Tuesday, January 3, 2017

As You Wish Behind The Scenes

Happy New Years!  What better way to start of this fresh and shiny new year then to finish a brand new book?  How about three books?!?  Yep, I finally actually took my days off to read instead of picking up shifts lol.  So get ready for some ramblings my friends.  Let's start with...As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden.  Since it is more of a non-fiction book the rambling may be a bit different then normal, but let's give it a go shall we?
In essence this is a behind the scenes/memoir of the making, releasing and results of one of the best movies ever The Princess Bride which is based on the book The Princess Bride by William Goldman who also wrote the screenplay.  I love the book, I love the movie, I love Cary Elwes (Westley) so pretty much happiness all the way around.  The book is written from Mr. Elwes point of view and we follow him from the beginning.  We hear about his audition, how nervous he was and how wonderful Rob Reiner  (Director) was/is (we hear this about 1000 times so it must be true :-) )  He moves on to the intense and insane amount of training he and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)  had to go through, not only initially, but in between every take during filming to be ready for their epic fencing scene.  It is described as the best in the book so therefore the two were expected to be up to snuff.  We are with him when he meets the beautiful and enigmatic Robin Wright (Buttercup) and the two hit it off in perfect movie chemistry.  Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) apparently is terrified of heights and failing in his role.  Christopher Guest (Count Tyrone) and Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink) add there two cent's about playing the villain's in this amazing show.  Billy Crystal (Mad Max) and Carol Kane (Valerie) kept the cast in stitches during their brief days of improvised filming.  I think though it's the stories of Andre the Giant (Fezzik) and his astounding gentleness that will really get to people who read this book.  Through out the filming we learn on how Cary Elwes was injured twice...once because of his own questionable choice of hopping on an ATV, and once when he insisted on having Christopher Guest actually hit him on the head with a sword...not really understanding how heavy it actually was.  Cary tells us about the dinners that they all shared in each others rooms, and even more about how great Rob was.  We get stories from on set, especially the stunts required for the Fire Swamp scenes.  All of this is supplemented with little blurbs from other cast and crew members tucked in through out the book.  The book ends as most of the casts gets together for the 25th anniversary amazed and thrilled at how much a part of peoples life their movie has become.
World Building - Obviously this is non-fiction, so what we are looking at is how well the author conveyed his environment, and our friend did a great job at that.  At any given time I could tell where and even when we were in the process of the film.  I think sometimes it is harder to convey a real place then an imaginary one because you can't take near as many liberties with your descriptions.

Story - It was pretty cool to see a person who was pretty much in almost every scene of the movie tell us what actually went on.  Mr. Ewles gave us all of it from audition through the 25th anniversary so no time was left out.  That being said I felt that there was a lot of repetitiveness overall and that things were reiterated ad nausea.  This was reinforced by the blurbs of the others that should have added to the story, but instead felt like a borderline word for word repetition of what the author had already said.

Character - Mr. Ewles gave us a lot of insight into the crew and cast of the film.  I felt like I got to know the people behind one of my favorite films better.  Billy Crystals parts were hilarious and made me love him even more.  I have always heard stories of Andre's gentleness, but getting to know his history and his struggles added even more of a glow to this guy.  The only real thing I found lacking was the effusive praise that went on in the book.  Everybody loved everybody so much, no body irritated each other, everybody was perfect...I understand that this was really not a rowdy bunch and that they all behaves for the most part...but the over the top continual and repetitive love fest got a little old.

Editing - The flow of the book was really good.  You always knew where in the process you were so as far as that went good editing.  The tone as I've mentioned (and am now of danger of being guilty of myself) was just so repetitive.  You would feel like the story was about to move on and then BAM we were once again reiterating the wonderfulness of everybody.  I feel like the editor (or maybe the ghost writer) should have found a way to mix it up a little.

The Gift - I know I have mentioned it in a previous post...but I've got to again mention the coolness of how I got this book.  My amazing Mamma took months and I'm sure no small amount of money to obtain a copy that was signed by the Dread Pirate Roberts/Westley/Cary Elwes himself.  This alone would have made it pretty awesome.  The fact that this is a) a book about b) one of my favorite movie that is c) based on one of my favorite books and d) is signed by an actor I adore who e) wrote said book in point a.  So pretty much the worlds most perfect gift.

Book/Movie - Aside from getting some insight into the making of the film...this book made me crave a rewatch of the movie and a reread of the original book.  Upon watching the movie again, it was cool to see some of the secrets that were revealed in the memoir.  You can bet I paid special attention to the fight scenes.  I also need to reread the book.  Hearing about the passion of the author when it comes to what he considers his favorite work...in let's face it, is a hugely accomplished body of work, makes me eager to enjoy it with a new perspective.

Lovefest - Ok Ok Ok, I know I just spent half this rambling complaining about the repetitive love fest...but on a totally different note...it's kinda cool to know that the cast and crew seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience.  You watch movies like this and hope that everything about it was magical, and to find out that it seems like it actually was...well it kind of gets me right in the feels.

Overall Impression - The absolutely awesome amazing way I obtained this book will always give it a very special place in my heart and on my bookshelf.  That being said...I would have loved it even more if it was a bit better written/edited.  Without hesitation I recommend it to ANYBODY who loves the movie (so pretty much any real human with any sort of heart) and can't get enough.  I give it 10 out of 10 on a nostalgia Cliffs of Insanity Scale and a 6 out of 10 on rereadability R.O.U.S. scale.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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