Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Princess Bride (1987)

Even before seeing the film, most people are able to quote its most famous line: ‘Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!’ That line, out of context, is either going to conjure up images of action and adventure or of tongue-in-cheek comedy. Luckily, The Princess Bride provides a dizzying mix of both.

A grandfather tells the tale of The Princess Bride to his bed-ridden grandson, who is initially indignant at the prospect of being read a fairytale. The heroine of the tale is Buttercup, who loses her beloved, Westley.

The Princess Bride is a seamless mix of fairytale and comedy, thanks to a cast that performs brilliantly. Cary Elwes is wonderful as the dashing lead, but it is without a doubt Mandy Patinkin’s Inigo Montoya that steals the show. Not only does the character bring comedy to the film; he also brings much needed emotion to it, which is slightly lacking in the central love story. There are several cameos in the film, but Peter Cook’s Impressive Bishop is the most memorable.

The film features plenty of fun action sequences. The duel between Inigo and Westley is particularly exciting, and certainly impressive considering both actors did all the fencing. Part of the film’s charm, by now, lies with its slightly dodgy special effects. I couldn’t help but feel that the filmmakers were probably aware of this, making the Rodents of Unusual Size scene especially funny.

This film is a works brilliantly as a comedy and as a fantasy. Best of all, its humour is highly accessibly, making it a perfect family film for children and adults alike!


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