The Princess Bride Reviews
That's something that I wish more filmmakers would try -- to present a straightforward tale and advance it through comedy. Most movies rely on more common tropes, like the comic relief. Now thinking about the characters in The Princess Bride, there weren't any obvious comic relief characters. Andre the Giant comes closest to that, but he is still portrayed as a key member of the group of heroes. All of the characters are borderline plot devices, but I don't want to call that a weakness to the film's credit. It was a choice, and in the experience of watching the movie, I did not care that everyone wore their motives on their sleeves. The fact that they did opened me to appreciating other elements of the movie, like the economy of the fight scenes or the brilliance in the more subtle jokes in debt to both William Goldman and the cast. [I wish that I had written this review immediately after I watched the movie, so I could think of a good example.] I'm not much of a family-friendly guy, but I should note that this really is for all ages. In a time when Spielberg was the new inspiration children's film director, Rob Reiner thankfully forewent some of the shlocky traits of E.T. and used the relationship between Fred Savage and his grandfather (Peter Falk) in order for kids to better engage themselves. I don't think of The Princess Bride as a children's movie though. I can see many of the jokes going over kids' heads. That's okay! I believe this movie is worth watching at any age. There may not always be something new to discover, but substance is abound.
Based on the novel of the same name and in the perspective of a grandfather reading it to his grandson, The Princess Bride follows Princess Buttercup and her love for the poor but perfectly heroic farmhand Westley, as conflicting marriage from a villainous prince gets in the way of their blossoming love. We also see some great interactions from Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, a expert swordsman hellbent on killing the murderer of his father, and Andre the Giant as the gentle giant Fezzik - Wallace Shawn, albeit a short performance, is inconcievably hilarious in his witty role.
The Princess Bride is, in a word, undeniably good spirited and enjoyable - it's hard to dislike it. Although it's predictable and a bit cliched, the story is compelling and adds bits of satire to the common fairytale hero scenario and doesn't disappoint. As I mentioned before, the performances are great. Both Elwes and Wright have great performances and chemistry, but Patinkin and Andre's more comedic duo approach is what steals the show. The characters are very likable and their performances are excellent. I think if anything that the film lacks in is the amount of comedy most fans hype about. What comedy that is in The Princess Bride is indeed clever, but not hilarious. It may just be a "more you watch it" type thing but the punchlines didn't deliver as much as I thought they would. Nonetheless, the constantly delivering atmosphere of The Princess Bride gives it a world of its own - a real timeless comedy adventure and one of Reiner's best works.
The bride (Robin Wright) falls in love with her farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes). When Westley heads out to the world to make a living, the news of his death in the hands of a dreaded pirate devastates the bride. An egotistic and scheming Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) betroths her to hatch an evil plot. By staging an abduction and blaming the neighboring kingdom, he plans to woo his citizens to back his war. He uses the help of Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) the brains, Inigo Motoya (Mandy Patinkin) the steel and Fezzik (André the Giant) the muscle. When the dreaded pirate comes thwart his plan, it becomes personal.
Rob Reiner knows how to make a slapstick. Just like 'This is Spinal Tap', he doesn't go all out nasty - but picks the essential clichés and use it to his advantage. But the movie is far from perfect due to relatively shortage of gags where it ebbs and tides between lull and hilarity. The thread between the grandfather and kid was so important for this movie to click as they interrupt the fairytale in the exact moments where it starts to become too much or too dull. The trio of the brains, steel and muscle were so perfect together and they produce some real entertainment. Cary Elwes was missing the quality that the rest of the cast had - natural comic timing and comes off as a weakling and makes it difficult to root for him.
Not a Monty Python but definitely entertaining