Tag Archive | The Princess Bride

Remakes That Need to Happen: Princess Bride Kdrama

UnknownMy initial reaction to The Princess Bride as kid wasn’t much different from that of the sick kid in the film who thinks his Grandpa is going to tell him a yawner of a story.  My younger brother, in elementary school at the time, loved this movie and thought we should watch it as a family after having seen it in class.  We were all suspicious, but rented the video anyway, and subsequently found ourselves rolling with laughter.  It was the funniest movie we’d ever seen, and I immediately decided that Westley was the man for me (funny, handsome sword fighters with immunities to Iocane powder are sadly in short supply).  Since then, my family has watched The Princess Bride countless times over the years, memorizing the fantastically quotable dialogue and still coming away amazed at the wonderful sword fights, the torture machine in the Pit of Despair, and the chilling scenes near the end where Inigo gets his man and Westley reclaims Buttercup for his own.  This movie is a genuine romantic comedy that is, well, actually funny and romantic without denigrating either.

As a longtime fan of the Rob Reiner film as well as the book by William Goldman, the idea of remaking the cult classic sounds lame.  And yet?  And yet, it would be fun to see the story explored again with a new cast and for modern audiences.  In recent years I have become a fan of Korean TV Dramas, or Kdramas, specifically the romantic comedies.  I think most of the themes and characters in these melodramas fit in line with the themes of The Princess Bride, specifically that there’s nothing like good friends and that love conquers all.  Being good at everything, Westley would fit right in with the “flower boys” in many dramas, as would Buttercup with her subtle snottiness and comic inability to act when the time calls for it.  Romantic comedies are almost always a battle of the sexes and both Kdramas and The Princess Bride play out that battle to that bitter…er, I mean happy end…of a head-spinning kiss.

Other reasons TPB would make a great Kdrama:  1. The book could get its due.  As fantastic as the Reiner film is, it doesn’t plumb the depths of the satire that Goldman wrote.  If Cary Elwes’ Westley seems arrogant in the film, he pales in comparison to the character in the book.  Buttercup and the other characters are just as ridiculous, but to great effect.  The trials Westley goes through are a bit more bizarre, the pit of despair, being more like consecutive circles of a hellish zoo.  A 20-episode treatment could be a whole lot of fun.

2. Revenge.  I still love Westley, but my favorite character is sword master Inigo Montoya.  His backstory is briefly told in the movie, but the book has a lot more, like his despair at being able to find a worthy opponent.  And his quest for revenge is a common tale highlighted again in many Asian movies from not only Korea, but Japan and China as well.  Inigo Montoya the samurai or Korean equivalent?  Yes, please.

3.  Talent.  Korea has hands down some of the best quality film and TV production out there.  Many of their TV shows are just really long movies.  Add to that the numerous talented writers, actors, and directors from all over Asia who participate in the Kdrama industry.  It would be fun and exciting to see that talent showcased in a remake of an American cult classic.  Hey, we remade Oldboy, so why not?

The End of the Story: Good wins.

Evil has a foothold. This is evident in the daily news stories from all parts of the world highlighting one atrocity after another. The beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS (Islamic State) in Iraq is just another in a long list of disheartening news stories. Some days it seems like all the love has gone out of the world and that the love of most has grown cold.

The truth, however, is that evil doesn’t stand a chance against good. As a Christian, I already know the end of the story, and it’s that good wins. Love wins, hope wins, peace wins, joy wins. God created the human race knowing that we would turn to evil. The only explanation we have for why he did this is love. He wanted to create something to love. And if you read the Bible, you can see throughout history that although evil exists and although Satan is trying to take everyone down with him to hell, that evil has been used time and again to further God’s plan for Jesus to die on the cross, and after that time, to hasten the footsteps of those Christians spreading the message of the Gospel throughout the world.

In the light of day, a spot of darkness can scarcely be seen, but in darkness a spot of light shines brightly. This is how God works. We don’t always understand it, but the troubles and worries of this life often toughen us up to endure and conquer even worse troubles and worries. History repeats itself. Eugenics and anti-semitism are on the rise. People are exchanging freedom for the illusion of safety. Propaganda is more important than telling the truth. But these events have a purpose. Those who have studied history are waking up faster and faster to what’s happening around them. They are building a mindset to face what’s coming. They will be candles in the growing darkness and will frustrate the darkness as they continue to burn brighter and brighter the more the darkness accosts them. This is why evil can’t win, why it never wins.

God is love. God is holy, and as the creator of the universe, so much more powerful than the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. He uses everything, including evil, to fulfill his purposes. He is a long-term thinker in a way we can barely imagine. His goal is to shower us with love forever in a place outside of the time and space of this universe that He created. Satan’s goal is rather dumb in comparison. Satan has already lost. The place called hell was created first for satan and his followers. It is hell, because it is a place where God is not. It is a place of torment because in hell there exists no love, no mercy, and no relief. Satan’s goal is simply to take as many humans beings with him to this hell as possible. That’s it. That’s his only goal because that’s all that he has. And the most power he can have in this world is to be a prince of it, but never a king.

