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Reviewed March 4th, 2001 by Brian White


Last summer, MGM dug into its video library and released two bare-bones, value-priced DVDs of movies that the studio thought would be popular with the DVD audience. These titles were Henry V and The Princess Bride. Reviews at the time were ho-hum, and this reviewer purchased Henry V for the content. That disc is acceptable, with its DD 2.0 surround and an OK anamorphic transfer. Not much was expected of The Princess Bride, and a pleasant surprise was had by all.

The first thing that must be mentioned about this film is that it is a truly wonderful movie. The Princess Bride is a magical fairytale on the one part, and a very funny spoof of fairytales on the other. No description seems adequate, because it does its mocking of the genre with so much heart that it carries off both roles quite well. The movie gets a little silly before it gets too mushy or cheezy. It’s a delicate balance which is pulled off rather well. Given Spinal Tap, this film, and When Harry Met Sally, director Rob Reiner’s talents are quite amazing.

The performances in Princess Bride are a very big part of the fun. Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright and Cary Elwes are fantastic. Andre the Giant also seems to be having a pretty good time. The very talented cast pulls off the tongue-in-cheek opus quite well.

Another great point about this movie is the beautiful cinematography. Rob Reiner has a very good eye for nature photography. The fairytale is framed with quit romantic scenery.

So how does the DVD look? Well, there’s a 1.85:1, non-anamorphic transfer that looks OK on smaller monitors. This transfer must be improved. There are scratches, and various blemishes that are an injustice to the great cinematography in this film.

The audio mix is a great improvement over the rather ordinary video treatment. A nice 5.1 mix has been created, and it surpasses expectations. Certainly, it would sound better if the film had been made last year, but given the fact that the film predates the Dolby digital revolution, the mix is quite good.

For extras, there’s nothing worth mentioning, other than a great movie, in an exceptable package for not too much cash.


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