Top 10 Movies: #5 – The Princess Bride

As frequent readers of this blog know, The Princess Bride, both as a novel and as the 1987 Rob Reiner directed movie, was one of the paradigm-shaping artworks that first led me to formulate my best known art theory, Reconstructivist Art.  As such I’ve already spoken about it at some length, and I’d like to direct you to the above link for more.  However, since Princess Bride is also #5 on my own personal top 10 movies list, there’s always new things to say:

I’m a lifelong devotee of the genre of fantasy –in books.  Fantasy movies, on the other hand, typically leave me cold.  Maybe it’s because screen magic is too literal, too mechanical, generated with liberal amounts of special effects and green screens.  There isn’t the same freeing of the imagination as in a book.

The Princess Bride escapes that trap.  There are no sparkling magic wands here, no fairies flitting around on gossamer wings or dragons to be slain.  The magic is all in the storytelling, and the characters, and in the slyly subverted realism that both connects you back to the real world and simultaneously casts you free of it.  Ostensibly the tale of Westley and Buttercup, two star-crossed fairy tale lovers trying to find their way back to each other, the story really comes alive around its edges, with the semi-villainous, semi-heroic, tragicomic trio of the Sicilian (Wallace Shawn), a diminutive genius, the Spaniard (Mandy Patinkin), a revenge-driven swordmaster, and the Giant (Andre the Giant), a sweet-tempered muscleman, providing the movie’s most indelible impressions

I’m given to understand this film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea –perhaps so.  But for those whose hearts are open to its charms, it proves to be the best kind of fantastic film –not the sort that makes the real world seem dull and ordinary by comparison, but the sort that makes the real world seem newly alive with magic and endless possibilities of its own.

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