The Princess Bride DVD Review
The Dread Pirate Edition 2-Disc DVD Set (1987)
The Princess Bride was written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner. It is presented as a story being told by a grandfather, Peter Falk to his grandson, young Fred Savage. It is a story of fencing, revenge, giants, magic, and true love! Cary Elwes plays Westley, a poor farmboy in love with a beautiful maiden named Buttercup played by Robin Wright (before she was Robin Wright Penn).
This cast is amazing! Cary Elwes is so handsome in his youth and his sense of humor is so keen. He is very charismatic and guys and girls alike will cheer for him in his quest. Robin Wright is beautiful and vulnerable and you couldn’t ask for a better damsel in distress. Mandy Patinkin plays Inigo Montoya, a fencer seeking revenge for the death of his father and puts so much conviction into his performance that his lines are easily the most quoted of the film. Andre the Giant plays Fezzik, a role that Goldman always envisioned him playing. No one else could play the role of this gentle giant the way he did. Wallace Shawn uses his grating voice with skill as Vizzini, the master mind behind the trio. He is one of the funniest characters of the film. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane make hysterical appearances to help out Fezzik and Inigo. Chris Sarandon plays Prince Humperdinck who wishes to marry the Princess and speaks with a melodic tone at all times practically singing his lines with his royal-ness. Christopher Guest plays his Count Rugen, the six-fingered man Inigo seeks revenge against. It is basically a dream team of an ensemble that weaves together like a beautiful tapestry.
The book was written with a sense of humor as William Goldman pledged to tell only the good parts of the story. The flow of the picture is occasionally interrupted by comments by the grandfather and grandson, but it only keeps you more involved when you go back to the fairy tale. It is actually difficult to explain what makes this movie so great to someone who hasn’t seen it, but I will try. It has a love story so pure that no one can break it and it manages to do this without being a mushy turnoff because there is danger and a princess to save and great funny moments along the way. It has a sword fight being backed up by witty dialogue that is so engaging, it is often quoted. All the fairy tale elements that you might want in a well-rounded story appear to be here and is told in a very funny and touching way. This is one of those movies that old and young can enjoy together.
The first disc includes the movie and two tracks of commentary: one with Rob Reiner, the director and one with William Goldman, the writer. You learn a lot about how much fencing training Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did and how Andre the Giant had trouble reading so Reiner recorded all his lines on audio for him to learn. Also Andre the Giant, as large as he was being a professional wrestler, he had a terrible back and special Hollywood tricks had to be used for some of his stunts. There are documentaries, an updated version called “As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride” and it also includes an older vintage documentary included on an earlier DVD. One of the featurettes is chronicling the Dread Pirate Roberts and historical speculation on his origins with a cameo of someone familiar pretending to be a historian amongst the actual experts. These along with Cary Elwes’ Home Movies focus a great deal on how special Andre the Giant was and how much fun everyone had on the set. One section focuses on make-up, there is an extensive photo gallery, and a really short collective booklet that is supposed to be a guide to Florin. The silliest extra is probably the Battle of Wits Trivia Game where if you answer correctly, you’ll hear Wallace Shawn’s voice screech, “Inconceivable!” This is a great DVD for a collector and covers a lot of the basics you’d want in DVD extras along with stuffing in some stuff you probably don’t need at much, but are just for fun.