I am an unabashed fan of the film The Princess Bride. The swashbuckling, romantic, revenge, pirate, adventure, fairy tale, family film was not a film I expected to like when my dad introduced it to me, but I quickly fell in love with it. It is a film that has improved upon rewatching and when sharing the film with those who haven’t seen it. Going in, I was skeptical about reading the book upon which the film was adapted. How different could the book be, and would I catch myself trying to compare the book to the film? Unfortunately I did compare the book to the film, and going further, the book does not compare.
Trying to take away my bias, there are certainly some flaws in how the book is portrayed. The asides that the author writes into the story feel too tongue-in-cheek and seem to detract from the overall story-telling. The odd characterization of the author at the beginning of the book where he seems both conflicted and loving towards his wife and family does not add anything to the story. But there are great things as well. The way he portrays each character has both a charming reverence, like when he goes in great detail about Inigo Montoya and his father, and some fantastical nature, like when he talks about how Buttercup’s beauty fits in a global scale. The characters are well-fleshed out, and the dialogue and pacing of the book is wonderful.
However, I couldn’t shake the knowledge that the film exists. Not only did it make some of the best lines of the book seem flat, but it also made me yearn for lines that they clearly added in the film. It made me skeptical towards scenes that weren’t in the film, such as Inigo and Fezzik fighting their way through the Zoo of Death. And personally, without the visual and audio aid of the film, the story just felt dull. However, I am greatly biased. I would certainly recommend the book to those looking for a fun and interesting take on fairy tales, but if I’m being honest, the movie is way better than the book.