Director Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride is a gently amusing, affectionate pastiche of a medieval fairytale adventure, offering a similar blend of warm, literate humour as his Stand By Me (1985) and When Harry Met Sally (1989). Adapted from his own novel, William Goldman's script plays with the conventions of such 1980s fantasies as Ladyhawke and Legend (both 1985), and with the budget never allowing for spectacle, sensibly concentrates on creating a gallery of memorable characters. Robin Wright makes a delightful Princess Buttercup, Cary Elwes is splendid as Westley... and "Dread Pirate Roberts", while Mandy Patinkin makes fine Spanish avenger. With winning support from Mel Smith, Peter Cook, Billy Crystal and Carol Kane there is sometimes a Terry Gilliam/Monty Python feel to the proceedings, and the whole film is beautifully shot, with a memorably romantic main theme by Mark Knopfler. Occasionally interrupted by Peter Falk as a grandfather reading the story to his grandson, The Princess Bride is an elegant post-modern family fable about storytelling itself; a theme found in other 1980s films The Neverending Story (1984) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). A modest, small-scale work that manages to be both cynically modern and genuinely romantic all at once. As charming as you wish. On the DVD: The 1.77:1 anamorphic transfer is strong, if not quite as detailed as it might be. Colours lack just a little solidity and some scenes evidence a fair amount of grain. Released theatrically in Dolby stereo, the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix spreads the sound effectively across the front speakers but makes very little use of the rear channels indeed. Extras are limited to filmographies of five of the leading actors, and a 4:3 presentation of the theatrical trailer, which gives far too many of the film's surprises away.--Gary S Dalkin [show more]
A wonderful off-beat comedy. Fairytales might not be your thing, yet you may well enjoy this film as clichés of the genre are gently exposed, while not condemning them either.
Some excellent scripting is also in evidence - listen out for Vizzini's and Inigo's lines - and Fezzick is a lovable gentle giant. In fact, the supporting roles steal the show here, although the main players hardly do badly. Oh, and Peter Cook makes a cameo appearance as an incredibly boring clergyman...a role he probably rather enjoyed.
Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) wrote the music for this film, and while it's not his most impressive piece of music, it nonetheless contributes to the generally pleasant atmosphere.
Don't expect to be bowled over by incredible special effects, or a fast-moving, gag-a-minute storyline, but The Princess Bride is still definitely worth watching!
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