'The Princess Bride - Buttercup Edition'
(Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG / (1987) 2006 / MGM)
Overview: A kindly grandfather sits down with his grandson and reads him a bedtime story. The story is one that has been passed down through from father to son for generations. As the grandfather reads the story, the action comes alive. The story is a classic tale of love and adventure as the beautiful Buttercup is kidnapped and held against her will in order to marry the odious Prince Humperdinck, and Westley (her childhood beau, now returned as the Dread Pirate Roberts) attempts to save her. On the way he meets an accomplished swordsman and a huge, super strong giant, both of whom become his companions in his quest. They meet a few bad guys along the way to rescue Buttercup.
DVD Verdict: Many directors have created classic fantasies through the years, but Rob Reiner managed to hit on an instantaneous classic with "The Princess Bride." This movie has every feature you could want in a fantasy movie. There is humor, magic, love, monsters, pirates, fights, castles, a beautiful princess and a bevy of bad guys. The movie is very well plotted and easy to follow, and yet keeps you mentally on your toes. This movie is one you need to have in your collection and one you need to watch repeatedly. The movie begins with a grandfather (Peter Falk) coming to visit his sick grandson (Fred Savage) to read him a book. Grandson is playing a handheld game, and the last thing on his mind is having his grandfather, who always pinches his cheek, read him a story. Initially the grandson struggles with the story because it has kissing. However, the intriguing tale soon charms him and us as much as any classic fairy tale. We meet Westley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright in one of her earliest roles). Westley goes off to seek his fortune, but has encountered the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup has come to the attention of Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) and is on her way to becoming his princess. However, we soon learn that Prince Humperdinck is not a nice guy and plans to do away with Princess Buttercup. Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), Fezzik (Andre the Giant) and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) kidnap Princess Buttercup. However, someone is following the foursome, and defeats each person, one at a time. But wait. Prince Humperdinck is following everyone, intent (he says) on saving his princess. The showdown between Prince Humperdinck and Princess Buttercup's savior comes at the fire swamp, where Princess Buttercup sacrifices herself for the sake of the man who saved her from her kidnappers. Before I forget, watch for the Rodents of Unusual Size in the fire swamp. The movie hits a brief slow point as Prince Humperdinck takes Westley to an underground torture chamber and ultimately kills him. Yes, I said kills (Fred Savage complained that Westley could not be dead either - but hang in there). Fortunately for Westley, Inigo and Fezzik have come to admire him and rescue his lifeless body, taking it to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) and his wife Valerie (Carol Kane). After Max examines Westley's lifeless body he declares that Westley is just mostly dead and not all dead (for which the only thing to do is go through his pockets and look for loose change). After the visit to Miracle Max, Westley remains dead, but the pace of the movie picks up. Can Westley recover from being dead? If he does recover, how can he and his two companions break into a locked, heavily guarded castle to rescue Princess Buttercup? Will Westley be able to rescue Princess Buttercup even though the marriage ceremony is complete? Watch this excellent movie and discover the mysteries of the ending for yourself! This Buttercup Special Edition has many numerous extras, including a very in-depth Story of The Princess Bride Documentary, an Original 1987 Featurette (which in itself is a lot of flashback fun), and amongst others commentaries from director Rob Reiner and such. Also, this new widescreen version shows a transfer that has bold colors, and very good contrast. Like a veil of dirt that has been removed from the image, the widescreen version reveals much more detail than any full frame presentation, and has a much deeper look therein. Fleshtones are faithfully rendered and overall the color reproduction of the disc is very good-looking and pleasant and not even the occasional graininess of the image can destroy that perception. The presentation has also been carefully compressed, and as a result even fine details make it into the presentation without distortion or artifacting, giving the image a very detailed look that is free of pixelation or other compression artifacts. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Includes all new mockumentary on Dread Pirate Roberts
Featurette: Make-up and fairytale
Audio commentaries with director Rob Reiner and writer William Goldman
Quotable battle of wits trivia game
Collective booklet: "Fezzik's Guide to Florin"
Original 1987 featurette
Cary Elwes's home movies
Featurette: "Love is Like a Storybook Story"
Documentary: "The Story of The Princess Bride"