Monday, March 4, 2019

The Princess Bride: Romance, Comedy, or Romantic Comedy?

The Princess Bride is a comedy that has stood the test of time and is known for its great storytelling. It begins with a boy who is home sick and his grandpa comes to read to him. As he reads, the viewer then watches the story, so much so that you forget it’s even being told. Within the book, Wesley, a farm hand, is in love with a girl named Buttercup but he is sent off to sea where he becomes the “Dread Pirate Roberts” in secrecy and fakes his own death. Buttercup’s heartbreak makes her vow to never love again. Then there are Inigo, Vezzini, and Fezzik. These are three con men who want to start a war between Florin and Guilder by kidnapping the princess to-be, Buttercup. Throughout the rest of the movie these main characters become friends, enemies, lovers, and teammates.

The Princess Bride shows characteristics of almost all types of comedy, the first being farce. Although it uses satire and a deeper sense of comedy, there also still those comedic moments when, for example, the Albino gets hit on the head so hard he becomes unconscious, Inigo falls face first into his food, and when Fezzik and Inigo play childish rhyming games. If The Princess Bride was only a farce, it would still be a fantastic movie, but they take their comedy even further.

The Princess Bride is also a romantic comedy because the heart of the story is love story between Wesley and Buttercup. However, because of the funny lines, exaggerated action, things that clearly are not real or are clearly staged, The Princess Bride isn’t just a romance movie.

The Princess Bride is clearly a satirical movie. From the beginning, the movie has many fairy tale elements: princesses, castles, true love, happy endings, but they are mocked and the story doesn’t turn out the way a normal fairy tale would. The wittiest character is by far Wesley, who is constantly shooting others down with his sarcasm and mockery. With each clever line, Wesley has the audience cracking up by the ends of his scenes. The movie also does a great job of pulling the reader into the “fairy tale” story, but right when you become really devoted to it, it flashes back to the reality of the grandpa and grandson. These two characters add a lot to the comedy of the movie because they mock and judge the story, emphasizing how much it isn’t a fairy tale.

Finally, almost every character is changed by the end of the movie. Every character has a motive that drives them forward, avoiding any flat characters. For example, Inigo wants to avenge his father’s death, Wesley wants to reunite with Buttercup, and Prince Humperdink wants to take over both the lands as king. The only flat character is Buttercup, the damsel in distress, who really serves no purpose other than being saved.

The Princess Bride is anything but unadaptable to the modern era. The jokes and comedy have stood the test of time and never fail to make the audience laugh.

1 comment:

  1. I find it very interesting (and have to say that I do agree!) in arguing that a story that never seen as anything deeper than a romantic comedy or a comedy alone is a satire. After learning more in detail about the difference between satires and comedies, and what defines them, I have realized that a lot more movies have more depth to them than I initially ever expected.