Movie of the Month: The Princess Bride

I recently started reading the book version of The Princess Bride by William Goldman who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. I’d seen the movie way before I even knew it was a book. But reading this book reminded me of why I fell in love with this movie and this story in the first place. I don’t know what’s not to love about this movie – there’s true love, sword fighting, adventure, torture, chases, passion, and humour. The Princess Bride is about the farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) and his adventures to rescue Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright).

The first thing you should know about this movie is that it’s actually really funny. I give this movie full credit for my sense of humour being the way it is. The dialogue in some scenes, especially the fencing battle on the Cliffs of Insanity, is just so witty and sassy it’s great. The best dialogue in the movie occurs on the Cliffs of Insanity between the Man in Black (later revealed to be Westley) and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin):

I don’t suppose you could speed things up?”

Man in Black:
“If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.”

“I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.”

Man in Black:
“That does put a damper on our relationship. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.”

Dry, sarcastic humour is my favourite. The way that Cary Elwes delivers some of his lines that aren’t even supposed to be funny just end up making me laugh. He clearly adds his own character and personality to the role of Westley. That’s what makes this such a fun movie to watch. It’s cleverly written and the dialogue makes it move along at a good pace.

This movie also just feels like a classic fantasy romance story but with more of an adventure. There’s ridiculous obstacles that need to be overcome for the guy to get the girl, like the fencing battle and the battle of wits and the Pit of Despair but it shows that there’s nothing that true love can’t overcome. It’s almost like a fairytale in that regard. But the story is not just about the guy getting the girl. There’s also the plot point of Inigo Montoya and his quest to hunt down the six fingered man to avenge his father’s death. Buttercup has to avoid marrying Prince Humperdinck. And there’s the story of the early criminal activities carried out by Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik. It’s a perfect blend of the character’s past and present. All the stories blend together so seamlessly to create one fantastic story.

I also enjoyed the sets and props in this movie. This movie was made in 1987 so it’s not quite up to the standards of 2017 cinematography. Cinematography has come a long way in 30 years. The fencing scene was clearly filmed in a gymnasium filled with styrofoam boulders because you can see the floor give way on some of the stunts and it’s obviously a gymnastics bar that Inigo flips himself over and you can see the bar bounce back. But that set was so elaborate and detailed, it looked like the actual top of a cliff, even if it was filmed in a gym. The R.O.U.S.s are also obviously not real but rather very large stuffed animals that look like rats that get thrown at Westley. While the obvious “fakeness” of some of the sets and props may bother some people I found it added to the overall humour of the movie, even though I don’t think it was supposed to. But watching this movie in the 2000s when you’ve become used to nice CGI, it is kind of funny when you see stuffed animals being thrown around. This movie was also supposed to be a fantasy, so not everything was going to be realistic.

If you’re looking for a fun movie to watch on a rainy afternoon or if you’re feeling sad, this movie is sure to lift your spirits. It’s funny, it’s a little sad, it’s heartwarming, it’s dramatic, and it’s a great story of true love.

What was your favourite movie this month? If you’ve seen The Princess Bride, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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