As You Wish: The Princess Bride

As the deadline approaches, the Editor pops up on my screen and throws something at me. “Get me my GUST review!” She shouts. “You promised it last week!” [Lies! All lies. Although she did promise… -Ed.]

And I did. This is entirely my fault. I managed to get dragged into a new fandom and barely managed to resurface for oxygen.

But I did, and here I am, and my first step in writing this review – aside from deciding what I was reviewing, obviously, because that’s an important place to start – was to come up with a title.

Because the film I’m reviewing has so many memorable quotes that it’s hard to pick just one.
As you wish.”
Inconceivable.”
My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.”

I am, of course, referring to The Princess Bride, starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, a classic fairy tale with some … interesting elements.

The Princess Bride film poster

Buttercup (Wright – and yes, that is her actual name) was born and raised on a farm in the country of Florin. Goodness knows where her parents are –it seems the only person around is the farm boy, Westley (Elwes), whom Buttercup loves to boss around. To each of her orders, he replies only with the words “As you wish”, and one day she was astonished to learn that when he said “As you wish” what he meant was “I love you”.

This only takes a few minutes of the film, because the main story is taken up by what happens after Westley leaves to seek his fortune only to be murdered by pirates, and Buttercup is forced to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon – again, yes, that is his real name). But when she is kidnapped on her engagement day and a mysterious man in black shows up in Florin … Well, I won’t ruin the story for you.

The story is partially narrated by Peter Falk, who has come to visit his sick grandson. “When I was your age, television was called books,” he explains. “And this is a special book. It’s what my father used to read to me when I was sick and I used to read it to your father. And today, I’m going to read it to you.”

As he reads, the story comes to life, although occasionally gets interrupted for Grandfather to reassure his grandson and for the boy himself to ask questions.

The grandson (who remains unnamed) really does not have enough lines in this. Played by Fred Savage (brother of Ben Savage, who played the lead, Corey Matthews, in Boy Meets World), his timing is impeccable.

When Westley and Buttercup first realise their love and meet in a first embrace, he interrupts the scene. “Hold it, hold it. What is this? Are you trying to kiss me? Where’s the sports?” He pauses, with a very suspicious look on his face. “Is this a kissing book?”

And that, right there, is why it’s a GUST.

It’s a fairly gentle story line, although there are some fight scenes that could be a bit intense for younger children with parental support (but I guess that’s where the PG rating comes into it).

It’s the romance that means I’d be uncomfortable showing it to young children. It’s not explicit – not by a long shot – but it is … sappy, for want of a better word. So sappy it’s surprising they don’t give you cavities while you’re watching it, in fact. No one needs to be reminded that it’s ‘true love’ that often.

But it’s nice. It’s one of my I’m-feeling-rotten-today-so-let-me-curl-up-and-watch-something-non-challenging films. And it’s good for a giggle, with some very memorable quotes, as I mentioned earlier.

So, basically, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, because anything else would be inconceivable.

You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means.”

Roxanne Williams (Getting sucked in again…)

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