Anybody want a peanut?
Quibi's homemade Princess Bride remake has concluded, and it's better than we could ever have imagined. Directed by Jason Reitman (Ghostbusters: Afterlife), the project recalls the DIY version of Alien we reported on a few weeks back.
It's certainly funny to see blockbuster-caliber actors appearing in a production that looks like it was made with no money and zero CGI. All scenes requiring animals or crowds are simply brought to life with LEGOs. Cobbled together from different performances shot all over the world, this remake is emblematic of the staggering amount of creativity we've been seeing from folks in quarantine.
Home Movie: The Princess Bride is benefiting World Central Kitchen, and Quibi has already donated 100,000 meals to feed those affected by COVID-19.
Chapter One: "As You Wish"
Chapter One fittingly kicks things off with the return of Fred Savage, who played the little boy in the 1987 original. His mother (a role originated by Betsy Brantley) is played by Retta and his grandfather (a role originated by the late Peter Falk) is played by Adam Sandler. The boy later turns into Josh Gad, while the grandfather becomes none other than Rob Reiner, director of The Princess Bride movie.
As the main story (based on William Goldman's novel) takes shape, the roles of Wesley (originated by Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) are played by Annabelle Wallis, Chris Pine, Common, Tiffany Haddish, and Zazie Beetz. And as you can see in the preview above, Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon) is first portrayed by Hugh Jackman, wearing a bathrobe and what looks to be one half of a dumpling steamer basket for his crown.
Chapter Two: "The Shrieking Eels"
Chapter Two sees Buttercup (now Mackenzie Davis) kidnapped by Rainn Wilson's Vizzini (first played by Wallace Shawn), who wants to inconceivably start a war between Florin and Guilder. Pedro Pascal and Jason Segel are the first to portray his henchman, Inigo Montoya (originally played by Mandy Patinkin) and Fezzik (André the Giant). Both are great in the role, but it's Segel's famous André the Giant impression that really steals the show.
As they sail off into the sunset (just a toy boat in an infinity pool), Nick Kroll takes over as Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik for the rest of the segment. It's so weird, yet so awesome. Trying to escape her captors, Buttercup jumps ship and runs the risk of being devoured by the shrieking eels.
It's at this point that Mckenna Grace and J.K. Simmons take us back to reality for a moment as the sick boy and his grandfather. Their conversation over Buttercup's watery fate ends when the princess is yanked back into the boat. The kidnappers' vessel (now followed by Westley) reaches the Cliffs of Insanity, which is just a brick wall.
Chapter 3: "The Cliffs of Insanity"
Fans of The Office will rejoice over the third installment, which features Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez, and Brian Baumgartner as Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik respectively. Climbing up the Cliffs of Insanity (again, just a brick wall) with Buttercup, the group (back to LEGO form) is pursued by Westley, who's left dangling on the rocks when Vizzini cuts the rope.
Westley turns into Jack Black (wielding Kylo Ren's lightsaber) and is helped up to solid ground by Inigo, who is now played by Diego Luna (wielding a red umbrella for his own weapon). As Westley catches his breath, Inigo recounts his tragic backstory and utters the famous line: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." If they ever remake the movie for real, Luna should be at the top of the casting list.
Things cut off just before the two characters' epic sword-fight, but it'll be interesting to see how they handle all that choreography in Chapter 4.
Chapter 4: "Battle of the Wits"
The sword-play in Chapter 4 is brought to life by Kaitlyn Dever (Westley) and Finn Wolfhard (Inigo). Their banter is fun and made all the more charming by the fact that Wolfhard is wearing a fishing vest and not even trying to emulate Montoya's Spanish accent.
Westley defeats Inigo in combat and Vizzini (King Bach) instructs Fezzik (a well-cast Dave Bautista) to take out the meddlesome Man in Black (David Spade). During their fight, Westley's line about masks being "terribly comfortable" and how he thinks "everyone will be wearing them in the future" is now more relevant than ever.
Back at the Cliffs of Insanity, Humperdink (Thomas Lennon in his ridiculous Reno 911! costume) and Rugen (Lennon's son, Oliver) suspect treachery on the part of Guilder.
