Rob Reiner’s Princess Bride did not make much of a splash in Finland back in 1987. I failed to notice it utterly.
Thus, in the early nineties, upon reaching the wilderlands of Usenet, references to Dread Pirate Roberts or Inigo Montoya’s quest were more or less incomprehensible. Without the current tools of ignorance-dispelling (IMDB, wikipedia and google) I was at a loss.
And it took a while before I managed to see the film. Way too long. Up until the dvd arrived as format of choice, the film continued to elude me.
But what a discovery it was, when I finally got a hold of the movie and sat down to watch.
A splendidly distilled fairytale-y story that contains almost all of the quintessentials of the genre. But one that decidedly remains low on the magic and supernatural, though they are both present.
A buddy movie of epic proportions. Where, obviously, the characters are initially sworn enemies when they meet.
A bunch of villains so treacherous they could Edmund Blackadder a semester’s worth of lessons in evil.
A cast packed with familiar faces and introduction of new ones. Mel Smith! Peter Cook! Christopher Guest! Peter Falk! An Billy Crystal masked almost beyond recognition.
And as a bonus, Wallace Shawn as the leader of the henchmen, permanently exasperated, never short of plans, occasionally vocabularly challenged.
A framing device that feels natural and unforced.
Excellent dialogue. With lines that occasionally crosses the border with our reality. And with lines that point towards Monty Python as well.
Many directors would be happy with a single five star movie – Rob Reiner cooked up two (this and Spinal Tap) and hovered close on a few others.
Princess Bride is heavy on the whimsy, heavy on the satire, and comes heavily recommended, especially to other finns who might have been entirely deprived of the experience on account of the film’s low profile domestically.