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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

yet another DVD version of ‘The Princess Bride’? inconceivable!

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 most favoritest 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 Princess Bride 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 (which is still available on DVD) 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.

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  • Rykker

    Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I’ll stick with my 2001 version.

  • J.

    Wait, is anything on the disc different from the Dread Pirate Roberts edition they released, like, last year?

  • JSW

    I love TPB, too, but I’m going to have to pass on this one. The visuals were never the strong suit of the movie anyway and an updated transfer would just highlight the low-budget 1980s effects that the movie’s full of.

    What I’m really looking forward to is the 35th anniversary edition of the TPB novel, assuming Goldman makes good on the promise he made in the 30th anniversary version to have the rest of Buttercup’s Baby “abridged” by that time.

  • MaryAnn

    Wait, is anything on the disc different from the Dread Pirate Roberts edition they released, like, last year?

    I’m not familiar with that edition so I can’t say. Sorry.

  • Hank Graham

    The cover is pretty cool, though. It makes me wish they’d come up with it as a poster when the film first came out. And has it really been 20 years. Gee, Maryann, some of the people out there are getting old. Not us, of course. :)

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, but you can’t really turn a poster around as easily as you can turn a DVD around…

  • RJSmith

    Does anyone know if the 35th is being released this year? I can’t find any info on it.

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