The Princess Bride (1987)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.6/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) - Rob Reiner

The fantasy genre is most known for its emphasis on creativity and imagination. Sadly, as time progressed, it has slowly drained itself of originality. So why not combine everything we love in movies in general and put it all in a fantasy? What if we incorporate comedy with adventure, romance with fairy tales? What if a movie came along loaded with "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, [and] miracles?" The result is Rob Reiner's 1987 masterpiece The Princess Bride.

Based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, The Princess Bride follows young woman Buttercup (Robin Wright), who falls in love with her farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes). Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who has a reputation for never leaving anyone alive. Years later, believing Westley is dead, Buttercup reluctantly agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). However, before the marriage, Buttercup finds herself kidnapped by three outlaws: Fezzik, a giant from Greenland, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a Spanish fencing master, and their Sicilian boss Vizzini (Wallace Shawn). To our greatest surprise, the outlaws are later pursued by a masked man in black, halfway in revealed to be Westley, still alive.

The film contains several characters, and it introduces all of them quickly. However, the charm and originality of each character is the first of two elements that drives Princess Bride forward so fluently. What's better than a giant with immeasurable strength but non-stop silliness in his head? What's better than a fencing master with a sense of humor, not to mention a great chemistry with the giant himself? And finally, what's better than watching a Sicilian who calls himself intelligent but is really a fool? Every single performance, excluding Elwes, is magnificent and spellbinding. From their personalities to their bodily ticks, each character possesses a memorable and nostalgic value to themselves. Prince Humperdinck delivers contrived intimidation.  Leave it to Sarandon's laughable face to do all the work, revealing his stupidity and inexperience in being a prince. Truly, he is the antithesis of one, the real prince being Westley throughout this narrative. Inigo's honor and respect to even his opponents mark him as a worthy character with a great spirit. As for Fezzik the Giant, hell, even his own voice composes half of the humor. And do not forget the quotable lines that Vizzini constantly pulls, notably his exaggerated comment "Inconceivable!" Though I agree with Inigo's curiosity as to whether or not Vizzini actually knows the meaning of the word, I cannot help but shout the catchy term myself in my daily life as a sign of cultural influence.

Influential and unforgettable are the simplest adjectives I can use to describe the second element that drivesThe Princess Bride forward: the screenplay. In questioning the film's loyalty to its source material, I was astounded already within the first five minutes. The story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson. Although certain audience members can find this old-fashioned and possibly even corny, this method of narrative effectively preserves the original novel's narrative style. Furthermore, this chosen form of narrative creates deeper engagement as well as interest. The pacing of the film is stable, knowing when to slow down and when to speed up. Like a musician, it bears its own unique form of rhythm, confident in its delivery from the very beginning. Incorporate that with some of the most renowned lines of dialogue in movie history and we are given one of my favorite movie screenplays ever. Without a doubt, The Princess Bride stands as one of the most quotable movies of all time, from simple catch phrases to the most uproariously funny monologues. Its tone is amusing yet it shifts back and forth to satisfy a much larger audience than its predicted target audience. As mentioned before, the film has almost everything an audience wants, from fencing to fighting, romance to revenge. Similar to George Lucas' Star Wars, it has a little bit of everything to please the world. As a response, it has earned itself the position of a cult classic, and rightfully deserves it.

In conclusion, The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies of all time, thanks to its beloved characters and masterful screenplay and dialogue. It is a delight to watch, ranging from swashbuckling action to laugh-out-loud comedy. Loaded with great wit and cleverness, The Princess Bride stands as the most entertaining deconstruction of the fairy tale genre, a film of remarkable craftsmanship. There is a variety of "perfect" fantasy stories in this world, particularly The Wizard of Oz or even Alice in Wonderland, but to say that one has never heard, seen, or enjoyed The Princess Bride, that would be downright inconceivable.


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