SCG Daily Movie Review: The Princess Bride

It’s movie review week at StarCityGames.com, and Peter Jahn will be your reviewer! Each day, Peter takes a look at a classic (or not-so-classic) film and builds a theme deck based around the characters and plot of said movie.

Today’s film? None other than The Princess Bride!

SCG Daily Movie Review: The Princess Bride
By Peter Jahn

It’s movie review week at StarCityGames.com, and today’s feature is a classic: The Princess Bride. If you’ve never seen it, rent or download it now — it’s great. I included some spoiler info below. Watch it first, and then come back for the review and the Princess Bride decklist.

(Spoilers lurk beyond this point! Proceed at your own risk — BEN)

Okay, the movie opens with some boring stuff about a sick kid and an old fart with a book, plus some guy and some girl. Dull, but as a friend once commented, “It doesn’t get good until Andre the Giant shows up.” True dat.

Anyway, the plot ramps up when Vizzini, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik (Andre the Giant) kidnap the heroine Buttercup. It’s all part of a plot by evil Prince Humperdinck (the main villain) to start a war… But the whys and wherefores are pretty much irrelevant. The fun part of the movie is just watching the story unfold. The plot is not predictable and the movie has some very clever dialog.

Vizzini has great lines and is brilliant – at least in his own mind – but as a big, tough dude? Inconceivable! He’s Mundungu — sneaky, obnoxious, but not really all that effective. But just wait ‘til he gets started!

Inigo Montoya is a superb swordsman and mercenary. He’s also headstrong and a bit short on brains. I’m casting King’s Assassin (Tap, say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. Prepare to Die!”: kill target tapped creature) as Inigo. Inigo’s ornate rapier looks like Sword of Fire and Ice to me, but I could see using Umezawa’s Jitte instead.

Fezzik is a giant. He is simple, straightforward and big. Craw Giant seems to fill this bill.

However, I can already see that mana will be an issue, but so what? It’s a theme deck — I’ll take style over substance.

I suppose I need a card to represent Buttercup, our heroine. She’s pretty and gets the plot moving, but she doesn’t actually do anything. That describes Mox Diamond to a tee.

The villain of The Princess Bride is Prince Humperdinck. He’s my idea of a perfect villain — no ranting, no swaggering, just cool and slightly slimy. One of his best lines comes when his henchman asks if he wants to observe the hero being tortured. “Now you know I love to watch you work, but I have a war to plan, a wedding to arrange, a bride to murder and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.” Humperdinck also manages to survive the movie’s ending. He’s the villain whom everyone hates, but no one kills. He’s Morphling.

The evil Prince’s henchman, Count Rugen, is another great villain. He doesn’t bluster — he just tortures people to death because he’s curious about how they die. “I’ve just sucked one year from your life. How does that make you feel? And remember, this is for science, so be honest.” He can be Cabal Interrogator.

On with the plot. Vizzini and company escape in their Merchant Ship, only to be pursued by a Pirate Ship. On board the pirate ship is Westley, our hero. Westley was a Diligent Farmhand who fell in love with Buttercup Captured by pirates, Westley eventually became their captain. He defeats Vizzini, Fezzik and Inigo in personal combat, and then rescues Buttercup. They escape through the Fire Swamp, with its three dangers – fire spurts, Quicksand, and rodents of usual size. For that feat, I’m casting Sol’Kanar, the Swamp King as older Westley.

Anyhow, after getting through the Swamp, our hero is captured and tortured to death. Buttercup is forced to marry the evil prince. Inigo gets drunk, and Fezzik starts working for the evil prince in the brute squad. That’s doesn’t seem like much of an ending, but the movie is only half over.

The rest is pretty typical movie fare — they stick a bellows into Westley, they set fire to Fezzik, and Inigo bleeds all over the banquet table. Oh, and Princess Buttercup contemplates suicide, but she doesn’t actually do so.

At the finish, they all live happily ever after – except for Count Rugen, of course.

Here’s the deck, with notes. I explain my choices for the people who skipped straight to the decklist. Sorry that the mana is such a mess. To fix it, I’ll take some slight liberties. For example, Vizzini and Westley are sitting on Fellwar Stones, the birds in the forest scene are actually Birds of Paradise, and the swamp is full of Rampant Growth.

The Princess Bride
1 Bayou – The Fire Swamp.
1 Overgrown Tomb – The Pit of Despair.
1 Taiga – After the Fire Swamp.
1 Badlands – Where Westley chases Vizzini.
1 Yavimaya Coast – Aka the Cliffs of Insanity (No beasts for Contested Cliffs)
1 Quicksand – one of the terrors of the fire swamp
1 Volcanic Island – In the back during the ship chase (trust me on this one).
1 Underground Sea — See Volcanic Island.
1 Watery Grave – Over there. Yeah.

4 Forest
3 Swamp
3 Island
3 Mountain

2 Birds of Paradise
2 Fellwar Stone
1 Mox Diamond — Buttercup.
1 Diligent Farmhand – Early Westley.
2 Rampant Growth

1 Sol’Kanar, the Swamp King — Westley. “As you wish!”
1 Morphling – Prince Humperdinck. “You’re bluffing!”
1 Cabal Interrogator – Count Rugens. “Remember, this is for science.”
1 Craw Giant – Fezzik “My way doesn’t seem very sporting.”
1 King’s Assassin — Inigo Montoya. “Prepare to die!”
1 Mundungu – Vizzini. “When DEATH is on the line!”
1 Yavimaya Elder – Miracle Max. “It would be a miracle.”
1 Scarwood Hag – Miracle Max’s wife. “LIAR!”
1 Vile Deacon – The old clergyman. “Mawwaige!”
1 Abyssal Gatekeeper – The gatekeeper. “Oh, this key!”
1 Noble Benefactor – The old King. “She cracks me up.”
1 Cateran Brute – The brute squad.
2 Razortooth Rats – Rodents of unusual size.
2 Sea Monster – The shrieking eels.
1 Pirate Ship – Westley’s ship.
1 Merchant Ship – Vizzini’s ship.

2 Magma Jet – Flame spurts in the Fire Swamp.
3 Drain Life – Rugen’s diabolic machine.
1 Animate Dead – The chocolate makes it go down better.
1 Enfeeblement – Westley on the pill.
1 Sword of Fire and Ice – Inigo’s sword.
1 Sword of Light and Shadow – Westley’s sword.
1 Crenellated Wall – They peek over it before storming the castle.
1 Keldon Mantle — The Holocaust Cloak. (Okay, Fiery Mantle is closer, but really lame.)
1 Crossbow Ambush – How Westley was caught.

Tommorrow: Another movie. To give you an idea of how good this movie was, consider that it was in the theatres when I started this daily, moved to budget theatres by the time I wrote this review, and should be on video by the time Ted (or Ben — Ben) publishes this article.