"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.
Prepare to die." -Inigo Montoya
What is there left to be said about The
Princess Bride that
hasn't already been said? A modern day
classic, this film is one of those rare treats where very young
adults can watch it and both have a very enjoyable time.
It's a comic fairy tale that is both larger
than life and yet intimate. A film that,
as the grandfather announces at the beginning, has "fencing, fighting,
revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, [and] miracles." Oh yeah, and it's funny. Laugh
out loud funny. Now MGM has released this
on Blu-ray and I'm happy to report that it looks wonderful, much better
has ever looked on home video, and has a fairly complete set of extras
it a great disc to add to any collection.
The story, in case you're one of the few who hasn't seen the
film already, centers on a simple farm girl, Buttercup.
She lived a pastoral life on her family's
land that was worked by a farm hand, Westley.
Buttercup took great joy in ordering Westley around and giving
work to do, but as time past she realized that she loved him, and he
Vowing to send for her when he had made his fortune, Westley
set out for the new world by sea, only to be killed when his ship was
by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup
took the news rather badly and vowed to never love again.
But sorrow brought out the best in Buttercup's complexion
and she was soon regarded as the most beautiful maiden in the land. The countries prince, Humperdinck, takes
notice and decides to marry the young lass.
She has no feelings for the prince but consents anyway.
Just before their marriage Buttercup is kidnapped by three
men: an expert swordsman, a huge muscle
bound man who is described as a "land mass", and a Sicilian genius. They've been hired by Humperdinck to take the
princess and carry her to the neighboring country and kill her so he
her death as an excuse to invade. While
carrying out his orders, the trio discovers that they are,
followed by a man in a black mask.
Incredibly strong, intelligent, and cunning, the masked man
manages to gain on the criminals, but what is his objective?
From the Shrieking Eels and the swordfight on the Cliffs of
Insanity to the flight through the Fire Swamp
and the dangers of
the Lightning Sand (not to mention the R.O.U.S,) this is a rollicking
yarn. If it were a straight fairy tale
however, it might be cheesy or overblown.
Luckily it's not. This is a
comedy, through and through, and the humor works really well, even 20+
later. It's not juvenile or gross out
humor either, but wonderful satire that will elicit laughs from the
I read the book long before the movie was made, and the
first time I saw it I wasn't expecting much.
Most film adaptations are only pale imitations of the book
on but this movie is the rare exception.
Goldman, an Academy Award winning screenwriter knew exactly how
his novel. Somewhat ironically, the best
parts in the book are not the highlights of the movie.
The sword fight on the Cliffs of Insanity was
a bit more exciting in my head, and much more humorous since the man in
mask only covered the top half of his head.
(In the book it covered all of his face so he had to describe
expressions to his opponent.) The
sections where the book dragged a bit were some of the best bits in the
however. The visit to Miracle Max's
being one part that stands out.
A lot of the reason the film is so enjoyable all these years
later is for the perfect casting. The
lead actors all do a wonderful job, but even the small parts have
talent who manage to steal their scenes.
As mentioned earlier, Miracle Max, played by Billy Crystal, is
uproariously funny and gives one of the best performances in the film. The priest is played by Peter Cook who gives
it his all, and Christopher Guest is brilliant as the six-fingered
Count. An amazing cast all around.
The Blu-ray Disc:
This disc comes in a standard Blu-ray case. As
Disney has been doing lately, MGM has
included a DVD copy of the film too.
The AVC encoded 1.85:1 image looks very good. Better
than I was expecting in fact. The first
things that you notice about the
transfer are the gorgeous greens of the forest and countryside and the
earth tones of the farm. The colors are
vivid and bright without looking like they've been artificially boosted. Flesh tones look particularly realistic and
pleasing. The colorful costumes in the
court and at the wedding pop nicely.
The level of detail is very good with close ups being
particularly impressive. Background
features are sharp and that makes scenes like Miracle Max's home even
interesting to watch. A few long shots
were a bit softer than I was hoping but that's a minor quibble.
Digitally the movie also looks good. There
is a fine amount of grain present which
thankfully hasn't been eliminated with noise reduction or any other
trickery. There was a touch of banding
in a couple of scenes but it was minor.
Aliasing, blocking, and other compression flaws and not present.
This film comes with a nice DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless
soundtrack. This has never been a film
to test the limits of your sound system, but the mix here is effective. Most of the action takes place in the front
of the soundstage though the rears are used very effectively in some
scenes. When Buttercup is in the water
being attacked by Shrieking Eels, for example, the creatures can be
circling the room as they swim around in the darkness on the screen. Similarly there are some nice surround
effects in the fire swamp, but overall the front does most of the work. The dialog is clear and easy to understand
(with the exception of Andre who sometimes mumbles his lines) and the
a nice range.
This film has seen its share of DVD releases. It's
been released on DVD no less than four
different times, each one with a different assortment of bonus material. (Of course.)
This Blu-ray release collects the best of those earlier extras
includes them on the disc only omitting a few lesser items.
First off there are two commentary tracks, one by director
Rob Reiner and the second by writer William Goldman.
While both tracks drag in places and have
more than enough dead air time, they're both worth listening to and are
with some great anecdotes and behind the scenes stories.
Reiner's is a bit more technical as he talks
about making the film, the budget concerns, and working with the actors. I enjoyed Goldman's track a bit more. He talks about the genesis of the book that
the movie was based on, earlier attempts to bring the book to the
his thoughts about the finished product.
The rest of the video features, with the exception of the
trailer, are presented in 480i/p and have been ported over from earlier
editions, but they are still nice to view anyway, though they
offer little replay value. The Art of
Fencing has an expert on swords and sword play talk about the
fight scenes and
the history of the weapons.
Next up is As You Wish, The Story of
Bride. This nearly
half-hour featurette has the cast and
crew talking about the movie and its creation and has a nice tribute to
the Giant. That's followed by Cary
Elwes Video Diary, about three minutes worth of behind the
scenes home video.
The Dread Pirate Roberts:
Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas is a comic look at pirates and
Roberts had a real-life counterpart.
After that is Fairytales and
Folklore, where the cast looks back on the
film and discusses why it has lasted so long.
Love is Like a Storybook
lasts a bit over 15 minutes and features
scholars talking about fairytales and how this film can be considered
The disc wraps up with Miraculous
Makeup, a look at how
Billy Crystal was transformed into the aged Miracle Max, Princess Bride: The Untold Tales
where the cast reminisces
some more (worth watching for Mandy Patinkin's story about crying when
the first rough cut of the film) and the theatrical trailer.
While there isn't anything new or exciting on this disc, it
does contain the best bonus material from the earlier four releases and
there really isn't much more to tell.
This is one of those rare films where everything
miraculously comes together just right and the whole is greater than
the sum of
its parts. A fun and entertaining film
that both young children and adults can enjoy, it belongs in every
collection. This Blu-ray disc makes the
film look better than it ever has before and it includes all of the
extras from the previous editions. That
makes this an easy disc to highly
images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not
represent the image quality on the disc.