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Monday, April 16, 2012

You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die! "The Princess Bride" review

     I was torn between the theatrical poster and the 20th aniversary edition cover featuring the title as an ambigram in selecting the graphic to use for this review. Normally I would go for the theatrical version but I think the one I ended up using looks better don't you agree?

     Before Rob Reiner turned into a fat and annoying political activist, he directed a few movies that happened to be quite good. Coming off the success of "Stand by me", Reiner made "The Princess Bride", a story that has been told myriads of times: A young woman named buttercup (Robin Wright) is to be married to a prince but her true love (Carey Elwes) is thought to have been killed by a pirate. She gets kidnapped before the wedding by a Spanish swordsman, a giant whose vocal register is so low Xerxis from "300" would be ashamed, and their irritating but funny Sicilian boss. But guess who is there to rescue her? Her one true love in disguise of course.

      As I said, we have heard of that story so many times we know how everything turns out. So when someone takes the responsibility of bringing something so familiar to the screen they should try to make it stand out from the other ones right? Rob Reiner doesn't even try and instead gives us the most basic fairy-tale anyone can ask for. The result is a surprisingly charming film that will put a smile on everyone's face and make children laugh out loud. 

     Both leads become their roles like no one else could have. That is not to say that you would be amazed or surprised by their performances as they are both playing roles similar to what they have played through their career. A funny cameo by Billy Crystal with an unrecognizable face but an all too recognizable voice bookends the film's interesting cast.

     What made me want to watch this film when I first saw it was the amount of hype that surrounded it. A lot of websites would have it high on their "best-of" lists and quite a few people from both sides of my family were recommending it including an uncle of mine who is slightly picky. You can imagine how high my expectations were when I watched but you probably couldn't imagine my disappointment after I found out what type of film it actually was. When grown men and women endorse a film I usually expect it to be a film for adults but in the case of "The Princess Bride" I felt like I had been robbed of another film like "Return of the King" or "Pan's Labyrinth". 

     This is the movie that made me realize that there actually is a difference between a family film and a children's film and this one is definitely the latter. Everything is aimed towards children and thus didn't entertain me as much as it should despite being nothing actually being wrong. From the slapstick humor, to the corny music, to the deliberately overplayed performances, to the colorful sets and landscapes, this movie seems like nothing but an expertly crafted, 98 minute, very expensive, Saturday morning children's program you would find on the Disney channel rather than a theatrical release worthy of being in various top 10 fantasy movie lists.

     If you watch this movie thinking you want to be entertained and you are over 13 years old you're in for a surprise, but if you want to put on something for your kids to watch and keep them quiet then this is perfect.


     But what about you? What is your favorite fantasy movie? Click here to cast your vote.

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