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The Princess Bride(1987)
In the fairytale adventure 'The Princess Bride', a young boy falls ill and is read a legendary bedtime story by his visiting grandfather that immediately comes to life. The story is a classic tale of love and adventure as the beautiful Buttercup is kidnapped and held against her will in order to marry the odious Prince Humperdinck. Her childhood beau Westley, now known as the Dread Pirate Roberts, attempts to save her. On the way he meets an accomplished swordsman, a super strong giant and a few bad guys to rescue Princess Buttercup.
For more about The Princess Bride and the The Princess Bride Blu-ray release, see the The Princess Bride Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 28, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon (I), Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn
Director: Rob Reiner
» See full cast & crew
The Princess Bride Blu-ray Review
Hello. I am 'The Princess Bride' on Blu-ray. You have not purchased me. Prepare to buy.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 28, 2009
When I was your age, television was called "books."
A genre-twisting and audience-bending film if there was ever one, The Princess Bride is the quintessential Fairy Tale come to celluloid life. Few other films enjoy such a broad spectrum of fans, from hopeless romantics to Action-first tough guys; the Star Wars films come to mind as another example that draws such a diverse following. The Princess Bride takes traditional storytelling themes -- romance, adventure, revenge, and comedy -- and melds them into a film so unique, so captivating, so magical, and so fun, that it's no wonder it has become a cultural phenomenon with staying power quite unlike anything else in modern cinema history. By film's end, hardcore Action fans will be grinning from ear to ear when the day is won and the "most passionate kiss of all time" is put on display, and Romance aficionados will find themselves cheering on the film's heroes as they engage in daring swordplay. The Princess Bride not only offers a little bit of everything, it offers a little bit of everything superbly and exactly melded into a single, cohesive tale that couldn't have been more precise in its dosage of each element had a man of the most dizzying of intellects assembled the picture one bit at a time.
A young boy (Fred Savage, The Wizard) is sick and his grandfather (Peter Falk, TV's "Columbo") arrives to pinch his cheek and cheer him up with a good book. The book is The Princess Bride, a fairy tale that had better contain sports and action if the boy's interest is to be held. Although the story is initially about a young farm boy named Westley (Cary Elwes, Glory) falling in love with the fair maiden Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn, Unbreakable), it quickly morphs into a tale of unparalleled adventure, witty comedy, revenge, and swordplay. When Westley heads out to fund his wedding to Buttercup and never returns, the girl is forced to become engaged to the evil Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon, Child's Play). Meanwhile, a trio of misfits -- the pseudo-intellectual Vizzini (Wallace Shawn, Toy Story), the massive Fezzik (the late wrestling star Andre the Giant), and the expert swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin, Alien Nation) -- kidnap Buttercup in hopes of beginning a war between two rival countries, Guilder and Florin. Their plan is thwarted when they find themselves pursued by a man in a black mask, bent on retrieving Buttercup from their clutches. As the story develops, identities are revealed, long-lost loves are revived, and old wounds are healed as enemies become allies in an effort to restore right in Florin.
It seems only appropriate that the story of The Princess Bride is beheld through the eyes of a young boy whose interests include the Chicago Bears, Star Wars, He-Man, and video games. Fred Savage's character is the audience. He reflects the thought processes of the average man for sure, initially reluctant and possibly even repulsed at the mere idea of enduring a tale as effeminate as one entitled The Princess Bride. As the story progresses, as the sappy romance of the opening pages becomes a page-turning tale of danger, desperation, revenge, honor, and dignity, all with a heaping dose of levity thrown in for good measure, it soon becomes evident that this tale is no Jane Austen-wannabe in disguise. Quite the opposite in fact, The Princess Bride is breezy, quick, and easily accessible, the sort of movie that mesmerizes not because of its intricacies but rather through its charming and undemanding simplicities. This is the sort of film where everything -- literally -- comes together in pitch-perfect harmony. The film enjoys inspired performances from each and every member of the cast as they portray characters that demand both physical coordination and spot-on comedic timing; the script is witty, fun, and fresh, and even more than 20 years after its release, The Princess Bride remains as quotable as ever with its too-numerous-to-count memorable lines; and the efforts of those behind the camera -- Director Rob Reiner (This is Spinal Tap) and Grammy-nominated Composer Mark Knopfler (Wag the Dog) in particular -- solidify the film by creating for it a look and feel as innocent and charming as the script and the performances.
