I’ve been wanting to review this since I first founded That Guy That Reviews Stuff, but I’ve always been putting it off, waiting for the opportune moment. Well, that moment hasn’t arrived, but I can’t think of anything else to review, so here goes. As usual, there will be spoilers.
If you haven’t seen this film, then you are a hermit, or you don’t watch films. It’s frequently (as far as films are concerned) shown on TV, changing between Channel 4 and Channel 5. If you haven’t seen this film, then find it, watch it and silently nod in agreement for what is written below.
As usual, we’ll start off with the plot. I would suggest warp-speed, but it’s a long, complicated one, so it’s probably more of a ‘half-impulse’…
The setting is a renaissance-era fantasy world, as featured in a book being read to a sick boy, as read by his grandfather. At the start, we see a woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) who lives at a farm and abuses the farm hand, Westley (Cary Elwes) by getting him to do all her jobs. He only responds with the words ‘as you wish’, which in this sense, means that he loves her. She realises that she loves him, so he sets out to make money so they can marry, but the ship he works on gets attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who takes no prisoners. Buttercup, after 5 years, ends up being engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne of Florin. She gets kidnapped by Fezzik (Andre the Giant) a giant wrestler from Greenland, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), who religiously learned fencing in order to avenge his father’s death (a six-fingered man) and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a Sicilian, who considers himself to be the smartest being in history (‘Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?… Morons’). He also has a fondness for the word ‘inconceivable’.
After an overnight boat-ride, involving an escape attempt by Buttercup, in which she nearly gets eaten by eels they reach the cliffs, which they climb up. However, the kidnappers are being followed, by a ‘man-in-black’ and Prince Humperdinck and his men. The man-in-black climbs up after them, only for the rope he is using to get cut. As he fails to fall, Vizzini shouts his catchphrase, only for Inigo to say, ‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means’.
The man-in-black manages to climb up, with Inigo’s help, before they take part in a fencing duel (with Vizzini, Buttercup and Fezzik running off to reach Gildur so they can start a war). The two swordsmen fight valiantly, each using their left hands, before swapping to their right (they are both pretty much evenly matched, unless the man-in-black uses his right, in which case he easily wins). Inigo loses, assuming he is to be killed, but he is instead knocked-out, before the man-in-black carries on after Buttercup. INCONCEIVABLE! He then has to fight Fezzik, whilst Buttercup and Vizzini run off again, but the man-in-black uses Fezzik’s weight against him, suffocating him until he passes out. (Fezzik is used to taking on gangs for the local community, so doesn’t normally fight one person). The man-in-black catches us with Vizzini, challenging him to a battle of the wits. The two men have to drink from cups, one of which is poisoned, whilst the one who drinks the safe glass will keep Buttercup. Vizzini goes into a rant about how he can deduce the safe glass, based on his knowledge of the man-in-black, before switching the cups whilst the latter looks away. They drink their own cups, before Vizzini reveals that he switched the cups and that he drank the safe cup. The man-in-black just sits there calmly, whilst Vizzini laughs, before suddenly dropping dead. It is revealed that both are poisoned, with the survivor having built up an immunity to the poison used.
Buttercup then pushes the man-in-black down a hill, telling him that he could die for all she cared. He falls, shouting ‘As You Wish’, revealing himsefl to be Westley. She throws herself down after him, as the Prince nears them. They have their little reunion moment, before running into the fire-swamp, to face sudden bursts of fire, patches of quick-sand and rodents of unusual size (which Westley refuses to believe the existence of, before being attacked by one). He also reveals that he is also the Dread Pirate Roberts, which is a title, rather than a name, with each one passing it on to someone else. As they leave the fire swamp, the Prince arrives. Buttercup goes with him, in order to save Westley, but the Prince gets his six-fingered assistant, Rugen (Christopher Guest) to take Westley anyway, making him a prisoner for The Albino (Mel Smith).
Buttercup refuses to marry Humperdinck, so he promises to look for Westley, in order for him to return. Instead, he reveals to a close advisor, that he will murder Buttercup on her wedding night, allowing a war with Gildur to start. Buttercup learns how Westley is a prisoner, so taunts Humperdinck, before he nearly-kills Westley. Inigo and Fezzik team up to save the man-in-black, who they know will help them to defeat the six-fingered man, who he now knows to be Rugen. They liberate Westley, taking him to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), who revives him to a state of heavy paralysis. They then make plans to start the castle.
Inigo, Fezzik and Westley storm the castle during the wedding and manage to get Westley into Buttercup’s room, whilst Inigo chases down Rugen, who he kills, despite sustaining near-fatal injuries. Buttercup arrives at her room, about to plunge a knife into her chest before Westley cries ‘There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours’. She rushes over, kisses and hugs him before Humperdinck arrives. Westley challenges him to ‘the pain’, as series of fights until the loser has naught but their torso, head and ears, so that all they can do is hear the cries of all those who perceive them. Humperdinck declares that Westley is lying, so Westley stands and threatens him, before the former surrenders and gets tied to a chair. Inigo arrives as Fezzik shouts from outside, having found 4 horses. They jump out the window to their freedom, riding off into the sunset, just as Westley and Buttercup have the ‘perfect kiss’. The grandfather closes the book and tells the boy that it’s the end and that he has to go. He stands up and starts to leave before the boy asks if he can come and read it the next day. The grandfather (Peter Falk) ends the film with the words ‘As You Wish’.
Wasn’t that a long plot?!? Maybe I should shorten it. Maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t really know… I’ll leave it. I mean, it did take 50 minutes to write, so I don’t want to have wasted that time, do I?
I like that plot. It’s a bit soppy in a few places, to the disgust of the sick boy, but generally speaking, it’s pretty good. In terms of substance, it’s got just about everything you could want. Action. Adventure. A followable plot line. Multiple, unique characters. It’s got it all. I like that.
The characters themselves are great, ranging from the comical Miracle Max, to the back-story filled Inigo, to the simple Fezzik, to the stupid genius of Vizzini. The priest at the wedding is always a joker, played by Peter Cook, as he has a speach impediment, which on it’s own is not funny, but when all his r’s are w’s, the simple sentence of ‘Marraige, is what brings us together’, really gets me laughing.
The soundtrack is ok, featuring the typical sounds you’d expect in an 80’s action-adventure-romance film. The best feature though, is the humour. Whether it’s ‘I don’t think they exist – AAAARRRGH’, as mentioned before, or the speach impeared priest, there’s almost literally a laugh a minute (maybe every 3 minutes). However, it also makes you feel sad. Call me sad if you want, but I actually think there’s some other emotion here. I don’t feel emotiosn properly because I’m a heartless bastard, but even I know that we should probably feel empathy for some people here.
This is shaping up to be one of my longest reviews ever (taking an hour to write), so I’ll wrap it up now with two requests. One – watch the film. Two – post your favourite quote, or scene or character or whatever the hell you like, into the comments section below. Go on. Share what you like. I do!