And finally, we come to the Battle of Wits between Westley (Jon Hamm in the full get-up, save for a pair of Converse sneakers) and Vizzini (Patton Oswalt). Princess Buttercup is played by Oswalt's daughter, Alice.
Armed with his packet of Iocaine powder (just a magic marker), Hamm's Westley bests Vizzini after the kidnapper's famously convoluted speech about logic.
Chapter 5: "Life is Pain"
Thomas Lennon is back as Humperdink, searching for his fiancée Buttercup (Leslie Bibb), who is now back with her true love, Westley (Sam Rockwell), although she doesn't know it just yet.
Rockwell flaunts his Oscar-winning chops as the Man in Black, callously testing the princess to see if her love for him is still true. Unaware of his true identity, Buttercup antagonizes him in kind, saying, "You can die too for all I care." She strikes Westley, causing him to roll down a hill (hilariously intercut with a trash bag being thrown down a flight of stairs). On the way down, he declares, "As you wish!" and Buttercup, realizing her mistake, joins him (cue the next bag of trash).
At the bottom of the hill, Westley and Buttercup turn into Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka. They share a romantic reunion smooch before we cut back to the boy (Keith L. Williams), who's grossed out by all the kissing in the story. "You know, someday you may not mind so much," says his grandfather (Giancarlo Esposito).
Humoring his grandson, Esposito's character gets back to the action, as Westley and Buttercup head for the dreaded Fire Swamp.
Chapter 6: "The Fire Swamp"
Traversing the Fire Swamp, Westley (Brandon Routh doing an impeccable Elwes impression) explains to Buttercup (Routh's real-world wife, Courtney Ford) that the "Dread Pirate Roberts" is merely a title that is passed down from person-to-person.
Routh and Ford switch roles before Buttercup (a Funko POP!) is sucked into quicksand. Westley (a LEGO figurine) dives in after her and a Rodent of Unusual Size (Routh and Ford's son, Leo James) inspects the area.
Westley and Buttercup escape, but are now another celebrity couple: Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas. They battle off a R.O.U.S. (their pet Corgi) and escape the Fire Swamp, only to be approached by Humperdink (David Oyelowo) on his horse (actually just a golf cart). He orders Westley (Lucas Hedges) to surrender, but Westley refuses, insisting that he and Buttercup (Jenna Ortega) can live out their lives in the Fire Swamp.
The princess agrees to return home with Humperdink if the latter promises that Westley will not be returned to his ship, unharmed. Humperdink agrees, but quietly instructs Rugen (B.J. Novak) to throw Westley in the Pit of Despair as soon as they return to Florin. Westley sees through the double cross immediately and notices that Rugen is the six-fingered man Inigo has been searching for.
Chapter 7: "The Pit of Despair"
Chapter 7 features a Lord of the Rings reunion (kind of) between Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis, who play Humperdink and Rugen respectively. It's clear that both actors filmed their scenes in separate locations, but it's cool to see Frodo and Gollum sharing the screen again.
Now in The Pit of Despair, Westley (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is hooked up to "The Machine" and tortured by The Albino (Nicholas Braun in a role originated by Mel Smith) and Rugen (Stephen Merchant). A bubbling hot tub stands in for their nefarious torture device.
Back at the castle, Buttercup is having nightmares about her upcoming wedding to Humperdink. The dream versions of the two characters are portrayed by Jennifer Garner (pulling double duty as the "booing" wench) and José Andrés.
Buttercup awakens as Zoe Saldana and asks Humperdink (Don Johnson wearing a Midsommar-like crown of flowers) to call the wedding off. He agrees, but asks her to reconsider if Westley cannot be reached. Humperdink knows that Westley is in The Pit of Despair and plans to foment a war with Guilder by strangling his new bride on their wedding night.
Now fully invested in the love story, the sick boy (Logan Kim) asserts to his grandfather (Sarah Silverman wearing a fake wig, mustache, and eyebrows) that Buttercup won't marry the prince.