It’s kind of pathetic when you think about it. ISIS may rule the world someday, but that’s all they have, all they’ve got. They will rule the world and find no delight in it, no joy, no peace, and no prosperity. Their own deaths will gain them nothing, and many of their victims will be laughing as they step into heaven. Just like a candle shines in the darkness, so faith shines in an evil and depraved world. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed is still saving faith. That’s all God needs to win, a tiny little speck of light that breaks the darkness. One spot of sin can damn us, but one spot of faith in salvation through Jesus saves us.

The truth of this world is that we are all living a grand story created by a being so just, so loving, and such a bright light that darkness doesn’t have a chance. And evil is merely a part of the plot, not the ending, not by a long shot. We have wonders waiting for us of which evil can scarcely conceive. Jesus is the ultimate prince on a white horse, riding to save us, the damsel who in no way can save herself from the dragon. Jesus slew the dragon a long time ago, and is now a king. All authority has been given to Him by His father the King, and He is just waiting for the time when He can take us, His bride, home to eternal bliss.

I am a huge Princess Bride fan, and my favorite scene is when Buttercup drives fear into Prince Humperdinck’s eyes, simply by telling him the truth: “You can’t hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords.” Love, the ultimate Good, wins. And that is the end of the story.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,who have been called according to His purpose.   Romans 8:28

 

If God is for us, who can be against us? –Romans 8:32

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  –Romans 8:38-39

 

How Stories Give Us Hope

openclipart.orgIf you’re a story addict like me, you may have spent a good chuck of your life either reading, watching, or listening to stories.  For me, stories have such a spellbinding quality because they give me hope.  Stories of courage, strength, and perseverance give me hope that so much is possible if we just put forth the effort.  Bible stories give me hope that I can be forgiven for the evil I have done, and that there’s good beyond the suffering of this world.  They also give me the courage to forgive others and to love them, because they too can be redeemed.

Survival stories help me consider my own mortality and what I would be willing to do in the face of death — would I go willingly, or would I fight?  If a zombie apocalypse ever descends upon the American Midwest, I am mentally prepared for what I would need to do to survive (however many minutes that might be) thanks to The Walking Dead.  The Hunger Games challenges me to consider how I would live in an oppressive, totalitarian society.  Would I choose safety or fight for freedom?  Would I have the courage to take another’s place if it meant my possible death?

Stories about heroes like The Avengers or Batman or Spiderman give us hope in the extraordinary, that there may be people walking among us who have amazing talents they can use to save and improve lives.  In the real world, doctors, nurses, policemen, and paramedics don’t wear masks or capes, but they are heroes just the same and too frequently have to deal with the “Jokers” of this world.  We relate to story heroes and sometimes wish we could be like them.  Growing up I always imagined I would make a fantastic female Indiana Jones and help save the world from the evils the Nazis would continually unearth.  I wanted to be Superman AND Lois Lane, faster than a speeding bullet and a savvy journalist.

With villains, it’s a little different.  The best villains are often appealing, not necessarily for the bad that they do, but because they are willing to do whatever they want no matter the costs.  Villains challenge us in ways the heroes do not.  They have an edge or even a “coolness” we sometimes wish we had.  And they often wear black leather.  Why is it that we are so attracted to black leather?  Villains also represent the evil in the world and in ourselves.  The battle against those villains can give us hope that the fight for good is worth it.  My favorite thing about Peter Pan and Captain Hook is that they are “worthy” opponents.  Great villains are awesome in part because it takes so much effort and courage, both mentally and physically, to overcome them.  The heroes who defeat them have been found worthy in some way.  That’s hope.  Hope for all of us, that our struggles in this life are not in vain.  What’s the point in defeating an evil that isn’t really, well, evil?

I have to mention romantic stories.  Yes, many are sappy, but almost all have an unflinching belief in true love.  Who doesn’t want true love?  Bella and Edward may be angsty and annoying at times, but they have epic true love.  And sparkly skin.  Sparkly skin and black leather, hmm… Okay, back on topic: Love is the ultimate hope in this world, for it can cover over so many sorrows, it can make us forget our hurts, and it can help us see the world in new ways.  And it can help us reach our potential.  Where would Westley be without Buttercup?  If he hadn’t fallen for The Princess Bride, he would have stayed a farm boy instead of becoming a dread pirate, terrifying swordsman, and cunning wit.

If it were physically possible to jump into any of the stories that I so enjoy, I have the hope that I would be at my best self.  I have hope that I would be able to see the best in humanity, that I would be the best family member, the best friend, the best worker, the best fighter…and then I think:  Why can’t I be like that in real life?  Why can’t I make those dreams of being a better person come true?  With God’s help, I can, and it all starts with stories, with the “dreams we dare to dream.”  Hope.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

–poem by Emily Dickinson–