I knew I wouldn’t get away without mentioning this classic. Seeing this film for the umpteenth time, I couldn’t help but continue to marvel at all the artistic prowess given to make this film. Even the worst aspect of the film, its flat-out fake sets, enhances the sensation of a timeless fairytale. Perhaps it begins like a typical fairy tale about a peasant girl and a marriage, but soon, Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride quickly side-steps and beats its own trail with a quick twist of evil and amazing subplots. A personal favorite and acclaimed classic, Princess Bride contains many of the most quoted lines ever in the history of film along with memorably choreographed duels and rich characters.
Westley (Cary Elwes, an unknown actor who later went on to star in other popular films, a dashing farm boy, falls in love with a peasant girl, Buttercup (Robin Wright). Sadly, a misfortune takes him, leaving Buttercup broken-hearted, even when an arrogant and conceited Prince Humperdinck (Christopher Guest) discovers and chooses her as his bride. However, before the marriage, she is kidnapped by three eccentric, disproportionate pirates: Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the leader; Fezzik (André the Giant), the clumsy, wisdom-speaking idiot; and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), the wisest of the three.
Then, like typical fairy tales, it poses the question that can be readily answered with a “no”: is Westley actually dead? He, disguised in black, chases these three desperados to recover his lost love in a perilous hunt. During this exhausting journey to fight back for his love, we observe a good number of passionate kisses (hey, it’s a romance) and hilariously scripted and well-choreographed duels (enough to make you forget of the horrific set pieces), though none are as frightening as the Forest and Westley’s torture scenes as the undertakings are slightly painful and disturbing. But as we receive the assuring company of a grandfather narrating the story to us, it helps soothe the anxiety of the tale. But then again, an unexpected strong obscenity near the end is heard. However, due to its characteristic fairy tale formula, its virtues surely dwarfed the negative as it allowed the clear distinction between good and evil with the respective, evident deeds of each side shining.
Still, this already colorful film is sprinkled by colorful subplots, like Inigo’s father and revenge, fitting in perfectly and even aiding the story. Maybe Vizzini’s famous “inconceivable!” may have been blown up by fans into one whole subplot itself already. As one of the few films I own, I rank this among my favorites. As the narrator in the trailer truthfully states, it’s “not just your basic, average, every day, ordinary, one-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairytale.” Whether seeing this for the first or millionth time, with or without a loved one, The Princess Bride definitively lives up to all its “inconceivableness.”