The Princess Bride

8 Mar

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The Princess Bride is a film adaptation of William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name. To ensure that the narrative style of that story remains, the film is presented as a grandfather reading the story to his poorly grandson. The young boy is initially not interested in the book, worried that it may be a “kissing story”, but Granddad knows best, so the boy must hear the tale. As it happens, it turns out to be quite enjoyable.

Our real story begins in a fictional country called Florin. We are introduced to a a young lady called Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her obedient farmhand Westley (Carl Elwes). The two realise quickly that they have fallen madly in love with each other and want to marry. However to afford the wedding, Westley must leave to earn his fortune. Word gets back to Buttercup that her love has been killed by the widely-feared Pirate, and she vows to never love again. (SORT OF SPOILER – we haven’t seen the last of Westley).

Five years pass in the blink of an eye and heart-broken Buttercup has been chosen to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) – thus becoming The Princess Bride of the title. As she promised, she does not love him and does not want to marry him.

What follows is a fun tale bringing together elements of comedy, adventure and romance. The fun of the story lies in the relationships between the main protagonists. We’re introduced along the way to Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a Spaniard extremely skilled in the art of sword fighting. He’s seeking vengeance against a six-fingered man who murdered Inigo’s father 20 years ago. Along with Fezzik (Andre The Giant), he teams up with a certain returning hero to try and save the Princess from her unwanted marriage.

The film has good performances all round. It’s all slightly over-the-top, which is just what is called for in a family flick like this. Cary Elwes is good as the main protagonist, bringing heart to his heroic role in rekindling and saving lost love. Robin Wright also offers a good performance as the princess. At this risk of underselling them, ‘good’ is the best word I can use to describe their performances. They do exactly what is required of them and you’ll enjoy watching their performances.

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My favourite character, and performance, was Inigo Montoya. Away from the romance and main story, I found his story arc to be the most fun. His role in the film is one sparked by tragedy, and more than any other character he was the one I was routing for throughout. Patinkin is excellent in the role. Montoya is fun, intelligent and on a deadly revenge mission. What’s not to love about that?

It has to be said that as one of the key supporting characters, Andre The Giant offers little. But then, given that his role is basically to be in the picture being big, I suppose he does it perfectly by default.

The Princess Bride is an enjoyable enough film. In all honestly, I can’t say I loved it in the way that those who recommended it to me seem to, but maybe that’s because it is essentially a kids film that I viewed for the first time aged 24. At it’s core, it’s a standard fairytale that translates well enough into a movie. The special effects and props don’t hold up well when viewed today (check out the Shrieking Eel and the massive rodents), but there’s enough here to keep you entertained and will surely still be loved by children watching for the first time.

7/10

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