The Princess Bride: A Royal Pain
I can positively and unreservedly say that unlike the vast majority of cinema critics, I did not enjoy watching ‘The Princess Bride’. Although many of you will find this information “inconceivable”, I refused to be swayed that a few quotable lines and a couple of quips about castles and ‘tweasure’ make a movie outstanding. Now, I don’t want to be the annoying one saying the book was better but…the book was better. I personally think the whole experience is mediocre, at best (You don’t want to know what it was at worst). However, if you should ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to watch it against your will with your family, friends or at some social function, here’s what you need to know.
- Buttercup-The textbook definition of a damsel in distress. She’s a blonde princess to be that wears unprepossessing, medieval dresses and her only interests are riding horses and being saved by her true love. Which brings us to…
- Westley- He works for Buttercup at the start of the movie. Throughout the story, he transitions from a poor farm boy to a ‘Zorro’ wannabe.
- Vizzini- A Sicilian mastermind hired to kill Buttercup. Works alongside Fezzik and Inigo. He’s the “brains” of the group.
- Fezzik- A giant from Greenland with a passion for poetry.
- Inigo- A Spanish swordsman with a hunger for vengeance. Very accomplished fencer with both hands.
- Prince Humperdinck- The prince that likes to torture people and start wars in his free time
A fairytale about a girl, named Buttercup, who’s boyfriend leaves her, never returns, and she ends up getting engaged to prince five years later. A trio of bandits get paid to track her down and murder her before the wedding but a presumed dead pirate steps in and ruins everyone’s plans (and some lives) .
The grandson (Who doesn’t ever get a name) is bedridden with illness. He coughs once at the very beginning of the movie, so we get the idea, and never again. The poor boy just wants peace and quiet, but the mother (which is her official name) insists that Grandpa will come over whether the grandson will like it or not. The grandfather (You guessed it. This guy doesn’t have a name either. He is such a great fantasy storyteller, giving him a name would only humanize him) bursts into the room like a swing dancer from the 30s. He’s brought a book to read that has been read to every male family member throughout the generations. The disappointment in the room is palpable. Today is the day the young grandson will become a man. So, the grandson is sick in bed and the grandfather is sitting at his bedside, telling stories. Think ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, Charlie and Grandpa Joe. Strike that, reverse it. And so the story begins…
Welcome to the magical land of Florin. The first named character in this movie is Buttercup (Names never to call your child #1). She likes to ride horses all day and ridicule her labourers. Nothing gives her more pleasure than bossing around and condescending the poor stable hand working for her. His name is Westley but Buttercup decides to go for a catchier name: ‘Farm boy’. His basic chores include polishing her saddle so she can “see her face shine in it by morning” and fetching her pitchers she doesn’t even need to fully extend her arm to get herself. All he ever says to her is “as you wish”. He shows great self-control for not using any curses (the swearing or the magic kind).
“That day she was amazed to discover that when he was saying, “As you wish” what he meant was, “I love you.””
What? If you were unsure before if Buttercup was an egomaniac, this is hard evidence. The girl thinks that boy working for her is madly in love with her just because he wants to keep his job. Buttercup realises she truly loves him back. Now, I’ve saw funny ways of showing it then I’ve saw violations of The Employment Rights Act. For whatever reason, I’d guess fear of losing his minimum wage, Westley expresses his love for Buttercup too.
The blooming love story is interrupted when the grandson asks if this is going to be kissing story. Sorry to disappoint, but ‘true love’ was part of the description. Back to the book.
Because Buttercup and her family short-change Westley, he needs to travel across
the land to seek his fortune. Although he states it’s so the pair can get married, I think we all know Westley has ulterior motives for wanting to get away. He’s also learned to speak in words greater than one syllable long. Westley never reaches his destination because the ship he’s onboard is attacked by pirates. Buttercup hears he’s murdered and deprives herself of food and sleep. She says she’ll never love again. If she treats all men like she treats Westley, that’s probably for the best.
5 years go by. Prince Humperdinck (Names to never call your child #2) is choosing his wonderful bride to be. He announces that he is going to marry a commoner like the townspeople. How charitable of him. It’s Buttercup (In a rather unflattering pink dress). She stayed true to her word; she doesn’t love Humperdinck. At least she’s true to something.
