The Princess Bride tries something bold by creating a brand-new, absolutely crazy fairy-tale. It is a endeavour worth trying though when it turns out as original and creative as this one does, with everything from giants, wizards and pirates, all designed to entertain a young boy (and the rest of us too).
Framed as a story within a story, The Princess Bride begins as a bedtime tale from a grandfather to a young boy but becomes a tale of a masked hero rescuing his young love from a kidnapping and eventual unwanted betrothal. The real joy of the movie is in the characters that are met along the way. From Andre the Giant as Fezzik, Billy Crystal as Miracle Max or even Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, each scene is alive with clever humour and sharp script which brings the world alive, appeals to the adults alongside the kids the movie is arguably aimed at while at the same time adding highly quotable dialogue.
These quotable moments, and some of the cooler moments in the film as a whole, are shared by lead Cary Elwes as hero Westley and his assassin counter-point Inigo Montoya, played with suave and skill by Mandy Patinkin. Their sword fight is a masterclass in choreography and the scenes involving the pair that follow, are some of the best of the movie.
It is a shame that this treatment doesn’t quite extend to the lead female. Robin Wright is a fantastic actress but feels wasted here as The Princess Bride of the title, and does very little but be a damsel-in-distress. A telling role which would need developing further if this film was to be released today.
You also can’t escape the feeling that the movie was written aimlessly, with little direction, feeling as if scenes and moments are just being “made-up” with no clue where the story should lead to. This means we get some very random moments which make little sense, from a bizarre walk through a large rat infested forest through to a strange torture device and a whole sequence in the film where the lead can’t do anything but talk. It seems to add random moment to random moment and you can’t help but feel like some of this is padding to ensure it reaches a desired runtime.
Overall, The Princess Bride is an inventive, funny and sharply-written story which takes advantage of the fantasy setting it has chosen. The characters are unique, the story interesting and some moments are very cool. At times it becomes a little too random but it is never less than entertaining.
Rating – 3.5
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