Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is with "Princess Bride"?

I've been trying to convince a friend to watch "The Princess Bride". It's harder then it should be. But, I've found it's a hard movie to describe. It may just be me though.

As I try to describe it, I've realized something: I should despise this movie. I used to be into fantasy when I was 10. Honestly, it is not a genre that has grown with me like sci-fi. Science Fiction, once you get past the basic adventure type stories, has some amazing writers who show a side of humanity. They're up there with the classics like Dickens or Upton Sinclair or Steinbeck; it's not the scene that's important, it's the characters and how they act in a given situation that makes them timeless. Failing that, some sci-fi can be great showcases of science. Or it makes for good horror. Fantasy never felt that way to me, with the exception of Harry Potter.

The characters in Princess Bride don't seem that complex when I think about it. Wesley is all about true love. Really, that's it. He is so into the idea that he comes back from the dead for it. But beyond that, that his only motivation. And Buttercup? She just gives up on everything because her "True Love" isn't around. That's not a good character. In fact, I spend half my time yelling at songs on the radio with that premise. The "mawiage" guy is hilarious if you're 9. What, the only joke is he has a funny voice? My dad is a comedic genius then, even though he only uses the voice to tell the one joke he knows.

There is a lot of fucking dialogue in this film. Holy crap, even in the sword fighting scenes they won't shut the hell up. And there's a couple scenes that are sort of anti-climatic. The poison scene, for example. The little guy is built up to be smartest man in the world, no one can out smart him. He spends the whole scene showing how brilliant he is. Then he just. . . dies. The "To the pain speech". He gives this whole speech on how he will mutilate the villain, by cutting out his tongue and eyes and chopping off his feet and hands.  So the villain just gives up.

So what is it about this film? With all this against it, why can I watch it when I'm older and so much more sophisticated? The dialogue is great. The back and forth quips are fun to listen to and enjoy. "Never start a land war in Asia" always makes me chuckle for some reason. "To the pain" is bad-ass. "My name is Inigo Montoya" is as overused as "It's just a flesh wound". Really not the best part in that movie.

The music. I'm a sucker for music, and Mark Knopfler knocked it out of the park. Did you know Mark Knopfler did the music? The guy who wrote such classic hits as "Money for nothing" and "Sultans of Swing"?

Wesley and Inigo really don't have much back story and they both have really simple motivations. Revenge? True love? Please. Seen it before, so what. What Wesley goes through for "True Love" is insane. He comes back from the dead! Twice! And fights giants! And drinks poison! In fact, this movie seems to advance it's plot because of a couple people who are overly dedicated to very simple motivations.

I don't know. I've given up on trying to describe this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it. It's very hard to do. Here's a new challenge: Pick 2 scenes from the movie to show someone who hasn't seen it. You're favorite scenes, scenes that best sum up the movie, whatever.


  1. I can't help you. I could never get into this one, Samuel.

    To be fair, no one understands why I love So I Married An Axe Murderer, either.

  2. I love PRINCESS BRIDE! :) A cult classic.

  3. Watch it once and you're hooked. The boat scene is one of my favorite.

  4. The old woman saying "Boo, boo..." is one thing that sticks in our mind....
    and the film has enough "humor" to make it enjoyable.....