Above all else, though, it is truly the performances of the cast that make The Princess Bride a complete success. Their understanding of the roles, grasp of the tone, flawless comedic timing, dramatic and slightly over-exaggerated body language, and camaraderie make for one of cinema's best ensemble casts. Cary Elwes delivers an engaging performance as hero-turned-villain(sort of)-turned-hero, showcasing a range where he at one moment engages in daring swordplay and enters into a battle of intellect the next. His character is the embodiment of all that is good -- dedicated, passionate, strong, relentless, intelligent, and honorable -- and Elwes never misses a beat in emoting each one. Mandy Patinkin turns in, arguably, the film's most memorable role as the single-minded Inigo Montoya, bent on revenge and displaying unflinching courage and skill no matter the opponent. Andre the Giant's performance as Fezzik may not be the stuff of acting legend, but his enormous stature and strength is matched only by the size of his heart. He's soft-spoken and strong, meager yet menacing, and a joy to watch in every scene. Robin Wright Penn is delectable as Princess Buttercup. She's the prototypical damsel in distress, one who knows what she wants and needs but cannot fend for herself without the help of her one true love at her side. Lastly, Wallace Shawn inconceivably steals the show as Vizzini, a man whose intellect puts the great philosophers of ancient Greece to shame, or so he thinks. Surly a man as intelligent as he need not surround himself with an expert swordsman and a hulk of a man to win the day. The superiority of his intellect is matched only by the shine of his head, and Shawn, in a rather brief role, serves as the ultimate in comic relief, his character's levity coming across loud, clear, and unmistakable in a film that otherwise derives many of its laughs from far more subtle and low-key dialogue and visuals.
The Princess Bride Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Princess Bride debuts on Blu-ray with a fine 1080p transfer framed inside its native 1.85:1-window. This Blu-ray transfer offers a nice, noticeable improvement over the DVD. The image is consistently strong, sharp, and clear, with well-defined textures and many eye-catching details. The image remains stable in exhibiting fine clarity in both the foreground and background of most every frame. Particularly impressive are the richly-adorned fabrics worn by the players. Each reveals all of the stitches and adornments nicely, and the varied colors of each, from more earthy tones to vivid reds and purples, sparkle. Likewise, the lush green terrains seen throughout the movie offer a natural, pleasant appearance that both reveal fine amounts of detail -- often down to individual blades of grass -- and fantastic color. A layer of grain over the entirety of the image adds a good cinematic feel to the transfer. Although a few speckles and pops creep up from time to time over the print, this remains a strong, eye-catching and generally first-rate transfer sure to please longtime fans of the film. This is a fabulous transfer from MGM, a fine example of a catalogue title done right.
The Princess Bride Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Princess Bride features a solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The surround speakers work to strong effect through parts of the film; the "eel" sequence in chapter five features the shrieking creatures swimming and screaming around the soundstage as the music swells to a pitch. Elsewhere in the film, wind swirls about, enveloping the listener and practically placing a chill in the room. Bass rumbles here and there, the "fire swamp" sequence in chapter eleven a fine example of the generally subtle yet highly effective lows that come into play several times throughout the film. However, the front three speakers handle much of the track to fine effect. Music plays clearly and accurately across the front, and dialogue is delivered crisply and accurately through the center channel. The Princess Bride has never sounded better at home.
