The release of Stardust this past summer sparked much talk of the beloved film The Princess Bride. The new film combines magical fantasy, a whimsical world, humor, and adventure in a wonderful package that was sadly ignored at the box office. It was that genre combination that led to its numerous comparisons to Rob Reiner's longtime favorite. Sure, the elliptical comparison could be made but they are vastly different films. However, this is not a comparison column, nor is it about Stardust. This is about another DVD release for The Princess Bride.
It is hard to believe that it has been twenty years since this fractured fairy tale hit the big screen. Upon its release back in September of 1987, the film was not a huge hit, but had a pretty good run, broaching the $30 million mark. While that would have to be considered a good finish for a film that would seem to have a limited appeal, it would take off on home video where it is one of MGM's perennial best sellers.
I, for one, love the film. However, I cannot recall my first introduction to the world of the Dread Pirate Roberts and Princess Buttercup. I know it was sometime well after its theatrical run, and before the dawn of the DVD age some ten years later. Somewhere in those middle years my parents introduced me to the joys of the fantastical adventure contained within.
However, I have to wonder if we truly need a fourth release of this film. Seriously. July of 2000 saw the first release, a bare-bones edition. That was followed quickly by a special edition in September of 2001 that included a commentary, a documentary, and a couple of featurettes. Another edition came in June 2006, a two-disk set that came with either a Pirate Roberts or Princess Buttercup slipcover.
Anyway, MGM is preparing a brand new edition of the film, set to be released on November 13. This new release includes a selection of new extras, including "True Love and High Adventure: The Official Princess Bride DVD Video Game."
“The Official Princess Bride DVD Game” begins during Episode Two after Vizzini, Montoya and Fezzik kidnap Princess Buttercup. Players will assume the role of their favorite characters in a series of interactive challenges and will be rewarded with gems for completing an activity or for receiving an exceptional score. New content, extras, and gems can be redeemed at the game's website.
There will also be a new selection of new featurettes: Princess Bride: The Untold Tales featurette, The Art of Fencing featurette, and Fairytales and Folklore featurette. I do not see anything indicating any carryover from the prior DVD releases.
In addition to the DVD features, MGM is teaming up with a number of other companies to produce t-shirts and action figures to celebrate the anniversary.
Oh yes, I mentioned a contest, didn't I?
In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of The Princess Bride, MGM Home Entertainment is launching the Ode To Princess Bride Sweepstakes, an online contest that provides an “editor’s tool kit” with video, audio, and music from the film and allows fans to create their own “Ode to The Princess Bride” video trailer. The contest winners will be selected by Norman Lear and Rob Reiner. One grand prize winner will receive a state-of-the-art Panasonic Home Theater package and The Princess Bride script autographed by Rob Reiner and Norman Lear. For more information, please visit the Princess Bride website.
I only have the original bare-bones release. Perhaps it is time for an upgrade?