I’ve watched The Princess Bride since I was in middle school (that was in the mid-90s, yikes!). I remember my favorite teacher, Mr. Doss, would pop it in on slow days (before holidays, before assemblies, early release, etc.) and we would sit there, totally enthralled by the story telling every.single.time.
My friend and I would walk home to my house after school, pretending to be Fezzik and Inigo. She always got to be Inigo. That used to irk me because I thought that Inigo was the cool one. I would have to be Fezzik because I was taller than her. We’d re-enact the “Fezzik, I need you!” scene and I would “break down” the door to my house with my shoulder. Looking back on it, I’m glad I was forced to be Fezzik because he always was my favorite character, even back then. I hid it from everyone so they wouldn’t make fun of me, just like I hid the fact that I still watched Power Rangers after school. You know, because you *really* care what your peers think of you when you’re 12. I was so preoccupied with trying to look cool that I didn’t realize that Fezzik was strong and loyal, and that made him cool too.
What I loved:
- The adaptation of the book. The book calls itself “the good parts version,” meaning that it’s abridged to remove the boring stuff. You’ll probably need to read my review of The Princess Bride (book) to understand this. But basically, I think that the movie is “the good parts version” of the good parts version. The film removes a ton of extraneous meta-narrative from the book and leaves the heart and soul of the story. It’s brilliantly done. The only meta that exists within the film is Peter Falk and Fred Savage playing modern-day grandfather and grandson. It provides a welcome entry into the story.
- The acting. Carey Elwes does a fantastic job as Westley. He brings the perfect amount of sarcasm to the character. I also love Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant as Inigo and Fezzik. They were the perfect casting choices. Even though the film cut a lot of their back story, they gave Inigo and Fezzik real depth and created a real friendship between the two.
What I didn’t love:
- They didn’t really emphasize how stupid Buttercup is. Those were genuinely funny moments in the text that I would have liked to see translated to the film. I always hated that, in the movie, Buttercup never tried to be proactive in her own destiny. But if you read the book, you figure out that she doesn’t because she just doesn’t think of it. She makes fun of herself on multiple occasions.
Book vs. Movie
Movie wins. It’s one of those rare occasions where the film adaptation enhances the story. It’s “the good parts version” of the book.
© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.