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The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
An MGM Home Video Release
1987, 98 Minutes, Color, Rated PG

Starring:  Robin Wright, Fred Savage, Carol Kane, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, Billy Crystal.
List Price:  $19.99 USD, released 07/18/00
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Double Sided, Single Layered (DVD-10)
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 Widescreen, 1.33:1 Pan & Scan
Audio Formats:  English 5.1, Spanish 1.0
Subtitles:  French, Spanish
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Theatrical Trailer, Interactive Menus, Scene Selection.

The Princess Bride... itís one of those movies that gets better each time you watch it. Equal bits of comedy, adventure, romance, action and fantasy come together in a fun family movie with great casting and even better acting. Based on a book by William Goldman, the screenplay was written by the same author and moves along quickly and logically. The lovely, soon-to-be Princess, Buttercup is kidnapped by a gang intent on starting war until they are pursued by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is in reality her long-lost love Westley. Following behind the two groups is the nasty Prince Humperdinck, who is intent on reclaiming his bride to be. However Buttercup does not love Humperdinck and would much rather be with Westley Ė something the Prince just canít let happen for his own nefarious reasons!

The stage is set for sword fights, battles of wits, monsters, giants, miracles and even The Pit of Despair. What more could a movie watcher want? A great cast! And The Princess Bride certainly delivers, with stars including Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Billy Cristal, Wallace Shawn and even Andrť the Giant. The Princess Bride is a roller coaster ride of one liners and memorable moments.

MGM has put The Princess Bride on a double-sided disc with both full-screen Pan & Scan and 1.85:1 widescreen transfers. For this review I watched the widescreen version, which is unfortunately not anamorphic Ė surprising considering the recent trend towards 16x9 discs. The transfer is clear, but suffers from some minor artifacting during darker scenes. Colors are phenomenally better compared to my old VHS copy, but lean towards the pastel. The master print used was very clean and relatively clear of grain, with good black level calibration. Each side of the disc contains a full 4.3 gigabytes of data, with the movie divided into a total of 28 chapters.

This DVD presents a nicely revamped Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Though not the most active mix by far, itís clear and well defined with rich music and strong vocals. The rear channels and subwoofer track are used modestly throughout the film, but wonít surprise or wow you with really directional sounds. The eclectic score of synthesized and "real" music by Mark Knopfler comes through beautifully. In addition to the 5.1 mix is a monophonic Spanish track, plus French and Spanish subtitles and English Closed Captioning.

In terms of extras, there really isnít a lot to talk about. The animated main menu screen leads to (strangely) static scene selection screens. The only bonus feature to speak of is a fuzzy theatrical trailer with mono sound. But as for the movie, well, itís excellent. The disc is more than adequate in terms of audio and video quality, and the price of $20 USD is right. If you like this film Ė or if you havenít seen it before Ė you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on August 5, 2000.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial Baby Grand 3E & StarSat

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