Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. (Ps 6:4)
First of all, 20 years? Has it really been that long since this movie came out? Man!
When I first started following Jesus, I had turned from a fairly decadent lifestyle. I found myself all of a sudden in a church environment, hanging out with churchy type people in a college and career group. I wasn’t really sure how to talk or what to do or even what movies were “appropriate.” Well, I found out real quick that The Princess Bride was a favorite. In fact, those first few years I must have watched that movie at least half a dozen to a dozen times.
It became a favorite of mine for sure. At the time I think it was because of the silly gags and lines; at one point I had all the lines memorized. Enter the 20th Anniversary edition, which I received as a screener a couple of weeks ago and was released November 13th. It brought a flood of memories as I re-watched the movie and fell in love with it again.
This time what MovedMe was the unending love story between Princess Buttercup and Wesley. The extra features allowed me to reminisce with the original cast, apparently 20 years older (but not by the looks of them), who are still moved by being a part of something truly special… so was I!
Why am I such a sap for a love story? Especially one between a woman named Buttercup and a dude named Wesley? I don’t know, but with the whole storyline of Buttercup losing hope that she would ever see her love again, then finding him, then losing him, then finding him again is intriguing to me. Mix in lines like: “This is true love. Do you think this happens everyday?” and “You truly love each other, and so you might have truly been happy together. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the storybooks say,” and you’ve got the makings of a sappy love story. And I’m just the sucker to buy it!
Why is that about me? I think it’s because the story of humanity is the truest of all love stories. Because God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had so much love and wanted to lavish it he created us… well, Adam and Eve our parents. What did they, and therefore we, do? Questioned that love by disobeying the one command he gave them. Ever since, it has been like so many love stories like this one. Love is found and then lost and then found and then lost again.
But the great thing is true love cannot be stopped, it will keep seeking its object. Wesley said, “Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it for a while.” The Psalm above talks of the Lord’s unfailing love. That’s it! Isn’t it? I love this story because of true love, because of God’s unfailing love for me. God knows I’ve doubted it and been unlovable, but no matter what his love never fails me. This story reminds me of that and that’s why it is one of my all time favorite movies.
Maybe you already have the DVD or like me the VHS (I know I know we live in DVD era, but I just never updated this one movie) and you don’t think you need to buy or rent this special edition. I’m kind of a connoisseur of Extra Features and let me tell you the Princess Bride: The Untold Tales and Fairy Tales and Folklore Featurettes on this DVD are at least worth a rental. It’s actually worth buying again just to have forever… they are that good. The other extras are good, too, but these featurettes are gems.
The Untold Tales is the extra that all Princess Bride fans have been waiting for since DVDs started having extra features. You know, you see the extra features in a really lame movie and just because it’s on DVD someone like me who watches all extra features has to endure the cast saying how glad they were to be part of such a great work. Those kind of extras always led me to want movies like Princess Bride to have extra features, because those sentiments would have to be true.
The most poignant part is Mandy Patinkin ending this featurette saying, “I never thought I’d be part of something this great.” He was visibly verklempt while saying it, even though he was retelling how he felt when he first watched the finished movie 20 years ago. I was verklempt watching him because here is an actor with 20 years of experience doing all kinds of mediums and he still feels the same way… I like that.
The Fairytales and Folkore Featurette has some interviews of the actors again as well as the author of a book about why fairytales stick with us. This attempts to explain it, but not totally for me. Yes I think fairytales are important because they teach us like no other medium can. There are things like mathematics that can straight up be taught… 2 + 2 = 4 and all that. Yes, there are other things, heart matters, for instance, that must be told in story form and even as a fantastic fairytale. These are all things touched on by this featurette.
For me, though, all talk of fairytales and folklore must point to the ultimate fairytale. The one told in the whole of the Bible. There was a God who created humans and a paradise for them to live in and enjoy. Those same humans decided they needed to find a happiness outside of God’s paradise and one commandment. Ever since then, in every thread of the stories weaved throughout the Bible, is a loving God trying to woo his creation back to him.
There are those in the stories that believed the fairytale and decide to walk and live for a loving God that wants nothing but the best for them. Sadly, there are those that decide that fairytales are lame and unintellectual or something like that. Rob Reiner is quoted in one of these featurettes as saying Princess Bride is simply about a grandfather trying to tell his grandson that nothing is more important than true love (my paraphrase). This is the message of the Bible; there is nothing more important than true love, and God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The best part about this fairytale is that it’s true…