Viewed – 01 April 2013 Blu-ray
25th Anniversary Edition
Director Rob Reiner has been responsible, in my opinion for classic after classic, especially during the eighties with movies like Stand By Me, Misery and When Harry Met Sally, but many will know him for this perfectly pitched fantasy fable that pokes fun whilst also offering a tribute to movies like Legend and LadyHawk.
Starring Robin Wright (before she was Penn) as a farm girl named Buttercup, and Cary Elwes (everybody’s favorite comedy heart-throb) as her farm boy love-interest, this is a simple love story with added swashbuckling, masked avengers, a giant, miracles and perfect narration by Peter Falk (Columbo). At it’s heart its a comedy, and a dry one at that, with some great lines (As You Wish, You Killed My Father … Prepare To Die, He’s Only Mostly Dead!) and some great talent throughout the cast (look out for cameos from Peter Cook, Billy Crystal and Mel Smith). Reiner’s direction is perfectly paced, telling the story with a bunch of larger-than-life characters, including a great boo-hiss villain in the shape of Chris Sarandon’s Prince Humperdink …. and let’s not forget ‘that’ theme tune.
As a movie I grew up loving, watching it now with more mature eyes, it stands the test of time well. The script is still sharp and quotable, the performances just right, without getting too silly, and overall I had a great time. I think it lacks a bit of spectacle, some of the effects and scenery look fake as hell, and the climax lacks a bit of impact. However this is one of those movies where the moments you loved, are still great and the characters are all as fun as you recall – even if by today’s standards it all seems a little corny and cheap. I still say its a classic though.
This 25th Anniversary Blu-ray is pretty impressive. The image is crisp and has much more detail than I could have expected, the colors especially popping (check out Prince Humperdink’s red outfit and gold crown), whilst the sound is clear and punchy. I noticed a few moments of slight lip-sync, but that could have been my player (PS3) and when I came to watch the disk on my second player (a Pioneer) it wouldn’t play at all (!). Very odd. Extra’s consist of all the special features from the DVD special edition (two commentaries, a documentary, 1987 featurette, photo galleries, Cary Elwes on set video diary etc) as well as all new features including a new documentary covering the movie’s cult appeal, as well as several other featurettes). So despite a few technical hiccups I experienced, this is otherwise a home-run.
(the movie) 4 /5
(the Blu-ray) 4 /5