Complete with a second disc full of special features, The Princess Bride – Dread Pirate and Buttercup Editions (the two different editions have the same features) are perfect for any movie fan, or anyone who enjoyed what is probably one of the best romantic comedies/family/action and adventure films ever made (that’s inconceivable!).
The Princess Bride was directed by Rob Reiner with the screenplay written by Oscar winner William Goldman – who also wrote the novel. The film stars Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes, Mandy Pantinkin, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Andre the Giant, and the great Peter Falk.
The film’s plot (which has just about something to offer everyone) follows an elderly grandfather (Falk) reading a story to his sick grandson (Savage). The film switches back and forth between the scenes with Falk and Savage and that of his amazing story.
Although not to thrilled about having his grandfather read a book (much less a book with kissing in it), Savage is quickly pulled into the story (as is the audience) thanks to the colorful characters and the funny situations that surround them.
Falk’s tale is a simple love story between a farm boy named Westley who falls in love with a girl named Buttercup. When Wesley leaves her to make his fortune, she receives word that his ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts (who never takes prisoners). Years later, a distraught Buttercup has agreed to marry Prince Humperdinck (Sarandon), but is kidnapped before the ceremony.
Her kidnappers consist of the brilliant Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), the master swordsman Inigo Montoya (Pantinkin), and the gentle giant Fezzik (Andre the Giant). As the group flees with their hostage, they are pursued by a mysterious man dressed in black and wearing a mask (they are terribly comfortable after all). One by one, the mysterious man takes down the kidnappers, rescues the bride, and then reveals that not only is he the Dread Pirate Roberts but also Westley.
Now being pursued by her fiancé prince, a shocked Buttercup and Westley head into the fireswamp where they are forced to face the three dangers –including rodents of unusual size. As the two emerge, Buttercup is forced to return to her fiancé or see Westley killed. The prince agrees to take Westley to his ship, but instead gives him to the six fingered man Count Tyrone Rugen (Guest) to be tortured to death.
Although they are too late, Westley is freed by Montoya (still looking for the man who killed his father) and Fezzik, and he is taken to Miracle Max (it turns out Westley was only mostly dead). This leads to a final showdown between Westley and Humperdinck; Montoya and Rugen (who killed his father and had to prepare to die); and the final reuniting of Princess Buttercup and Westley.
The Princess Bride is probably one of my favorite romantic comedies, and honestly has something to offer everyone. The movie has some of the funniest dialogue and was written by a true master. Just one viewing is enough to make you want to quote the lines whenever someone even mentions the title.
Reiner is truly in his element with this film, and handles the transitions between the Falk and Savage characters and the rest of the story perfectly. The cutting back and forth even adds to the humor as Savage complains about the kissing parts, or the grandfather stops the story because Savage looks like he is getting too concerned for Buttercup’s safety. You also have to love the arguments the two get into as Savage gets impatient or complains that the grandfather is not reading the story correctly.
Normally, cutting back and forth between two stories can harm a film or lose the audience quickly, but Reiner and company do an excellent job keeping you involved in both stories equally. This is truly a perfect movie.
The new two-disc edition is a nice double dip and defiantly a better quality product than The Princess Bride (Special Edition) released in 2001. Although the special features on both the Dread Pirate and the Princess Buttercup editions are the same, the covers and menu systems are different (one showing more of the adventure aspect and the other the love story aspects). The special features included on the second disc will entertain fans of the movie, and really take you behind the scenes. The DVD also has some features thrown in just for fun.
Fun features include The Quotable Battle of Wits Trivia Game (which features quotes and scenes from the movie), the 8-Page Fezzik’s Guide to Florin – Collectible Booket, and an interesting look at the film through Cary Elwes’ Home Movies.
The DVD also has several making of features that pretty much cover every single aspect of the movie. The features include ”Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Legend of the Seven Seas” – which talks about the arc type characters both on the screen and in history that helped form Roberts for the film; “Love is like a Storybook Story” documentary – which talks about the simple love story elements that the Princess Bride draws on, and features interviews with the cast, Reiner, and Goldman; “Miraculous Make-up” featurette that looks at the make-up effects used to create the characters and has interviews with Billy Crystal and Carol Kane
The DVD’s also include three standard “making of” features – “As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride” the feature that was including on the 2001 release; an original 1987 featurette; and a vintage making-of documentary. The DVD also comes with commentary by Reiner and Goldman. It is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound.
This new edition of The Princess Bride is a perfect for any DVD collection and truly demonstrates that the film is now a classic. Although it was originally released in 1987, the jokes are just as funny, the love story still has all the charm, and you will still laugh just as hard. I highly recommend the DVD.