Stardust Vs The Princess Bride

Posted on July 28, 2009. Filed under: Movies to see before you die | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

First of all, apologies for lack of posts.  The cruel system which dictates I work for a living means I’ve had less time than usual.  But I am still here, reading all your lovely comments and beginning all sorts of post which will one day make it to the web.  This one started as a quick scribble before work, but I’m determined to finish it….

In a format I’ve stolen from one of the favourites on my blogroll, I thought I’d do a comparison of two movies sharing a similar format, sparked by a recent discussion on the comments of this post.

Stardust and The Princess Bride are essentially doing the same thing.  They take the typical children’s fairytale and turn it on its head so that nothing is quite as you expect it.  Princess Bride definitely does this more knowingly, almost aiming directly at adults, while Stardust follws the growing trend of family films with parent-oriented humour (following on from Toy Story and Shrek)

Unlike the two Rosses, I’m not really going for an out and out which film is better debate here, especially since the fact that I’ve just watched Princess Bride means its much clearer in my mind….(but I have a feeling I might be leaning that way anyway.)  Instead I’m hoping to convince you to go and watch them especially if you may have dismissed them as kids films.  Stardust you’ve more than likely heard of, as with any Hollywood release it did the promo circuit, but Princess Bride had to work harder to earn its cult status.  (Although, if you ever watch those 100 Best *insert adjective* Movie countdowns, they always find some way to include it somewhere in the top 30.)

Are you talkin' to me?

The strength of both films is in their comedy.  Stardust has genius comic turns from Robert DeNiro and a cast of pretty much every British comic actor wandering past the studio at the time (Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Walliams, Ricky Gervais etc).  As I’ve mentioned, DeNiro’s performance (I’m not gonna ruin it) pretty much changed my life.  You’ll never look at him the same again 😉 , but The Princess Bride just has the edge I think, counting Peter Cook, Billy Crystal, Peter Falk, Mel Smith and Andre the Giant amongst its fantastic ensemble cast.  Princess Bride is endlessly quotable (“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”) and as has been demonstrated, contains some classic scenes.  In fact, I’d go as far as to argue that Stardust refernces its predecessor, with a remarkabley similar “mostly dead” scene at the end and yet another ferocious Pirate Captain who isn’t all he seems.  I say references rather than “steals from” because Stardust is almost a remake in everything but plot , which in itself isn’t too far away from Princess Bride (despite being based on a novel).  This isn’t a criticism though, more films like The Princess Bride should be made, and if they’re going to be done as well as Stardust then I’m all for it, even if they do borrow the odd idea.

Is this a kissing book?

The characters are what make these films great.  I’m not sure that Yvaine and Dunstan will become quite as iconic aStardusts Inigo and Fezzik, but making a film that stands up in comparison to The Princess Bride isn’t easy, so points to Matthew Vaughan and Co.  The older film is a classic, and is quite probably the better film (I’m reserving judgement until I watch Stardust again) but both should be on your “to watch” list (preferably on the same day :P)

The Princess Bride

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