She’s still riding her horse. With no one to belittle anymore, it’s the only thing she’s got left. Three men appear out of the woodwork and kidnap her, assault her unconscious and put her on a ship. The men are called Vizzini, Fezzik and Inigo (Names to never call your child #3, #4 and #5). The men squabble about killing Buttercup. Vizzini reveals himself to be the true evil of the group and Fezzik shows his passion for poetry. Later that night, Buttercup regains consciousness and makes her escape jumping off the boat and swimming through eel infested waters. But these are not regular eels, oh no, no, no. They are…shrieking eels. As their name would suggest, they like to shriek. They also like to feed on human flesh.
The grandpa quickly drags us back to reality to tell us that the eels didn’t get her. He adds an ominous ‘this time’. Told you this guy’s a good storyteller.
Back in Florin, the men save Buttercup from a saltwater slaughter. They realise they are being followed and make Fezzik climb a rope while carrying the weight of all four of them. The man in black climbs up behind them, so they decide Inigo is the most expendable of the bunch and leave him behind to deal with the assassination of the guy. Inigo helps him out and shares a touching story about dedicating his life to swordplay and avenging his late father’s death. The fence all over the mountainside, do a few back flips, a couple of fancy tricks and turns around a bar until Inigo proves to be the weakest of the two and drops senseless. The man black advances onwards and Vizzini sacrifices Fezzik next. This is a poor excuse of a fight. While Inigo’s fight was at least entertaining to watch, Fezzik picks up a rock and places it on the ground, for no reason other than to prove he is strong enough to hold an oversized pebble, then passes out after he gives the man in black a piggyback ride. So, after a fencing match and a short break from walking, the man in black gets to Vizzini. Their battle will be one of wits (because Vizzini lacks any physical strength). Vizzini announces that he is smarter than all of the big three Greek philosophers then accepts the challenge. The man in black performs a neat party trick that leaves Vizzini dead on the ground and informs Buttercup he’s spent the last few years building an immunity to drugs. Meanwhile, Prince Humperdinck searches for his missing bride to be on horseback. He finds Inigo, the swordsman, and Fezzik, the giant. Apparently, there’s to be great suffering if she dies.
The man in black runs across the top of a rocky hill, pulling Buttercup alongside him. He sounds, looks and seems like her long-lost love, but there is a tiny, black bandana around his eyes so he can’t be. They verbally spar each other until Buttercup tells him she doesn’t love her fiancé (she says Humperdinck knows this but will save her anyway. Egomaniac evidence, item 2). The man in black threatens to slap her.
“Where I come from there are penalties when a woman lies.”
Where exactly do you come from, sir? Florin? The exact same place she, and everyone else in this movie, came from? The place where her fiancé reigns over?
So, naturally, Buttercup tells him to “die slowly, cut into a thousand pieces”. She assumes he’s the pirate that killed Farm
Boy, her one true love. He takes a bow and tells her he’s killed a lot if people. I’ll bet. The man in black is oddly interested in her previous relationship and asks her to describe him. The first word that pops into Buttercup’s mind when she thinks of her love is ‘poor’. She repeats ‘poor’ a couple of times before moving onto a different adjective. The man in black can instantly recall Farm Boy from Buttercup’s 1 line description of him (his economic status making up 60% of the words). He makes up a few lies because he’s in an imaginative mood and he wants to turn the tables. He mocks her faithfulness and Buttercup tries to kill him by throwing him down a hill.
(While he’s rolling down the hill)
“Aaaaas Youuuuuu Wiiiiish”
“Oh, my sweet Westley”
Buttercup flings herself down the steep hill, hitting her head at every possible chance. She realises that her abductor, the guy she has spent the last hour or so with, the one who has screamed, lied, verbally and physically abused, kidnapped and threatened her is her one true love. Boy, that bandana was a great disguise.
Prince Humperdinck continues searching but his betrothed is nowhere to be seen.
“Unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong.”
It’s really too bad Buttercup and Humperdinck couldn’t work it out. They seem perfect for each other.
