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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 12: The Princess Bride


Sept 12: The Princess Bride

"A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather)."
Directed by: Rob Reiner, Rated: PG, 98 minutes

As some of you may know, The Princess Bride is my favorite movie of all time. I never get tired of it, watch it whenever it's on TV, and quote it on a near daily basis. Thanks to the glorious people at Tugg (I'm plugging it because it's awesome, no sponsorship here), I was able to catch this perfect little movie on the big screen, something I was never able to do as the the film came out two years before I was born. All day I was antsy and excited, eagerly anticipating seeing Westley, Inigo, Fezzik, Buttercup, Humperdink, Count Rugen, and everyone else in an actual theater, with hundreds of The Princess Bride lovers like myself. All of my favorite (FAVORITE) movies I've been hesitant to review, as I never know if what I can say will do such films justice, but seeing this bad boy on the big screen has encouraged me to attempt such an endeavor. So here it goes, my review of The Princess Bride

Also, as inconceivable as it may be, I did participate in a blogathon where I re-cast this film with pre-1965 actors as well as (God forbid) a remake if it had to happen. Check it out here

For those of you that don't know the story (shame on you!), The Princess Bride follows Westley (Cary Elwes) a farm-boy turned 'pirate' who returns to his home and seeks his one true love, Buttercup. After Westley doesn't return from his quest to "seek his fortune", Buttercup resigns herself to his death and reluctantly agrees to marry the evil Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon). After she is kidnapped by Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), Inigo Montoya (Manny Patinkin), and Fezzik (Andre the Giant) who plan on murdering her and blaming the death on a neighboring country in order to start a war for Humperdink, Westley, dressed in black, mask and all, chases after them and plans on rescuing his love. Through a series of events, Westley earns the respect and trust of both Inigo and Fezzik, and the three storm Humperdink's castle after he's recaptured Buttercup. What unfolds is a tale of "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles", all told by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his grandson (Fred Savage). 

He's the grandpa we all want to read stories to us. 

The Princess Bride is a rare kind of film, as its entire approach is that of live (and campy) effects, witty dialogue, plenty of action, and more humor than you'd believe. There's really nothing like it and it's one of the main reasons I love the film so much. Adapted from a book by William Goldman (who also wrote the screenplay), the movie creates a world so full of vibrant characters that exists somewhere between the world we know and a fantastical realm we read about in fairy tales. For instance, it references real places like Australia and Greenland, but then has rodents of unusual size (R.O.U.S) scavenging about in the Fire Swamp. It's a genius method of storytelling as it's essentially our world injected with romanticizing themes full of adventure and peril. It's also worth mentioning that the score, composed by Mark Knofpler, is just as entertaining, being just as memorable as the rest of the film, especially the fact that each 'action' in the film is hit with a sound of music that highlights the humor. 

The movie also features the greatest sword fight of all time. Ever. Period. 

Of course, a movie like this would be nothing without its perfect cast. Cary Elwes is the perfect hero, combining a bit of Robin Hood with a dash of piracy and a bit of Musketeer. Westley's motive of true love is something pure and simple, and everything he does is worth rooting for. Robin Wright does a great job as Buttercup and tip-toes the line of damsel in distress and feisty heroine brilliantly. All she wants is for her love to return and nothing (or anybody) can stop her from getting that. The star of the show, however, is Manny Patinkin. His Inigo Montoya is iconic in every sense of the word and his subplot of revenge is a large driving force of the film. He's superb as the Spainard seeking vengeance against the Six-Fingered Man (Christopher Guest), and every line he mentions is immediately quotable, especially, of course, the "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" line. His partner in crime, Fezzik, is played by Andre the Giant, a man so unique in size and nature that you can't help but remember him. The duo's pairing leads to a large part of the film's humor and seeing them work off of each other is magnificent. The Princess Bride also has incredible supporting actors, from Wallace Shawn's off the hinges, "Inconceivable" shouting Sicilian, Vizzini, to Chris Sarandon's ultimate jerk, Humperdink, who gives you absolutely nothing to cheer for. Oh, and there's a hilarious Billy Crystal thrown in the mix. 

He's onscreen for maybe five minutes, and each second is side-splitting funny. 

There's so much charm and humor to The Princess Bride that it's incredibly hard not to love. Whenever I've told anyone that it's my favorite movie, I usually get an odd look of "Okay...?" or a huge smile in agreement. It's almost universally loved and referenced and all of the fans of the film (that I know) are die-hard lovers of the movie. I can't begin to express in words how much I love this movie. It's unique and original and full of energy, imagination, and life, and captures a feeling very, very few films have been able to accomplish. In the past, I always thought I was bias when talking about this film, as it's my favorite, but after re-watching it on the screen with a theater packed full of fans like me, I am now more certain than ever that The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies ever made. 

Overall: 10/10


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At September 12, 2012 at 10:39 PM , Blogger Nikhat said...

Absolutely fabulous choice for favourite film ever. I adore this film. It's so funny and smart and entertaining. Endlessly quotable and great characters. You can't not love this film.

At September 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM , Blogger Nick said...

You should have seen me in the theater.. I was all giddy and antsy lol. There was a giveaway too and I won a poster for knowing the trivia behind the movie! BOOYAH.

At September 13, 2012 at 6:14 AM , Blogger MT said...


At September 13, 2012 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Indeed. Indeed.

At September 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM , Blogger Sati. said...

Awesome review! i saw this one long time ago and really liked it, it may be the time for rewatch!

At September 13, 2012 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Nick said...

There's always time for The Princess Bride! lol

At September 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Brian said...

Great review! I think one of the best parts about this movie is that it's tough to pick a favorite character. Inigo, Fezzik, Miracle Max, Peter Falk...who do you pick?! Awesome movie. Glad you got to see it on the big screen!

At September 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I know! Everyone's so lovable it's hard to choose. I've always been an Inigo guy but Fezzik and Westley both give him a run for his money.

At September 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM , Anonymous ruth said...

I'm not in love with this movie as much as other people, but it certainly was enjoyable. Too bad Cary Elwes' career took a dive since.

At September 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I know! Seeing it again reminded me of how great he was and made me really sad to see where he is today. Robin Hood Men in Tights is great, but nowhere near as good as The Princess Bride.


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