Chapter 8: "Ultimate Suffering"
Fezzik and Inigo are back, now played by Shaquille O'Neal and Sarah Cooper respectively. Being nursed back to health, Inigo (an umbrella standing in for a sword at his hip) learns of Rugen's existence and plans to storm the castle and kill the six-fingered man with Westley's help.
Meanwhile, messenger Yellen (Richard Speight Jr. in a role originated by Malcolm Storry) informs Humperdink (Dennis Haysbert) that the castle is secure. In his haste to marry Buttercup (Beanie Feldstein), the prince subtly reveals that he never let Westley (Tommy Dewey) go.
Furious over her devotion to Westley, Humperdink (now Ernie Hudson) heads to The Pit of Despair dangerously cranks up The Machine (a piece of exercise equipment with a numbered gauge made from a piece of carboard and Amazon package arrow), effectively killing the princess's paramour.
In the forest, Inigo (Keegan-Michael Key wielding a purple lightsaber just off a city intersection) and Fezzik (Craig Robinson) locate the mostly dead Westley. The hero's passing outrages the sick boy (Joey King), whose grandfather (Robert Wuhl) suggests they stop reading for the day. The boy insists he's ok and the story cuts off with Inigo planning to revive Westley with...a miracle.
Chapter 9: "Have Fun Storming the Castle!"
At last, we come to the introduction of Miracle Max and his wife Valerie, played by the real-world couple of Seth Rogen and Ari Graynor. The duo was originated by Billy Crystal and Carol Kane.
Inigo (John Cho) asks Max to revive Westley (a Sesame Street-looking puppet) and Max agrees if it'll end up spiting Humperdink. He gives them a chocolate-coated miracle pill and wishes them luck storming the castle.
Inigo and Fezzik then turn into Catherine Reitman (Jason Reitman's sister) and Westley, still unable to fully move, becomes Taika Waititi. Whenever he's speaking, Inigo and Fezzik are seen as drawings on cardboard. Together, the trio plan to break into the castle, kill Rugen, and free Buttercup.
Up at the castle, Humperdink and Buttercup (both played by Penélope Cruz) get ready for their wedding. At the actual ceremony, the bride and groom transform into another real husband-wife duo: Kimberly Brook and James Van Der Beek. The scene-stealer, though, is a New Pope-adjacent John Malkovich as the "twoo wuv" priest.
Outside, Fezzik (Charlize Theron) pretends to be the Dread Pirate Roberts, scaring the plastic pants off a LEGO battalion guarding the castle walls. Rugen (Meredith Salenger) goes to see what all the fuss is about, while the wedding wraps up and Humpderink whisks Buttercup away to the honeymoon suite.
Chapter 10: "To The Pain!"
Inigo finally comes face-to-face with Rugen and the two combatants are respectively played by a pair of acting titans: Javier Bardem and Bryan Cranston. The six-fingered man is dispatched, but not before Inigo's sword goes through several changes between cuts. His weapon becomes a loaf of bread, a tennis racket, a duster, and a Kylo Ren lightsaber.
Up in her chambers, Princess Buttercup (Zoey Deutch) plans to kill herself, but Westley (Paul Rudd) reveals himself to be lying on her bed. Humpderdink shows up and wouldn't you know it, he's played by the great Cary Elwes. His sword is a Swiffer Sweeper.
Pinching his screen to zoom in for effect, Rudd's Westley threatens to mutilate the prince with his "to the pain" monologue. Humperdink is tied up, Inigo (Natalie Morales) returns, and our heroes jump down to Fezzik (Deutch with a fake belly), who's waiting with some getaway horses.
As they ride off into the sunset, Westley and Buttercup share a legendary kiss.
Things close out with the sick boy (Rob Reiner) asking his grandfather (Rob Reiner's father, the late Carl Reiner) to come back the next day and re-read him the story. The grandfather smiles and says, "As you wish."
"It dawned on me: It was his final performance on not only a perfect career, but a perfect life," Jason Reitman told Vanity Fair. "It felt like one more chance to see Carl Reiner. It was actually a scene about the love of a grandfather and a grandson. It’s a scene about storytelling. You can’t help but imagine Carl reading stories to Rob when he was a kid, and that this is what it looked like and what it felt like.”