Many argue that The Princess Bride is one of the greatest comedies of all time. So it’s fitting that it gets a sparkling 30th anniversary UK Blu-ray. Lauren Miles revisits the film…
Originally released in 1987, The Princess Bride is still, 30 years later, a fun and light-hearted fairytale that makes for perfect family viewing. It seamlessly combines elements of fantasy, comedy and romance to create a modern, self aware take on a classic story that’s been told countless times before.
The story of The Princess Bride is introduced as an old grandpa reading the book to his sick grandson. Initially disinterested, he soon becomes as enthralled by the excitement as we do, and it’s clear that this is a film aiming to encourage a love of reading and well told tales. Something it does exceedingly well.
The tale in question concerns Princess Buttercup, played by Robin Wright. Both beautiful and brave, she falls in love with the farmhand Wesley (Cary Elwes). However, when tragedy befalls him and he is presumed dead, Buttercup is betrothed to the villainous Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) and then kidnapped by a band of outlaws. An occurrence that leads to adventure and eventually reunites her with her true love.
The world of The Princess Bride is wonderfully whimsical, with colourful characters such as the Spanish fencer Inigo Montoya and the giant Fezzik, played with great enthusiasm by the actors Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant. Starting out as uncertain villains, their transformation into heroes just goes to show that their world is a place where even the bad guys can become good.
The locations are just as lively, especially the dark and dangerous fire swamp which is filled with flames, quicksand and giant feral rodents. None of this is done with the use of CGI, and the lack of special effects means that the film has aged well over the years.
Acting as both a parody and homage to the classic fantasy fairytale story, The Princess Bride is consistently engaging and incredibly fun. At times it seems as though everything is slightly over the top, but it always feels completely natural within the film’s story. With names like Buttercup and Humperdinck it’s very apparent that the aim of the creators was to tell a classical story in a more tongue in cheek way, poking fun at it as they went.
The villains are also perhaps overly villainous, obviously trying (and succeeding) in playing the archetypal fairytale antagonist. The action scenes are captivating, especially the swashbuckling scene between Wesley and Inigo. With not a hint of realism in sight, they leap and somersault their way through a battle that’s just great fun to watch, and these sorts of battle scenes come up multiple times throughout the film.
The Princess Bride is a wonderful light-hearted tale, full of action, adventure and character. It’s simply a fantasy film that’s good fun to watch, and shows us that even a classic tale that is simply told can become iconic.
Written by Lauren Miles
Top 10 Films reviewed The Princess Bride courtesy of Lionsgate which released a special 30th anniversary edition on October 23.