There's a new DVD edition of The Princess Bride. Yes, another one. Sure, it's one of the best movies ever made, a wonderful and sweet tale about the power of true love. But I can't help but remember the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts: that life is pain (and not all about true love at all) and that anyone who tells you different is selling something.
Like the umpteenth DVD version of a beloved movie, with nothing but a few halfhearted new "extras" and a clever new cover design -- you can turn it upside down and it still reads "The Princess Bride!"-- as the highlights.
Look, I love this movie. I love it so much I wrote a book about why I -- and so many other people -- love it so much. (The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, an analysis of the sticking power of the film, is available at Amazon and other online booksellers.) It's one of my very favorite movies of all time. I've seen it a hundred times. I've memorized it. Lines of dialogue from it have long since entered my own personal vernacular, and serve as a private language for me and my Princess Bride-loving friends. (And if you're not a devoted lover of The Princess Bride, well, a friendship between us is going to be chancy.)
Now, I went looking for a reason for this new 20th Anniversay Collector's Edition DVD to be worth my time -- oh good lord, has it been 20 years? -- and it might be true that perhaps the image here is just the slightest bit crisper and sharper than on the 2001 Special Edition. Or that could be wishful thinking on my part, cuz the 2001 disc still looks pretty damn good on my widescreen HDTV via the upconverting DVD player.
There's not much else to look for, though. There are some brief interviews with the cast, a featurette on the fencing in the film and another on folklore, and a rather mercenary ad for a downloadable kiddie game based on the film.
Frankly, though, the bonus material on the Special Edition is far superior: the commentary tracks are great, and so is Cary Elwes's video diary from the making of the film. A true 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition would, at minimum, include all those extras as well. Why, it's as if MGM and 20th Century Fox want us to keep buying and buying and buying and buying...
That sounds like a scheme Vizzini would come up with. And he was, you know, the bad guy.
MaryAnn Johanson (email me)
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