: Is this where I come in and say "meh, it's overrated"?
Oh, go for it. I would agree with you: this movie is definitely over-rated.
I think SDG got to several points more subtle and thought-out than I have in the linked discussion, so (at the risk of sounding like a grouch) I'll just number the things that bug me:
1. The movie thinks it's really clever, but it isn't. This is my biggest gripe. I don't know if I can be more precise, but after a couple of viewings (which I admit I enjoyed) I started to get really annoyed at stuff like the voice-clearing dungeon keeper or the speech-impaired priest or Miracle Max. It's just so broad that it needs to be played straight--and it isn't. The movie winks every time something like this comes up--it lets us know that it's in on the joke--and that's fatal if you want to sell something stupid like Andre's impersonation of the Dread Pirate Roberts. (And don't get me started on the framing device).
2. Relatedly, the movie tries to have it both ways with the noxious "true love" theme. That is, it tries to play it straight and
subvert it. Doing one of those is fine (even though the idolization of Romantic love is dumb, dumb, dumb); doing both is just overkill. (And this isn't an example of a movie functioning on one level for the kids and another for adults; at least, I don't think it is).
3. The characters are idiots. I can deal with idiot characters most of the time, but here it bugs me. It's not like in O Brother Where Art Thou
or Raising Arizona
(both examples of movies, incidentally, that play stupid humor straight) where you can sense an undercurrent of affection for these characters (precisely because the humor is so straight-faced); here the characters are just hopping grotesques, and since the movie's already decided to wink at us about their stupidity, they don't even get the dignity of being taken seriously be the film.
So yeah. I admit it's been a few years since I could bring myself to watch the movie--and perhaps my opinion would be more generous if I were to re-watch it. But those are my gripes. If I want kid's fantasy from the eighties I'll take Labyrinth
(which winks, but not as much) or The NeverEnding Story
(which plays it straight and actually has interesting things to say about storytelling--unlike the framing device in The Princess Bride
Meh. It's overrated.