An Everlasting Tale
By Erin R., Grade 12 student, Fredericton High School, Fredericton, NB
"The Princess Bride"
Directed by Rob Reiner
Based from the book by William Goldman
Act III Communications (1987)
"Are you kidding? (There is) Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True Love. Miracles." No, they were certainly not joking. That is exactly what this amazing movie entails. "The Princess Bride", a movie based on the novel by William Goldman, incorporates every aspect of a "not your run of the mill" fairy tale and a storyline you can't help but get hooked on. It brings out the imagination you know you possess and a smile that just doesn't die. This whimsical fable has something everyone can appreciate.
There's nothing like someone reading you a great bedtime story, that you look forward to and lets your imagination go wild. The movie starts off with a grandpa (Peter Falk) visiting his sick grandson (Fred Savage) at home one day. To perhaps pass the time, he brings a book that has been passed down from generations, and decides to entertain the boy with this story. This novel just happens to be titled, "The Princess Bride". As he reads the story, the action comes alive.
Westly (Cary Elwes), a quiet farm boy, falls deeply in love with Buttercup (Robin Wright), a young, beautiful maiden. She treats him terribly, but no matter what she says or does, he always replies with a soft and innocent tone "As you Wish". After time and time again with their encounters, Buttercup finally realizes that these three words actually mean, I love you and discovers she feels the same. They are inseparable from this point, but Westly must leave to seek fortune in another country and pledges to come back to her.
Not long after his journey began, it had been reported that Westly had been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who leaves no survivors. Buttercup was heartbroken and vowed to never love again. Without any choice, five years later, Buttercup gets engaged to an evil, self-centered Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon). Right before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by three pirates, Fezzik (André the Giant), Vazzini (Wallace Shawn), and Inigo (Mandy Patinkin), who were hired by Prince Humperdink to cause a war. Buttercup is then soon saved by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who turns out to be her long lost , supposedly dead, love Westly. The Prince, along with his right hand man Count Rugen (Christopher Guest), "search" for Buttercup, and when he finds her, he sentences Westly to the "Pit of Despair", where he will be tortured. Buttercup is forced to continue the plans for marriage to the Prince, but is convinced that her love will come for her. To make sure this does not happen, this Prince gathers all of his brute squad outside of the castle to protect them. He then tortures Westly to death on the machine. Fezzik and Inigo realize that the only man that can help Inigo avenge his fathers death and kill Count Rugen, who slaughtered his father twenty years ago, would be Westly. Westly's shrieks of pain are heard by the duo and lead them in the right direction. They soon find Westly's body and take it to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), to discover Westly is only "mostly dead" and there is a pill that can save him. Once Westly comes to, the three of them storm the castle, disguised as stereotyped "Scariest Man Alive" Dread Pirate Roberts. This gets them into the castle where, as a usual happy ending turns out, Inigo kills the count and Westly saves his beloved, Buttercup. They all ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
What made this movie so convincing was the emotion put into all the different themes. The actors brought out feelings into the audience and the set helps you experience a whole other time and place. There were not any noticeable flaws in the storyline and it kept my attention throughout, just like most fairytales would.
The actors, in my opinion, are what made this movie so appealing. The comradery between the three pirates blends so nicely together because they are all so different and each have something to add to the story, such as their wittiness. Robin Wright was a brilliant choice for Buttercup, because she had such a young, innocent glow about her. She portrayed a perfect damsel in distress. You could see the pain and determination in Mandy's eyes as he depicted his character, Inigo.
The director plays an extremely important part in the quality of the film. In this case, Rob Reiner's ability to tell and sell a great story is incredible. He ensures a hypnotic sensation throughout the audience because the movie is so well-balanced. He never leaves you in one scene for too long and he ties up all the loose ends as he goes along. He would cut in, just when something intense might happen to the grandpa and the grandson, to bounce you back from "reality" to "fantasy". When something was going on with Westly he would even it out with a scene with Buttercup or Fezzik and Inigo, for example.
Music puts you in a place and time during any film. All of the simple melodies were composed with a gentle strumming of guitars, and subtle violins and flutes play, which reflected a lot of the music from the Elizabethan era. The herald trumpets were used also when there were announcements from royalty. The main song that reappeared throughout the story was "Storybook Love", with a title that tells all. The shots picked for the movie helped it flow really well. In some movies the editing might be quite obvious but that wasn't an issue at all here.
There probably aren't a lot of movies that do not a have a symbol or two. The sword that Inigo carries with him that belonged to his father is a symbol of the love he had for him the avengement of his death. Westly and Buttercup symbolize pure love and the Prince and Count Rugen contrast as pure evil. The special effects used made it more convincing for the viewer, rodents of unusual size, the eels in the eel infested waters and the "Cliff of Insanity". They show how much work must have been done to make this movie believable. Most fairytales have a moral or a message to their story but the main one here would definitely have to be "Never Doubt True Love".
"The Princess Bride" is one of the few films that has a little something for everyone. Good movies are enjoyable at the time but great movies are fantastic forever. Just like the passionate kiss at the end of the film, "The Princess Bride" left all the others behind.
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