04 October 2007

84. the princess bride




it is about storytelling. it is about the power of the stories we tell, from generation to generation, from grandfather to grandson, and it is about the conventions and techniques of classical storytelling (that the cast is at least vaguely aware of themselves in a true post-modern way) that are so universal and ingrained that they emotionally involve even the most bored, video-game addled jaded suburban children.

what are those conventions? adventure, in the form of a kidnapping and a rescue and a chase. villians, in the forms of an evil know-it-all and an even more evil ruler with sinister intentions. sidekicks, in the forms of a giant and in the form of a six-fingered man. but mostly, as almost all good stories, it is about love, and the lengths we go to get love and save love.

and the story is exotic and fantastic (in the older sense of the word). we get to see things we normally woudn't: the aforementioned six-fingered man, sword fights on stone cliffs, resurrecting the dead, a dangerous forest where flames shoot out of the ground!

mostly, though, the movie espouses storytelling in the most primative and elementary ways: as a bonding experience and as an escape from the world. and since the story is so good, tomorrow the grandfather will come back and tell it again, since stories are meant to be told over and over and over.

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