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The Princess Bride: Special Edition

It's hard to believe there's someone out there who doesn't love director Rob Reiner's wonderfully fractured fairy tale — what's not to like about a delightful comedy filled with "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles," and more? The story of the beautiful (if somewhat dim) Buttercup (Robin Wright) and her true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), is exciting, funny, romantic, and utterly enchanting. When Buttercup hears of her beloved's death at the hands of pirates, she agrees to marry the pompous, pompadoured Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), only to be kidnapped by the scruffy trio of Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), Inigo (Mandy Patinkin), and Fezzik (André the Giant, in a sweet if often unintelligible performance). She's rescued by a mysterious, swashbuckling man in black, and soon realizes Westley isn't quite as dead as she'd thought. Complications ensue, and it's up to Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley — with a little assistance from Miracle Max (Billy Crystal, hilarious under layers of makeup) and his wife Valerie (Carol Kane, ditto) — to save Buttercup and break up her wedding, not to mention help Inigo get revenge on the man who murdered his father. Needless to say, there's never a dull moment, whether the terrific cast is racing against time, fighting for their lives, spouting anachronistic humor ("Never get involved in a land war in Asia"), or tossing off now-classic lines like "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."The Princess Bride defies categorization; it's a unique, magical movie that deservedly became a cult favorite and instant classic. Its legions of fans will be delighted to hear that MGM has finally given it the DVD treatment it deserves with the new special edition. Replacing a bare-bones disc released in the summer of 2000, the new version is packed with extras — two commentary tracks (one from Reiner, the other from screenwriter William Goldman), a brand new documentary that includes interviews with almost everyone involved in the movie, two vintage featurettes from 1987, a short excerpt from footage Elwes shot on set while making the movie, TV spots, two trailers, an 88-picture photo gallery, and a glossy, 8-page booklet of production notes. The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is as strong as ever (the full-screen version from the first DVD has wisely been dropped), and the English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound does justice to Mark Knopfler's lovely score. Other audio options include Spanish 2.0 and English, French, and Spanish subtitles. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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