The Princess Bride Reviews
Based on a novel of the same name the story is the quintessential fairytale fable. A young dashing hero who was thought to be dead must save his true love from an evil Prince in his castle. There are sidekicks, magicians, evil henchmen, knights, places of peril and the odd oversized creatures.
The unique element in this rudimentary idea is the comedy factor, a combination of spoof and slapstick both verbally and visually. In short you could say this was an early live action version of the Shrek franchise but not as 'out there' with the fantasy. Every typical fairytale scenario has been slightly twisted and lampooned just enough to make it funny but not as an outright spoof. There is still a solid plot here despite the fact its predictable as hell. The other unique angle is the fact the whole film is being narrated by Columbo to Kevin Arnold in the real world, a story within a story, so you're never completely sure if things will pan out as you'd expect...(but they do).
Now while I can't deny the film is a nice gentle old fashioned type of yarn it is extremely basic and largely unimpressive visually. I realise its more of a character piece than effects extravaganza but there really isn't much to soak up fantasy wise. It doesn't help me especially because some locations they filmed at the start, and the castle, are not far from my folks so it didn't give me any sense of wonder. There are some nice locations most definitely but it all looks too real if you get me, not much like a fantasy realm.
The film works mainly because of the characters, well some of them. Elwes is the perfect well spoken Flynn-esque hero without a doubt, he has good comedic timing and spoofs the classical silver screen hero very well. He virtually plays this character again in that Mel Brooks Robin Hood film. Wright is the perfect blonde fairytale Princess, utterly stunning! Sarandon does the slimy evil Prince to a tee and for me the best of all was Wallace Shawn as the low down crafty 'Vizzini'. Such a shame that Shawn's character dies so early on as he's the best thing going on in the film laughs wise. There are various other famous names in here too but for me they felt forced. Peter Cook's silly clergyman lisp just fell flat on its face, Mel Smith's Albino dungeon keeper felt out of place and not particularly funny whilst Billy Crystal was clearly Billy Crystal in makeup and not in the slightest bit amusing.
Had this come out now I don't think it would do too well, or any better than it did back in 87. The whole idea has been done and drained by a certain green orge plus other animated flicks. Back in the day the idea of a spoof fantasy was a bit more original but even then it didn't fare that well and I'm not really surprised. I can see how this might not have appeared very enticing to cinema goers at the time.
There is little to no violence so its perfect for the younger viewer whilst adults can enjoy the soft satire. Even though this is the epitome of a true fairytale I can't really say its a rich magical experience because there isn't much of that going on. Its a pleasant cozy ride that will relax you and not put any pressure on the brain. A pure organic tale but also rather underwhelming.
Comparing The Princess Bride to the Zucker Brothers is difficult because, unlike Airplane!, it was never envisioned as a straight-up comedy. Rob Reiner's adaptation of William Goldman's novel is attempting to have its cake and eat it, poking fun at all the silly aspects of fantasy fiction and filmmaking while also demonstrating its love and affection for those kinds of stories. Whether as a comedy or a sweet-natured love story, it is simultaneously a heart-warming triumph and a slight disappointment.
All of the problems with The Princess Bride result from the fact that it is never entirely consistent as to how far it is departing from convention as opposed to celebrating it or playing it with a straight face. According to the making-of documentary, Reiner instructed his actors to treat their roles like they were playing cards, almost but never entirely revealing what they had in their hand. The film keeps teasing us as to the cards that it holds, leaving us with the feeling that it would have been a more generally appealing film if it had chosen to go one way or the other.
Reiner's three previous directorial efforts suggest that he was the perfect man to take on Goldman's multi-genre work. He had done justice to Stephen King's distinctive characters in Stand By Me, sensitively handled young love in The Sure Thing, and created a comedy monolith for the ages in the cult classic This Is Spinal Tap. But while the characters are memorable and funny, they don't always deviate from their moulds in the way that they do in, for instance, When Harry Met Sally. Princess Buttercup may be headstrong and combative, but she's still a straight-up damsel-in-distress, with Robin Wright getting relatively little to work with.
The sad thing about this is that if The Princess Bride had been played completely straight, as an ordinary fairy tale, it would have still been pretty good. We really believe in the relationship between Wesley and Buttercup because the chemistry between Wright and Cary Elwes is so terrifically convincing. We like them so much that we would be willing for the film to embrace convention, since their relationship is enough to make it memorable. But when other aspects of the story break from the mould so deliberately, you feel disappointed that the whole film couldn't live up to those standards, and that turns these accepted conventions into unwanted clichés.
Speaking of clichés, much of the comedy in The Princess Bride hasn't dated very well. All the lines that are quoted by fans still retain their power, whether it's Inigo Montoya's speech to the six-fingered man, or Peter Cook's musings on "mawwiage". But Billy Crystal's comic interlude as Miracle Max brings the story to a grinding halt from which it never fully recovers. His Yiddish shtick feels more suited to a sub-par Mel Brooks film, and even with Crystal's great comic timing it doesn't gel with everything around it.
On the other hand, there are many moments in The Princess Bride which are still either wittily self-referential or laugh-out-loud funny. The best examples of the former both involve the Dread Pirate Roberts, first in his epic swordfight with Inigo Montoya and then his battle of wits with Vizzini. In both cases there is a self-awareness to the scenes, with Montoya quipping about the different sword-fighting techniques being used and oddities associated with the notion of fair play. As for Vizzini, he treats us to Hegelian dialectics and the writings of Field Marshal Montgomery while doing comedy acrobats, setting us up beautifully for a funny death and Roberts' punch line.
