The Princess Bride (1987)

(Second viewing, On DVD, March 2017) Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t looking forward to revisiting The Princess Bride: I had such good memories of the film that I feared seeing it again would damage the magic. Fortunately, I shouldn’t have worried: The good parts of The Princess Bride are still as good today, and I had managed to forget much of the less-quoted second half of the film. Penned by William Goldman (from his own equally hilarious novel), the script manages to be self-aware, witty, clever and warm at once—the pedestrian direction is low on flashy moments, but clearly doesn’t get in the way of the script. It helps that the actors are almost all perfect for their role: André the Giant may not be a gifted thespian, but he’s just right for his character, and the same goes for most of the cast. Cary Elwes is a B-grade actor at best, but he’s fantastic here as the hero. Robin Wright Penn has the advantage of perfectly incarnating how a princess should look and behave, while Wallace Shawn remains forever linked to his distinctive role as Vizzini. If anything, The Princess Bride is even funnier now that the codes and tropes of fantasy and fairy tales have been widely internalized, and as Hollywood is still churning out remakes of known fairy-tales into unremarkable fantasy epics. It’s a light and funny film, but it’s certainly not simple-minded or content with superficiality. It’s still great even now. See it again with a member of a younger generation to pass the fun along.

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