The Princess Bride
Recently, a series of disasters led me to drive my loaner car to my sister’s house, to pick up a loaner computer (although, I suppose I’m very lucky to be a part of a family that has random cars and computers lying around. The good news is, at least one of the disasters has since been resolved) After spending the afternoon and night at Sis’s house, I asked her to come to my house to continue to hang out, and she agreed–even though it meant fighting a five year old and two year old all the way down. She must like me or something.
We wanted to get a Redbox movie, but G was having none of it, and several tantrums later, we both gave up on trying to have fun out in the wilds of Utah County (whoo.) and ended up back at my house. A cooling off period, and some full bellies later, I was examining my (meager) DVD collection for a film that would both keep a five year old boy’s attention, and was fairly kid-friendly. What I came up with was “The Princess Bride”. G had never seen it before, and I have to say, it was really interesting to watch what was my favorite movie when I was his age through his eyes.
The first thing I noticed was how well the movie had held up–I mean, I know that I’ve loved it for the past 25 years and it’s considered a classic, but–how do I put this?
It’s like your old, favorite sweater. The color looks great on you, it fits well and it accentuates your bust. Then one day, while wearing your favorite sweater, you happen to be watching an early season episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and slightly chuckling at the fashions of your high school years. Then, you glance down and realize the sweater you’re wearing would not look out of place at Sunnydale High.
What, I’m the only one that’s happened to?
Anyway the point is, “The Princess Bride” is near enough to my heart that I wasn’t sure I had been watching it objectively as a teen and adult. But G loved it–I’ve never seen him that still when he wasn’t sleeping, sulking of seat belted down–even if he was up and down a bit. So, enough of my long, rambling, introduction: Here is “The Princess Bride”, via a five year old’s first viewing.
It didn’t really hold G’s attention until Buttercup was kidnapped and jumped off the boat, which, okay, there’s not a lot of action up to that point. He definitely lost interest when Peter Falk and Fred Savage were on screen, though he did understand that the action was part of the story the Grandpa was reading, at least a bit into the movie he asked “Is this still the story?”
My favorite part was when the Man in Black appeared for the first time. G declared definitively “He’s a bad guy.” I don’t ever remember wondering if the Man in Black was good or bad–but then, I guess I don’t remember the first time I saw “The Princess Bride”. G loved the sword fight, and said he was rooting for Inigo (I think that Inigo was his favorite character, or maybe Inigo is just my favorite character.)
I don’t think he understood the exchange between The Man in Black and Fezzick (by the way, you can tell that Andre the Giant had a blast making the movie) and Vizzini, though he did laugh at Vizzini’s death scene–which I still maintain to be the greatest death scene ever put on film. He was fascinated by the Fire Swamp, and wasn’t scared at all by the ROUSes–which scared the crap (not literally) out of me when I was a kid. I’m not sure if that was simply because he’s a boy, and more action/protection oriented than I was, or if he could tell that they were actors in rat suits where you could practically see the zipper. He was worried that Westley was all bloodied up after the battle with the ROUS, but didn’t die–”Why is his shoulder bloody? If he’s bleeding, why didn’t he die?” Ah, kids.
I know that he didn’t understand why Sis and I were laughing during the Miracle Max and Impressive Clergyman scenes, but he loved the storming of the castle, and was once again rooting for Inigo during his duel with Count Rugen.
When the movie was over, I asked him what the best part was, and he said “The sword fights”. Sis then asked if that was a movie they should watch at their house, and he agreed that it was.
So, I think it’s safe to say that S. Morgenstern’s (and I guess this Reiner guy had something to do with it, too) masterpiece has a new fan. And the fact that “The Princess Bride” is continually gaining fans in the new generation makes me happy beyond belief.
Of course, not that any kid I see on a regular basis would have had any choice but to watch “The Princess Bride” on a regular basis. So it’s a good thing he liked it.