The Princess Bride 25TH Anniversary Edition (1987)
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Written by: William Goldman
Starring: Andre The Giant, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Peter Falk, Robin Wright Penn, Wallace Shawn
The Hughes Verdict!
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die
One of the best moments of being a critic for HCF is when my letterbox flapped open and the sound of a DVD dropped onto my floor, a usual occurrence, but this time, I knew what that film was going to be and this time, it wasn’t a DVD disc.
With a huge wave of excitement, finally in my hands was the Blu-Ray of one of the greatest movies of all time! A film that for many of an older generation, was thee film to watch in their childhood. A loveable fairytale that many years later, a certain Shrek owed so much too. Yes, I am talking about The Princess Bride and if you haven’t never clapped eyes on it, then stop reading and get that sorted now!
Before I get into the film and how it looks like in shiny Blu-ray, I suppose I better talk about the plot, even though I find it totally bizarre that there is not one film fan out there who may not know what The Princess Bride is all about!
The Wonder Years star Fred Savage is sick in bed and bored so his loving grandfather, the late Peter Falk decides to read him a story. Picking up a storybook called (you guessed it) The Princess Bride. Columbo, sorry….the Grandfather starts to read, to the disgust of his grandson who thinks its going to be boring. Unknown to him and the viewer of the film, the story he is about to tell is, ends up being a tale that to this day is up there as the greatest ever told.
Basically, The Princess Bride is all about a love story, sounds boring? but its not! The grand theme of True Love is something that the now famous loveable ogre found with Fiona a few years later. Here we have the much pretty Buttercup (Robin Wright-Penn) who is secretly in love with the farm help Westley (Cary Elwes), but like all stories, true love doesn’t run smooth and soon Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of henchmen all played with relish and delight by the never better Wallace Shawn, the late Andre the Giant and of course Mandy Patinkin. Add the standard evil Prince in the shape of the wonderfully named Humperdinck (Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon), the brilliant six-fingered Count Rugen (Spinal Tap’s Christopher Guest) and of course with Westley running to her rescue, what we have is a glorious simple tale that is a must see for film fans.
In an age now where most comedies need to be filled with gross out sex gags and surreal situations, The Princess Bride is one of those rare beasts where the dialogue is rich full of intelligence and laughs, where the humour reaches all level of ages. You only have to look back at the much recent Your Highness, which had the bold intention of hoping to be better than this film, but got it hopelessly wrong by not focusing on a good plot, but instead the filling the running time full of visual sex gags that would not have been remotely funny way back before the craze started.
By keeping it simple, The Princess Bride is such a blast! Easy on the eye and wonderfully directed by the then on form Rob Reiner, its amazing to think that this film is now twenty five years old! A love letter to all fairy tales, even watching it now, the film has not aged once, the gags still work, the tale still feels fresh, its a joyous achievement to all those involved and for those who will discover the film for the very first time!
So with all this praise, how does the film stand up on Blu-Ray?
Firstly for those who owned the 20th anniversary addition on DVD will find not much difference. The screen is a bit clearer and it does look good for a 25 year old film, but its nothing to make you go “WOW!” so if you do still own the DVD, then maybe you need to think twice before spending your money as the extras also may leave you scratching your head!
We do get an all new chat with Cary Elwes, Robin Wright and Rob Reiner who lavish praise and quite rightly on their film. Also a new bonus called “ENTERING THE ZEITGEIST” which explores how the film has entered the pop culture over the years. Nothing that no fan will not have known anyway.
The rest are just bonus features that we have seen on previous DVD releases. Some Audio Commentaries, a Video Diary, Makeup, Retrospective and Production Feaurette’s and really nothing much else unless you interested in the Art of Fencing and some Untold Tales which if you are a diehard fan, you probably know. Criminally, there are also some bonus features missing from previous released additions which makes you wonder why the studio did not really go to town and release a 25th disk with the ultimate mission to make it the thee one to own!
But then, you are not buying The Princess Bride for the extras. You buying it because like many out there, you have discovered a rare beauty of a film that instantly finds love in your heart. Many films have unfairly been labled classics, but The Princess Bride is one. A tale that will always find a whole new generation of lovers, a tale that never gets old and one you will find yourself rewatching over and over……..