The conversations between the son (Fred Savage) and his grandfather (Peter Falk) also fall into this category of poking fun at these traditions as they are acted out in beautiful detail. They have arguments about why certain things have to happen in order for the story to make sense - or why kissing shouldn't be allowed in these stories. But unlike subsequent spoofs like Austin Powers, where the characters deliberately talk about the absurdity of their plans, in The Princess Bride all of these conversations feel naturalistic. The film is not just making a joke, it's making a point about the evolutions that stories undergo to match our changing expectations.
In the documentary, Reiner and actor Chris Sarandon talked about The Princess Bride as a testament to the importance of storytelling. The film gently illuminates the way that fairy tales carry moral lessons, which are conveyed in a certain visual or narrative language to help us understand the world around us. There are familiar lessons about following one's heart, bad deeds coming back to haunt you and good ultimately triumphing over evil, which are conveyed in a non-patronising way for children while reminding adults of the stories they grew up with.
There is also an interesting idea, which isn't explored in enough detail, about the transferring of character identity. Peter Falk's dialogue about The Princess Bride (that would read to him by his father) is mirrored by Wesley's conversation about taking on the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts. There is a hint in the closing words, "as you wish" that Falk and Wesley may have some kind of connection, with the real world and story world overlapping. With both characters there is the theme of different people keeping the same characters alive, like different actors playing James Bond, Sherlock Holmes or Doctor Who.
The Princess Bride is also notable for its fantastic swashbuckling. The fight scenes were choreographed by the late great Bob Anderson, who worked on the original Star Wars trilogy, Barry Lyndon and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Reiner wanted to pay tribute to the swashbuckling adventure movies of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Errol Flynn, the latter of whom was trained (and injured) by Anderson. The fights are shot in long, wide-angled takes so that we get a real sense of scale, and all the stunts bar two somersaults are done by the performers.
The performances in The Princess Bride are to a large extent the secret of its success. Cary Elwes is really good in his first starring role: he's charismatic, funny, looks the part of an action hero, and delivers his lines with a great sense of timing and wit. Christopher Guest, who worked with Reiner on Spinal Tap, makes the very most of all too small a part, playing on Prince Humperdinck's insecurities and having great fun during the torture scenes. Peter Cook's cameo may be very close to Michael Palin's Pontius Pilate in Life of Brian, but he's every bit as funny as Palin and looks more thrillingly ridiculous. And Mel Smith gets a very nice cameo as the albino assistant torturer, soothing Wesley after Count Rugen's torment.
The Princess Bride may not have aged all that well in certain aspects, nor is it quite as forthcoming in its satire as many would like. But its cult status is ensured thanks to a handful of very good performances, a solid central romance, a series of very funny moments and some great action scenes. In the grand scheme of 1980s fantasy it's on a par with Ladyhawke, at least as a love story. It's not Rob Reiner's finest hour, but it's still well worth a look.
First of all, I really liked the cast in this one. I really loved Mandy Patinkin as Indigo Montoya. One of the 80's best performances. I also felt that Cary Elwes did a really good job too.
The script is obviiously the strength. There are tons of memorable quotes in this one. Some are beautifully written, some are menacing, and there are many that are downright funny ("There's a difference between partly dead, and mostly dead" being one of them)
The fight choreography was really good too. This would have some of the best choreographed fight scenes untill 2004's "Troy" came out.
Overrall, "The Princess Bride" is one of my favorite movies. Practically perfect.
A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather).
The Princess Bride is one of the most sincere and heartfelt fantasy movies I've ever seen. The movie is framed as a story that a grandfather reads to his sick grandson and it's a perfect idea for a movie that has some tongue-in-cheek takes on fantasy clichés.
The story begins with Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes), two farmers who fall in love. He decides to leave and return one day a rich man to marry her. Then she hears he was killed by a pirate and Prince Humperdinck decides to make her his bride. But when they least expect Westley returns for 'true love' and the story turns into one of the funniest and most fast-paced adventure ever. There are deadly eels, giant rodents, dangerous forests, giants, revenge-obsessed swordsmen, and miracles. The heroes are noble and fair, and the villains despicable. And true love wins in the end. A movie has never been more honest about its intentions than The Princess Bride.
The cast is mostly great, especially Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin, a swordsman looking for the man who killed his father. Penn could have been a more interesting character than the usual damsel in distress, but I guess some clichés you just don't touch. Peter Falk has a short but adorable role as the grandfather trying to pass to his grandson some of the pleasure of reading books.
The Princess Bride is a wonderful story that should appeal to anyone who never lost their sense of wonder and who still like to see the good guys truly win without compromises, something rare these days in mainstream cinema. It's a charming movie that has no pretensions about what it is and which does everything right. Watch it and love it!
Good acting a plot.
Edge of your seat film.
One of the best films from the 1980's.
If u want a film with action, love, drama you should give this a try.
"My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my brother, prepare to die."
I love this movie, its a really good movie that i probably wouldnt originally go for but its a great fantasy romance drama, that is extrememly enjoyable and well worth the watch