Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride, starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn, is considered one of the 80s' classic films. I am actually embarassed to say that I have never seen it until this point. Now, however, I can attest to its awesomeness.
It's the classic spoof fairy tale. The story that everyone knows. The evil prince wants the beautiful girl that rose from rags to riches. She wants the commoner over the prince because she is in love with the commoner and not the prince. Anything for love. The commoner outsmarts the prince and his goons with the help of his brutish comic relief side kicks. In the end, the prince is a coward, and the commoner is victorious. He rescues the damsel in distress, and all is right with the world.
This story describes an innumerable array of fairy tales. So why is this film that uses that template so popular as a film in the 80s aimed at teenagers and adults?
Because, just like the 80s, it's completely cracked. If it weren't Rob Reiner, it would be an obvious Mel Brooks film.
It's difficult to even discuss this movie in terms of the plot, though, because it is truly the characters that make it. Wesley's cunning. Inigo's combination of savageness and manners. Fezzik's melding of brute strength and gentleness. Humperdink's crooked cowardice. And, of course, any cameo by Billy Crystal is bound to be hilarious.
The way the story is told is also clever. It is told as a grandfather telling the story to his grandson in modern times. Typically, it is not men from Chicago that are interested in fairy tales. But that's what makes it ironic and, in itself, humorous.
This is a truly remarkable film. To describe its majesty, it only takes 12 words:
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed by father. Prepare to die." Brilliant.