Anybody Want a Peanut?
“There’s a positive moral – true love always wins. Princess Bride doesn’t whiff on the overarching goodness of these timeless stories. Still, it does bend them. Montoya gets his revenge and there’s no positive moral there. He’s satisfied. His life’s purpose is fulfilled, and off he rides into the sunset. That’s part of Princess Bride’s surreal truth. Not everything ends cleanly.”
In the jump to 4K, Princess Bride isn’t as impressive as on Blu-ray. The spark and the resolution that presented immediately in HD doesn’t have the resolution, or rather, limitations show more in 4K. In close, it’s often dazzling, brilliant, and infinitely textured. At times, the same goes for the exteriors, but that’s inconsistent. For instance, the first shot of a crowd when the prince announces his bride appears fizzy and imprecise. This looks similar if not identical to the Blu-ray.
Grain structure wobbles. Usually varying in thickness, Princess Bride poses a notable challenge for this encode. Criterion’s encode does what it can until the imagery turns complex, then degrades.
While this reads highly negative so far, that’s not the overall impression. Rather, it’s a case of a great Blu-ray and the minimal gains made in definition and texture for this UHD. Improvements happen in the color space (richer, bolder) and the contrast/black levels (deeper, thicker). Princess Bride utilizes Dolby Vision beautifully, accentuating the highlights and giving the kingdom an obvious glow as sun or flame fills the frame.
On its own, the UHD is worth it. As an upgrade over the Blu-ray, less so.
DTS-HD serves this pure audio, presented in 5.1 if primarily a stereo track. The only LFE comes from spouting flames in the swamp. Directional use barely registers.
What does work though is fidelity, keeping dialog rich with little age. Princess Bride’s small score uses extensive treble, with no audible degradation. Like the video, purity is key to Criterion’s presentation.
Criterion finds a small bounty of bonus features to include. Some of them date back to the 10th anniversary in 1997, including a commentary that brings together director Rob Reiner, writer William Goldman, producer Andrew Scheinman, and actor Billy Crystal. They make up a fine speaking team. Another alternative track is a collection of excerpts from the audiobook, seeing how things aligned from page to screen.
From 2012 comes True Love, the first featurette, running 15 minutes. This brings Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, and Rob Reiner together for a chat. Pure Enchanted details William Goldman’s writing styles and why his stories became successful. A detailed look at a massive tapestry commissioned by Goldman (following the entire Princess Bride story) runs six minutes.
Six older making-of sections include some on-set footage shot by Elwes and other gems. Swordfighting choreography gets its due in The Art of Fencing, a seven minute clip. Finally, a look at fairy tales and how Princess Bride subverts them comes in last (aside from trailers).
The Princess Bride
Marvelously told and charming, The Princess Bride is absolute joy every minute it’s on screen, and nothing has changed that in over 35 years.
User Review( votes)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 63 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: