ShOR 365: The Princess Bride

Photo Credit: MGM/20th Century Fox

Welcome everyone to day six of ShOR 365! Whoohoo. I’ve already made my big, epic movie list and there are 380 films on the list. Obviously, unless I double up on some, I won’t finish the list in a year but that’s okay! It was exciting to list out and see all the films that I want to watch. I almost kept going into next year!

But, anyway, enough about that. I was simply excited and wanting to tell you guys the progress I made! Now, onto The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride tells the story of Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) and the man she loves, a farm boy named Westley (Carey Elwes). Buttercup is engaged to be married to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) after Westley disappears for five years after taking to the sea to find fortune. In an effort to incite war, Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), Fezzik (Andre the Giant), and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) kidnap Buttercup from Florin and take her to the Cliffs of Insanity. However, they’re outwitted and out-chased by a mysterious masked figure who calls himself the pirate Roberts.

This film. I honestly don’t understand how it has become such a cult classic. I understand that a lot of the problem stems from the fact that the special effects (though there are very little) do not age well. Not only that, it was poorly written and a bit all over the place in its storytelling. There were a few hidden gems of wit and comedy but mostly, this movie fell flat and I’ll never reclaim that hour and forty minutes I spent watching it.

I do have to commend Wright and Elwes, though. The only exposure I have from Elwes is Twister so I had no idea about his comedic timing and he does have it and he revels in it. His scenes with Patinkin and Shawn were particularly humorous and witty which is a relief seeing as they were the only funny parts of the entire film. Wright, in her film debut, handled the script with ease. She may have been a touch too over-dramatic for a comedy but there is no denying that a star was born here. She was graceful, emotive, and really held her own against the pros.

Patinkin, bless him, he tried but Inigo was, perhaps, my least favorite character. I felt his story arc with his father and the six-fingered man was overwrought and boring. Not to mention the second time I heard the now famous line he utters, I was rolling my eyes and he still said it at least two more times after that. Honestly, it was so silly and unneeded.

As for the writing, there was nothing strong about it. Much of the dialogue was far too cheesy for the slapstick humor to really thrive. The dialogue was stilted and unnatural and I found myself wondering how the actors even had fun with this movie. Which, they obviously did, because this film could’ve been so much worse than it already is. The frame narrative offered a little relief from the cheese but I felt that the frame wasn’t needed. The Grandpa and the Grandson offer very little (if anything) to the main plot line and, again, their comic relief wasn’t a relief or very comedic.

On a whole, The Princess Bride really is an exercise in what not to do in a comedy, physical, slapstick, or otherwise. Elwes and Wright shine with what little they’re given but the five minutes of wit and hilarity do not compensate for the remainder of the film.

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