After their fall, Westley and Buttercup lie on the ground for a while in pain thanks to their own denseness. They share a warm embrace and all the wrongdoings and death threats of the last hour are instantly forgotten. They’re back on the move again, they walk along a ravine floor and a forest where no one has got out alive. Buttercup’s dress catches fire. As well as being a murderer, pirate and master incognito, he is also a fire warden. The two wander about the forest for a bit (add skilled explorer to the list) until Buttercup falls down a large patch of quicksand and Westley dives in to rescue her. It completely swallows them both up. Westley, being the capable human that he is, grabs onto a vine and pulls them both to safety. A large rodent appears out of the clearing. It’s known as a ‘Rodent of Unusual Size’. Well, it’s certainly bigger than a field mouse. Westley says he doesn’t think they exist less than a second before one claws him to the ground. Due to its ‘unusual size’, I have a hard time believing that he didn’t see it until he was tackled to the ground. We can rule out 20/20 vision from has character attributes. While Westley and the king-sized mouse engage in combat, Buttercup just watches the love of her life get mauled by a mouse in a slightly amused silence. That is until it comes for her. Then there’s screaming and howls of distress. Her knight in shining swashbuckle saves her, ends the rodent and the leave the forest.
They run into Buttercup’s groom which is super awkward for all parties involved. Buttercup tells Humperdinck not to hurt Westley (helping someone other than herself, that’s a first). Buttercup goes with Humperdinck, leaving Westley and because this whole movie’s foundation is lies, they knock him out.
People knocked unconscious so far in ‘The Princess Bride’- 4
People who died so far in ‘The Princess Bride’- 1 (Though a rodent of unusual size met a fiery end, also)
Westley awakes in ‘The Pit of Despair’ with a character, named only as The Albino, cleans his battle scars and tells him how he’ll meet his end. It’s ten days until the wedding and Buttercup is having nightmares about being booed and publicly shamed for not marrying Westley. (Although the whole town believe he is dead so this is not possible, just another great example of Buttercup being ignorant and attention seeking again). Buttercup threatens to take her own life if she had to marry Humperdinck and demands that Humperdinck fetch her Westley at once so she can marry him instead. She truly is the worst.
“My Westley will always come for me.”
Humperdinck gives the exact same scorn I did. Humperdinck and the count walk through the forest planning Buttercup’s demise out loud. It’s perfectly understandable at this point. The Count tortures Westley back in his evil scientist lab and records his pain tolerance. I’m guessing it’s pretty high. He had to put up with Buttercup for years, after all.
It’s the day of the wedding. Fezzik reunites with a drunk Inigo. Fezzik knocks (the 5th person in this movie!) unconscious. After sharing the news of Vizzini’s death, Inigo passes out. That brings our total so far to 6. Back at the castle, Humperdinck puts the torture device at the highest setting so Westley can ultimately suffer. His screaming is heard all throughout the land of Florin (Which raises questions about the morality of these people, Buttercup especially, who just continue going about
their day). Inigo and Fezzik hear his screams and are the only two who try to locate them. Inigo talks about his late father and Fezzik knocks The Albino out while trying to ‘jog his memory’ (person #7). Inigo is determined to find the man in black, with whom he has the swordfight with, so he tries to spiritually connect with the dead and walks about with his eyes closed using his sword as a compass. It brings them to the torture chamber where the find the body of a dead Westley.
They carry his corpse to a shack in the middle of the woods to find Miracle Max. The knock on the door long after he tells them he’s closed. I’m starting to think that being insistent and overbearing is a requirement for all citizens of Florin. Long story short, Miracle Max makes Westley a chocolate covered pill, sends the boys in their way, and tells them “Have fun storming the castle.” Quotable.
And storm the castle they do. Westley is revived by the pill and Inigo sums up what’s been happening since he was last alive. It’s time for the ceremony. The men break into the castle, there’s some fencing and Inigo gets to deliver his line.
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Very nice, Inigo. Buttercup tells her suicide arrangements to her new father in law because her Westley didn’t interrupt the ceremony. While she’s about to thrust a dagger into heart, she notices that actually Westley is right behind her. Back to the Spanish swordsman, Inigo is stabbed but has succeeded in his life’s purpose. The tie up Prince Humperdinck then they all jump out a window and ride horses into the sunrise. I wish I was kidding. The movie ends with the grandson asking the grandfather to come over and read it again tomorrow. He seemed to enjoy the experience a lot more than I did.
First line: “Hi Honey, you feeling any better?”
Last line: “Grandpa? Maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow?”
“As you wish.”
Best line: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Good: The last exchange between the Grandpa and the grandson
Bad: The rest of the movie
Best characters: Inigo and Fezzik
Worst characters: Everyone else
Moral of the story: If you want a good time, don’t watch book adaptations.
Me reading the Prime Video description:
“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles”
“Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try to stay awake”
Me during watching it:
“Hold it! Hold it! Are you trying to trick me?…When does it get good?”
Me after watching:
“While you’re at it why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?”