November 13, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: The Princess Bride

Welcome back, once again, to your one place for finding my thoughts on the weekly crop of DVD releases. I pour over the new-release list hunting for the select titles worthy of being mentioned in my weekly column. Carefully perusing the weekly offerings so you don't have to. Plus, in addition to the list you will get personal thoughts from yours truly on what may or may not be worth adding to your collection. Well, okay, this isn't the only place you can turn, and I don't search as carefully as I should. Still, you will get a column of honest and truthful opinion to assist in your DVD selection, beginning with the absolute, undisputable top pick of the week (well, it can be disputed, but my opinion always wins). Last week's choice is also one of the best of 2007, this week's pick is a classic from 1987. This week's pick also leads a relatively weak collection of frontrunners, if I do say so myself (and I do).

This week's top release is none other than The Princess Bride. I cannot speak to how good this DVD is, but it may be about time for me to upgrade my old plain DVD copy with this new spruced up version. I can only imagine, and hope, how much better this new transfer will be. This film also beat out a couple 2007 films which would be legitimate contenders on other people's lists, but not here.

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.

MGM's brand new edition of the film 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.

Also put this week:
  • Shrek the Third. The third outing for the green guy is definitely the least. It is just not that funny. Yes, the animation is good, but I would have like a much better story.
  • Amazing Grace. A good film that centers on the fight against the slave trade in the UK.
  • Ocean's Thirteen. Definitely a step up from the second film, but ultimately does not give much of the cast all that much to do.
  • La Vie en Rose. I have heard that this is a good film, but have not seen it. It is the story of Edith Piaf.
  • Paris, Je T'aime. Another film I wanted to see, but have not yet. It is a collection of shorts from a number of directors spanning one night in Paris.
  • Northern Exposure: Complete Series. I always meant to give this a shot. This is listed for the cool promo packaging!
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Edition. Classic Spielberg, in a brand new multi-disk ultimate edition.
  • DuckTales: Volume 3. Another volume from one of the hits from the great Disney after-school era.
  • The Addams Family: The Complete Series. All in one place? How can you go wrong with this gothic comedy?
  • Christmas Time in South Park. Is there ever a better time in the SP?
  • Welcome to the Jungle. The cover is pretty cool with the skulls on it. It is a cannibal film that I doubt will match Cannibal Holocaust.
  • Driftwood. Former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page stars in this horror/thriller that bypassed the big screen to land on the small.
  • Cannibals. I wonder what this is about? It is a Jess Franco production and likely contains plenty of gut munching.

Any of these landing in your queue?


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