Thursday, July 7, 2011

768. The Princess Bride (1987)

Running Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: William Goldman, from his book
Main Cast: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest

REINER WEEK: PART 3

Continuing on in our quest to conquer the films of Rob Reiner that reside in the "1001" book, we come to the classic, that everyone seems to love, "The Princess Bride".

Buttercup (Wright) is a beautiful, blond damsel who lives on a farm in Florin. Also on the farm, is the farmhand Wesley (Elwes). Day after day Buttercup orders Wesley around, demanding that he fetch this or that. Wesley only ever responds with a simple reply, "as you wish". One day, Buttercup realizes that when Wesley says "as you wish", he is actually saying "I love you" and the two fall in love. Wesley, wanting to make the best life he can for his beloved Buttercup, leaves the farm in search of his fortune. While out to sea, Wesley's ship is captured by the dread Pirate Roberts and he is thought dead. Five years later, Buttercup is set to marry the Prince of Florin, but before the festivities can get underway she is kidnapped by Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) and his two henchmen: Inigo Montoya (Patankin), a Spaniard who wants nothing more than to avenge his father's death that occurred twenty years prior at the hands of a six fingered man and Fezzik (Andre the Giant), a giant...plain and simple. While Inigo and Fezzik don't agree with the underhanded tactics of their leader Vizzini, they go along with him. As they are in the process of taking Buttercup to the shores of Guilder (a neighboring town), where they will leave Buttercup, thus starting a war, they notice they are being tailed by a man in black. The man in black turns out to be Wesley and he cleverly makes short work of the trio, reuniting with his true love. But that's just the beginning...

Seriously, who doesn't like "The Princess Bride"...is there anyone? It's such an enjoyable film and it's so easy to fall in love with the characters and get wrapped up in the outlandish fantasy story. You can't help but laugh and be touched by at least some of the elements of the film. For me, I've always had a soft spot for Inigo Montoya. You can have all the Buttercup/Wesley parts and I'll take the Inigo/Fezzik parts. In fact, if my rating seems low, it's because there's such a big chunk of the film where the most interesting/funny character disappears, that being Inigo. But otherwise this just seems to be a film that everyone loves and most probably have sitting on their DVD shelves, so that when they go through a bad breakup or are just feeling blue, they can pop it in and laugh and fantasize for a couple hours. It's a good film for that.

For me, Reiner's films are good while they last. They're the types of films you can watch over and over, but in the end they're not really ones that you'd label as favorites, at least for me anyway. They each have characteristics all their own and Rob Reiner is definitely not a director who stays within a set genre. I mean, in just three films we've gone from rock mockumentary to solid drama based on a Stephen King novella to fantasy/comedy tale. After this we make our way to a romantic comedy with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan and it proves that Reiner is indeed a versatile man when it comes to making pictures. As far as "The Princess Bride" goes, yes I'd recommend it. It's a film that holds up as well today as it did in 1987 and all the jokes still work and all the characters are still lovable. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to label it a "MUST SEE", but rather a "why wouldn't you see".

EDIT: I guess I should mention the Peter Falk/Fred Savage parts of the film. I really liked this device, as Falk plays the grandpa reading the story to his sick grandson played by Savage. Falk passed away a couple of weeks ago and I went into this not even remembering that Falk was the one who played the grandpa. Great storytelling device that worked and made me miss Peter Falk just a little bit.

RATING: 7.5/10 I'm just as eager as anyone to see how my next TOP 20 pans out. I honestly have no idea how it's going to go and it seems like everyday we pile on more contenders. Next up for Reiner: "When Harry Met Sally".

MOVIES WATCHED: 281
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 720

July 7, 2011 1:06pm

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