The Princess Bride Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Princess Bride comes to Blu-ray with a wealth of bonus materials spread over two discs. Two commentaries headline the package, the first with Director Rob Reiner. This track is interesting in its information but somewhat dull in its delivery. Reiner shares plenty of fascinating tidbits about both the movie and the people and things around it, including the original book on which it is based and a run-in with John Gotti and one of his henchman. Despite its rather dry tone, it's worth a listen. Track two features William Goldman, author of the novel and screenwriter of the film. This track, too, is not breezily delivered, but it has a bit more life and spunk than the director track. It features plenty of fun and interesting information amongst some moments of silence. The writer discusses behind-the-scenes anecdotes, some lines he would have written differently, the casting, and more. The Art of Fencing (480p, 7:07) features Sword Master Robert Goodwin and others discussing the art of the sword fight, the craftsmanship of the swords, the purposes, styles, and honor of the duel, and the importance of good training. As You Wish: The Story of 'The Princess Bride' (480p, 27:17) is a very good piece that features cast and crew recounting the story, its themes, varied styles, the history behind the book and the production, the sets and locations, and plenty more.
Cary Elwes Video Diary (480p, 3:55) features behind-the-scenes video footage and stories from the set, narrated by Elwes and Robin Wright Penn. The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas (480p, 11:43) is an easy and lighthearted piece with a comic edge that looks at attempts to discover the real-life basis for the Dread Pirate Roberts character. Fairytales and Folklore (480p, 9:16) features the cast, crew, and others looking back at what makes the movie work and why the Fairy Tale remains a staple of literature. Love is Like a Storybook (480p, 16:43) is another piece that looks at the history of Fairy Tales and how all of the genre's motifs come together in The Princess Bride. Miraculous Make-Up (480p, 11:22) is a piece that examines the film's prosthetics. Princess Bride: The Untold Tales (480p, 9:06) looks at the film's lasting legacy, the making of some sequences, the inspired casting, and more. Concluding the supplements on disc one is the film's theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:19). Disc two offers both a DVD version of the film and several supplements, three of which -- Princess Bride: The Untold Stories, The Art of Fencing, and Fairytales and Folklore -- also appear on disc one. The only unique extra here is a game entitled True Love and High Adventure: The Official 'Princess Bride' Game. Players must complete a series of rhymes by choosing the right answer from a series of three, punch eels, and steer a ship to collect gems and save the princess.
The Princess Bride Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Simply stated, The Princess Bride is a fabulous movie. It's a movie with just about everything and for everyone. Combining elements of romance, adventure, heroism, and levity, nary a moment passes where the film exudes nothing less than sheer movie magic. With inspired performances; a witty, quotable, and smart script; superb direction; and a memorable score, what's not to like? The Princess Bride debuts on Blu-ray courtesy of MGM with stellar results. The video transfer alone is sufficient reason to upgrade from the DVD, but the studio has seen fit to also provide fans with a fine lossless soundtrack and plenty of bonus materials, not to mention a copy of the film on standard definition DVD for viewing when and where a Blu-ray player may not yet be available. Longtime fans who have owned The Princess Bride on every other format will no doubt make this a permanent addition to the collection, and newcomers wondering what the fuss is all about can't go wrong with what is easily the definitive edition of the film to date. The Princess Bride comes both highly recommended and as you wish. Inconceivable!
The Princess Bride: Other Editions
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The Princess Bride Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - March 17th - March 17, 2009
Films which fit into the "romantic comedy" genre typically favor one quality or the other. They are either romantic films with comedic highlights, or conversely, comedies with a romantic story. It is a rare film, such as 'The Princess Bride' that can gently walk ...
• Princess Bride Announced for Blu-ray - February 4, 2009
MGM Home Entertainment in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced that they will bring the Rob Reiner film 'The Princess Bride' to Blu-ray on March 17th. Video will be presented in 1.85:1 1080p AVC accompanied by a 5.1 DTS-HD Master ...
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