Dueling is truly an endangered animal in cinema. Once upon a time, in the days of Errol Flynn and Captain Blood, one could count on the movies to provide you with a an epic clash of swords and skill. In the late 70s/early 80s, George Lucas and other filmmakers of the time recaptured the fine art of the duel, resulting in some of the best battles onscreen in films like the Star Wars saga.
Today's movie audiences only know about how a proper cinematic duel is staged by way of films like Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one, not the ridiculous overwrought sequels), but are likely more familiar with the Kung Fu tainted influenced dueling action of films like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or the 'diddle your wand' "duels" of Harry Potter.
Well, people with swords jumping and flipping around like monkeys is ok, and (to a lesser extent) so are sequences of English actors staring intensely at one another while CGI lasers burst out of their sticks. However, a true cinephile knows that the purpose of duels in films is not just 'cool-looking' action, but a way to mix action with important character or plot development, thereby milling one act for multi-level payoffs.
Yes, it would've been cool to see the Obi-Wan-Vader-Luke battles in Star Wars if just for the pretty lights - but some of the trilogy's best moments, twists, and dialogue came from scenes where characters were trading Lightsaber blows. For '80s babies like myself, the epic duel between Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes) and master sword fighters Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride made us want to don black bandanas and pick up blades. How many of us still use that old "This is not my best hand" trick in various applications? I know I do...
Well, someone realized the shared greatness between the dueling scenes in Star Wars and The Princess Bride, and put together a surprisingly good mashup video that re-imagines the Westley/Montoya duel as a Jedi/Sith showdown, using nothing but a mix of Lightsaber effects and some clever sound mixing. And it's pretty surprising how well the end product plays. See for yourself:
There are tons of videos where people mash their favorite movie scenes with elements of other movies they love - this just happens to be one of the better examples, me thinks.
Seeing this vid also makes me pine for a film that will once again deliver a thoroughly enjoyable duel, one that is more about content and substance, rather than flashy theatrics and effects. Who knows, maybe Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides or Thor will deliver on that front. Here's hoping...
Source: YouTube via Erik Davis