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Princess Buttercup

The Princess Bride
by yo go re

Come, my love, and I'll tell you a tale, of a boy and girl and their love story.

Princess Buttercup is a beautiful farm girl who lives in the country of Florin and is the true love of Westley.

You know, when you copy content from a wiki, I'm pretty sure you're required to give them credit; that's what that whole Creative Commons license is about: you can use the work done by numerous anonymous(ish) people back in February of 2014, but you have to say that you got it from the wiki and provide a link back. We can tell you, the McFarlane Toys site credits their copywriters just as thoroughly and reliably as they credit their sculptors, because that line up there is copied-and-pasted right off the Princess Bride Wiki, but there isn't a word about it to be found on the page. See, that's why you need to be like us, and just copy song lyrics.

Princess Buttercup was played by Robin Wright, best known... well, best known for being Princess Buttercup, which doesn't help us all that much in this case. She's in lots of stuff, you just forget it's her because she's a good actor. Like, would you have remembered that Forrest Gump's "Jenn-nay" was also Wonder Woman's General Antiope if it weren't pointed out to you? The figure's likeness is decent, though perhaps a bit soft.

The future Mrs. Humperdink is wearing her red "kidnapping" gown - man, rich folks have specific outfits for everything! Most of what you see when looking at the toy is softgoods: rather than restrict the poseability by sculpting all the folds and wrinkles, they just made everything from the empire waist down out of cloth. The color matching between the plastic and fabric sections is really good! That's not an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, the red of the dress makes the desaturated tone of her skin look even bluer by comparison than it already does. Choose better colors, companies!

The parts of the figure that get sculpted do look good. Her ridiculously poofy sleeves bunch behind her hands, while the ornate belt is actually molded as part of the bust of the dress: they connect in the back, beneath the sculpted laces of the bodice. Her boots have a bit of a pirate cuff at the top, best seen in the film when Fezzik is carrying her around like a sack of grain, and red leggings complete the ensemble. Although this is the outfit she wore through the Fire Swamp, it's not tattered or dirty at all; but hey, future variation potential!

Although she isn't exactly highly dyanmic in the movie (as evidenced, in part, by the fact that the copied wiki entry can't say anything about her other than she looks nice and she lives in a place), Buttercup is still fully articulated. It's only been three years since McFarlane Toys shocked the world by introducing joints to their toys, so it's funny to think how quickly we've grown used to them. The upper edge of the softgoods is tucked into the chest joint, which means it wants to twist and bunch when you move her, and the long hair keeps her head from moving very much. And she doesn't come with any accessories, because the only time she uses anything in the movie, she's not wearing this outfit anymore. Maybe a blindfold, and half a table of fruit and wine? Then the other half with some future Vizzini? That'd work.

Buttercup, as a character, lacks agency in her own movie. She's literally the title character, but she's also a MacGuffin of the highest order: like, what does she accomplish in the narrative that wouldn't be equally served by, I don't know, Westley's favorite family heirloom? Boy wants a thing, but can't have the thing; prince takes the thing but doesn't really care about it, because it's just a thing to him; boy tries to get the thing back, boy and prince fight. In our world, that was Princess Buttercup; in another, a golden hat rack. The movie's fun and romantic and eminently quotable, but Buttercup is not a strong character. Maybe it's the medieval world she lives in, maybe it's the era in which the story was created or the men who created it, but it's a good reminder that "does classic female character X meet current-day standards for feminism" is not the only quality that determines whether we like a piece of fiction or not. "Your fave is problematic" is not some ultimate gotchya that renders a work bad, same as passing the Bechdel Test doesn't instantly make it good - that's merely one piece to consider when analyzing the story. So chalk one more up for movie-accuracy, because this action figure will have just as much control over itself as the real Princess Bride did.

-- 02/02/22

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