Tag Archives: Cary Elwes

My Thoughts on: The Princess Bride (1987)

There are very few movies that I would consider to be truly perfect. Films being of such varying quality as they are, it’s nearly impossible to find a film that has no flaws whatsoever and can be watched numerous times without getting old or stale. I truly believe that The Princess Bride is one such film.

For a long time I actually didn’t know what the name of this film was, or I wasn’t able to remember it. This is a movie that I would inevitably catch in the middle, often enough that I would recognize the characters, but so far in that I had no chance of finding out what it was called. Finally, I don’t remember when, I got to see the film all the way through, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. The story is based on William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name (an entertaining read that I highly recommend by the way), and follows the twisting love story of Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her true love Westley (Cary Elwes). The film is actually a story within a story, as the tale is presented to us as a story a grandfather is reading to his sick grandson in the present day.

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I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this movie is. I need to call particular attention to   “the World’s Greatest Sword Fight” aka the duel between Inigo and Westley (disguised at the time as the Dread Pirate Roberts). This sword fight is epic in no small part because Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes did the vast majority of the scene themselves (in fact I think the only time with a stunt double is when they jump down from a ledge using that rod and Westley does a couple flips on the way down). (Side note, Elwes and Patinkin took fencing lessons from Bob Anderson, the same sword master who worked with Mark Hamill on the Star Wars films among many, MANY other films). To this day I don’t understand any of the fencing language spoken during the fight, but it’s a lot of fun to listen to. I equally enjoy the subsequent Battle of Wits between Westley and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn, who cracks me up every time he talks). The battle is over who will walk away with Buttercup, and who will die. Westley has seemingly hidden a deadly poison in one of two cups of wine, and Vizzini must figure out which one is safe to drink. What makes this funny is that he dances around the correct answer for almost the entire time (since BOTH cups are poisoned he can’t choose either one), but never quite makes the leap to that conclusion.

Even the “scary” part of the film in the Fire Swamp really isn’t all that bad, though I do admit the R.O.U.S’s (Rodents Of an Unusual Size) scared me a little the first time I saw the film (they look pretty realistic considering it’s a little person in a suit and this was made in the 1980s). Although the scene where Buttercup gets sucked into the sand catches me off guard every, single, time! That, by the way, is the one moment of the film where I think Westley is genuinely caught off guard. Every other instance he’s able to keep the “I can handle anything” mask (no pun intended) in place, but that moment is the one time it slips and he goes into total “Oh sh*t this is bad” mode.

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Forgive the repetition, but everything in this film is enjoyable. It’s not an exaggeration, ask anyone and they will tell you the same thing. From the opening scene to the final confrontation between Westley and Prince Humperdinck (I snicker every time I hear that name, because who names their son HUMPERDINCK?) every part of this film just comes together is is simply beautiful.

Now, I do have a small piece of head canon regarding this film that I want to share before I wrap up this review (for those who don’t know, head canon is your personal interpretation of something in a story that is never explicitly stated to be true and yet you believe it anyway). My head canon for The Princess Bride is the belief that the story of The Princess Bride is the story of the grandfather and grandson’s distant ancestors; simply put the story of Westley and Buttercup really happened and they are descended from them. My belief for this comes from the beginning of the film when the grandfather refers to the book containing the story as a “very special book” one that his father read to him and his grandfather before that. I reasoned that for a story to be passed down for so long, it must be based on something real, because this is how their family line started. It’s something I refuse to let go of, because it just makes sense to me.

Long story short: The Princess Bride is a perfect movie. Practically every scene is quotable, and I literally have nothing bad to say about this film. I know reviews shouldn’t be like this, but The Princess Bride is literally that good. If you somehow haven’t seen it, go see it, it’s worth it.

Let me know what you think about The Princess Bride in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

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When Disney released a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book last year, many seemed to have forgotten that this was the second live-action version of the story that Disney had ever made. The first was released in 1994 and stars Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, Lena Headey (aka Cersei in Game of Thrones) as Katherine and Cary Elwes as Boone. I for one, can never wholly forget this film because it has a number of disturbing moments in the second half, one of the most disturbing coming in the Monkey City.

Unlike the animated film, where the Monkey City is just a pile of crumbling ruins, this version is not only loaded with treasure, but is also filled with booby traps of all kinds. Mowgli is forced by Boone and his compatriots to lead them to Monkey City so they can help themselves to the treasure (despite Mowgli’s warnings that the city is dangerous). By the time they get inside the city, most of Boone’s henchmen are dead, but a hunter named Buldeo (who incidentally left Mowgli’s father to die at the beginning of the film) is still alive and he is relentlessly pursuing Mowgli, intent on killing him. But this is complicated because Wilkins (another associate), accidentally shot him in the leg shortly before he was mauled to death by Shere Khan.

Limping all the way, Buldeo seemingly has Mowgli cornered in a sunken pavilion, when a stray shot unexpectedly causes a decoration to burst out of the wall, pouring salt out on the floor. This trips a chain reaction, where more and more decorations burst out, spilling more and more salt, and the reason why becomes clear; as the salt spills out, the roof of the pavilion is slowly lowering, meaning Mowgli and Buldeo are caught in a trap! Mowgli is able to leap out of the pit to safety, but Buldeo is hampered by his wounded leg and must hobble for the stairs, but he is caught in the growing streams of salt.

I’m convinced it is salt and not sand because the material causes Buldeo intense pain in his wounded leg (and salt is very bad for open wounds). Also, this was supposed to be a fantastically wealthy city, so it makes sense to me that the people who built these traps could afford the luxury of using salt as part of the mechanism. All this time the ceiling is slowly but surely descending, to Buldeo’s mounting panic as it becomes clear he will NOT be able to get out in time. By the end, he is futilely pressing against the ceiling in an attempt to stop the inevitable…with a final scream the ceiling clamps down on the floor, entombing Buldeo forever in that small pit, where he will quickly suffocate (unless that salt fills up the space first).

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This scene terrified me as a child, because I would have nightmares of being trapped in that kind of a situation. To this day I can’t believe this film is ONLY rated PG because, in no particular order, we have: a man drowning in quicksand; a man being mauled to death by a tiger, people being shot, falling to their deaths, etc. But of all the deaths, Buldeo being buried alive in the Salt Trap is by far the most disturbing of all. I’d actually nearly put this scene out of my mind but I’m glad I remembered it so I could share it with all of you.

What do you think of the Salt Trap in this film? Does it disturb you? Can you believe they put this in a movie for kids? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it.

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For more Disturbing Disney see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)

Disturbing Disney #20: Quasimodo is crowned ‘King of Fools’ (1996)

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