The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1987
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin. Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the giant
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Music by: Mark Knopfler
Written by: William Goldman based on his book
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 17, 2009
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die"
Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley (Cary Elwes), beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright) finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she's suddenly kidnapped by a motley gang of deviants, what gallant hero comes to her rescue? None other than Westley - alive, well... and as wonderful as ever! But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny? Or, this time, will Buttercup lose Westley forever?
By now I would hope that most who are reading this has seen The Princess bride. I can't believe it has been nearly 22 years since its release! This is a beloved film that is based on the book written by William Goldman and published in 1973. It's a modern fairytale that has roots which are based in many classic fables. I love how it sort of takes the traditional fairytale style and puts a satirical spin on it. The aspects of love, adventure, and good versus evil are all represented but there is a clever up to date feel that is rewarding. I get a kick out of the witty banter and clever dialogue. For instance, the scene where Prince Humperdink and Count Rugen are standing at the entrance to the pit of despair. Rugen asks Humperdink if he is coming in and Humperdink says he would love to come and watch him work but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped. There are wonderful characters both good and bad who are genuinely portrayed by the cast. Cary Elwes has been around for a long time and rarely gets recognition for his work. He usually has smaller roles and ends up as the heavy or foil for the protagonist but this film is different and showcases his talent. Although this is early in his career this is probably my favorite of his films (along with Glory). This was Robin Wright's first feature film and who could ask for a more auspicious beginning? Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya is my favorite character in the story. I can't help but laugh at his exchanges with Fezzik (Andre the giant), his fair approach to dueling with steel and his endless quote (the tagline that begins this review). The cameo appearances were perfectly placed and of course Rob Reiner's direction brought it all together. This is a timeless film that is chock full of great lines and memorable characters that can be enjoyed from one generation to the next. I have watched it with my kids and they love it as much as I do. I can't think of a better compliment.
The rating is for mild action violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Princess Bride comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 38 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
This film isn't the type that is going to offer high gloss imagery, eye popping colors, and razor sharp definition. I thought that this 1.85:1 framed high definition presentation had a film like quality that seemed to faithfully deliver the film's elements. At times the presence of grain gives it a gritty texture but I never found it objectionable. With the exception of red, colors were vivid, and natural looking. Reds had kind of an orange tinge to them. I honestly couldn't say for sure whether or not it was intentional as it has been a long time since I saw this film theatrically. I don't want to make too much of it because it really wasn't an issue. Complexions varied from rosy to pale with most appearing realistic in depiction. Blacks were a little flat and shadow detail was good but not great. This left the darker scenes lacking it depth. I was happy with the balance between contrast and brightness which breathed life into the colorful, and lush landscapes and period costumes featured in the film. Image detail in close ups was appreciable in all but a handful of instances where definition wavered. Long range and mid level camera views were a mixed bag but at their best never achieved the level of depth and dimension that accompany the better high definition transfers available on Blu-ray. Overall fidelity seemed intact and I have never seen this film looking better on home video.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivered dialogue that was full bodied, well articulated and tonally descriptive. The surround mix maintained a frontal perspective with above average soundstage depth and discernible channel separation. There wasn't any discrete rear channel activity but ambient music extension and exterior sounds such as blowing wind, creaking wood and reverberant echo helped to occasionally broaden the sound field. Bass response didn't shake the room but its presence lent solidity to the music score and low end punch to sound effects. The sequence that takes place once Buttercup and Wesley enter the Fire Swamp makes excellent use of the entire system. Mark Knopfler's music is nicely detailed, dynamically empowered, and well balanced throughout the presentation. I thought that this mix sounded great.
- Audio commentary by Director Rob Reiner
- Audio commentary by author/screenwriter William Goldman
- The art of fencing - 7 minute feature
- As you wish: The story of The Princess Bride - 27 minute featurette
- Cary Elwes video diary - 4 minutes with running commentary by Cary and Robin Wright
- The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas - 11 minute faux documentary
- Fairytales and folklore - 9 minute documentary
- Love is like a storybook - 16 minute documentary
- Miraculous makeup - 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Original theatrical trailer
- Princess Bride: The untold tales - 9 minute feature
- Bonus Disc: 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD
I think that I have made my feelings pretty clear regarding this wonderful family film that has become a classic. If you haven't seen it your in for a treat as Fox has done a nice job with it's presentation on Blu-ray Disc. I have never seen it looking or sounding better on home video. The bonus features become a little redundant but still offer plenty of wonderful insights from the book's author, cast and crew. Fox has included the standard definition 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD as a bonus. This seems to be something that is becoming more common and hopefully the trend continues. This disc deserves a place in every collection. Enjoy!
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