 minutes of home video footage he took during the making of the movie. It's short, but you do get to see all of the crew in between takes and during makeup sessions. The footage is pretty rough. Remember those old 80's video cameras?
There are also four TV spots along with a US and foreign movie trailer included that show us just how horribly this movie was marketed back in 1987 and why no one went to see this gem in the theaters. They are really cheesy and make you wonder if they were advertising a different movie. Check out the third TV spot showing the critics for a shot of a mid-80's Ebert and Joel Siegel. The dvd also includes 88 still photos organized by category. Most just show pictures of the actors and scenes from the movie, but visit the behind-the-scenes and special f/x pictures for some cool shots that you haven't seen before. I was really impressed with the documentaries, features, and other extras on this dvd. You learn all you need to know about the making of this movie and have a fun time doing it.
You know Spielberg, Lucas, and Kubrick? Yes. Morons. It's Reiner's turn to be a genius with "The Princess Bride". With the help of a great story and a flawless cast, this film is a favorite among movie fans everywhere. The perks in this special edition give you even more incentive to add this dvd to your collection. This is the perfect movie to watch with your friends, then watch with your kids, then watch with your grandkids.