At some point in the fairly recent past, I went to see The Princess Bride for the first time… in the theater, that is, as I have watched the movie approximately one zillion times and it is one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw it with a bunch of other people who also love the movie and one person who was actually, literally, truly seeing the movie for the first time, and all of us were more than a little baffled when she was like, “It’s okay, I guess.” Inconceivable!
I’ve also read the book, though only once, way back at the beginning of my blogging career, and I was struck by how it could have been a novelization of the movie and not the other way around, except for the very beginning and a very cool part in the middle that I’m sad wasn’t in the movie.
So I was totally primed for this book, is what I’m saying.
And before I say anything else, I would like it noted that my comments are based on not just an advanced reading copy of the book but a digital advanced copy that had some poor formatting choices when it came to the numerous what I’m guessing are sidebars but ended up just cutting right into the middle of paragraphs and sentences in this version. I can only hope that those formatting issues are taken care of in the final digital version.
Okay, so. I had expected this to be a book about The Princess Bride, which it is, sort of, but it’s more correctly a memoir of Cary Elwes’s experience with The Princess Bride, from casting to filming to the strange cult following that has built up around the film since its release on home video. And that’s cool, for the most part, but there are long stretches of the narrative that are just Elwes (and often the people in the sidebars) having a love-fest for all the other people in or related to the movie, which gets a little boring after a while. It also seems like most of the cute stories that Elwes tells are things I already knew from watching the extras on my DVD copy or from the 25th anniversary coverage a couple years back, and I’m not sure how many people are standing in line for this book that haven’t consumed those other things already.
But there are a few stories that I didn’t know before reading this book, and those stories are totally worth reading the rest of this fairly short book and I’m not going to spoil them for you because I will not do them the justice that Elwes does. And these stories will make you want to go back and watch the movie, which is of course never a bad thing.
I wish that this book had been a little different, with more of more people’s perspectives and some tighter editing on Elwes’s wordy style, but I suppose even Westley can only do so much. And hey, maybe someone else (I’m looking at you, Mandy Patinkin) will decide to do this again around another anniversary?
Recommendation: If you love The Princess Bride, you’re probably already reading this. If you don’t, there is nothing I can do for you.