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Wonderful film - what's in the Blu-Ray only edition?
on October 21, 2011
This is a terrific movie that has so many different editions of the DVD and now Blu-Ray discs that it gets very confusing as to what is in each version.
A search of the internet shows several reviews that describe the differences between the DVD versions. Basically the "Dread Pirate Roberts" edition and the "20th Anniversery" edition have different special features not in the other edition.
As of this writing, there are three versions of the Blu-ray - the Blu-ray only edition, and the Blu-ray + DVD edition in either a Blu-Ray or the old style DVD case.
What makes it confusing is that Amazon and other sellers of this Blu-Ray only edition list this movie as a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, implying that it might be a different movie cut, while the other two Blu-ray editions are listed as 1.85:1 aspect ratio. No doubt this, together with the fact that the Blu-Ray + DVD edition has almost the same price, has hampered sales of this Blu-Ray only edition.
Well, I went ahead and got the Blu-Ray only edition, mainly because I thought that there might be a chance that the 1.33:1 ratio was because some older movies were filmed on 35mm film which has a natural 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and then were cropped top and bottom to a 1.85:1 ratio to give them a widescreen look. On the other hand, the very first DVD edition released for Princess Bride notoriously had a horrible pan-and-scan cropped to fullscreen 1.33:1 aspect ratio that showed less of the movie than the widescreen version, which is not what you want to see in a Blu-ray. I was hoping for the other possibility that the listed 1.33:1 for this Blu-ray edition meant that cropping had been removed from the widescreen version to show MORE of the movie as it was originally filmed.
However, on playing this Blu-ray, it was immediately obvious that this Blu-Ray only edition is the same 1.85:1 aspect ratio as the other Blu-Ray editions. So all those listed descriptions of this Blu-Ray as a 1.33:1 aspect ratio are just flat out wrong.
What are the other goodies on this Blu-Ray? The Special Features include:
Audio Commentary by Rob Reiner
Audio Commentary by William Goldman
The Art of Fencing
As You Wish, The Story of The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes, Video Diary
The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas
Fairy Tales and Folklore
Love is Like a Storybook
Original Theatrical Trailer
Princess Bride: The Untold Tales
So, this Blu-Ray contains essentially all the special features of the "Dread Pirate Roberts" edition and the "20th Anniversary Edition" except for the DVD games and the booklet. The special features are in their original DVD or lower quality video resolution, although it seems that some of the excerpts from the movie itself have been re-edited to use the higher Blu-Ray resolution.
The Blu-Ray quality is excellent, except for being a bit grainy in some parts - tweaking the sharpness or edge enhancement helps, if you have this feature on your Blu-Ray player.
Finally, a few words about the movie - it is an absolutely wonderful classic - a warm, romantic, and humorous mythology, one of those perfect family movies that could be shown every year just like "A Christmas Story". It was known to be the late Andre the Giant's happiest experience in life, playing the role of Fezzik; he regularly watched the movie afterwards.
It belongs on the list of my favorite films of all time.