by Roland King
Submission for Rising Stars Challenge
|At 32 years old, Rob Reiner’s “The Princess Bride” still plays to the fun and youthful feelings of its audience’s emotions.
Framed as a story within a story, a young Fred Savage is stuck in bed with a flu while his grandfather (a warm and chuckling Peter Falk) reads him a fairy tale. Savage’s character (credited simply as “the Grandson” clearly to remain as anonymous as the moviegoers themselves) is notably skeptical of the fairy tale about to unfold, even got so far with a wrinkled nose to ask, “Is this a kissing book?”
Once the grandfather begins the tale, Savage, as well as the audience, is transported to the kingdom of Florin, which is decked out in all the trappings of a typical fairy tale. It brims with elements like giants and pirates, lords and ladies, and even the Pit of Despair. But what truly makes this tale both memorable and endearing, are its characters.
Our two main protagonists are Westley, played by a charming and roguish Cary Elwes and Princess Buttercup, played by the demure and graceful Robin Wright. Beginning the story with their early relationship where Westley is still a farmboy secretly pining for the beautiful Buttercup, we see him Westley abruptly disappear and reappear five years later as a transformed virile, roguish pirate who ultimately must win the hand of his one true love who is now betrothed to the ridiculous Prince Humperdinck.
Perhaps the most charming characters though are the supporting cast. Such as the truly memorable Inigo Montoya played by Mandy Patinkin with such charm and passion that the audience often finds themselves rooting for him even more than Westley, the hero of the story. Inigo's quest to avenge the death of his father ultimately intertwines with Westley's quests bringing them first into conflict with each other and then eventually becoming brothers-in-arms. Cunning and ultimately foolish Vizzini--a man of "dizzying intellect"--played by Shawn Wallace,- is simultaneously an adorably annoying and somehow likeable character with his overly used exclamation of "Inconceivable!" Even larger-than-life Fezzik, played by the late Andre the Giant, is a memorable and lovable character in his philosophical, yet simple-minded tendencies.
Although this story has the potential to be arguably corny in parts, (Case in point: Substitutions of stunt doubles for cast members are often so sloppily done that it is incredibly obvious that no actors were harmed in the making of the film. Except for Robin Wright, whose dress did actually catch on fire during a take of a scene while filming.) it is actually part of the movie's charm. At times Fred Savage will interrupt the narrative of the story to point out the corny tendencies in the love story thus forcing the audience to understand that this movie does not take itself too seriously. In fact, this movie is so well-known for doing this that it actually is lampooned in a special edition cut of "Deadpool 2" because of its memorable acknowledgment of plot holes and oft-used tropes.
Often incredibly quotable, "Princess Bride" withstands the test of time and continuously is rediscovered by new generations for its humor and heartwarming story. The movie reminds us not only that there is magic in storytelling, but there is magic in our own imagination. One has only to open the page of a book to be taken on a journey of love, humor, and adventure. Ultimately, moviegoers who at first might criticize this movie as a simple fairy tale, will go on much the same evolutionary journey as Fred Savage's character as he ultimately becomes engrossed in the storytelling and find himself wanting more as the last page closes.
Be sure to watch this fantastic five-star romantic comedy/adventure so you too can experience what all the fuss is about!