By Cory Doctorow at 9:25 pm Sun, Jan 11, 2009
Do you know what an ambigram is?,
Princess Bride DVD
Kind of a major spoiler, right there on the cover.
i suggest punches to anyone who says inconceivable!
I am not sure that tipping people to something they are intended to realize within seconds is really a spoiler…
That said, if you love the movie and have not read the book, then for gawd’s sake run out and do so right now. It’s just as charming as the movie, but, oddly, for completely different reasons. Really…I am super, super cereal.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
@2: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
I read that as The Princess Uncle…
Too bad I already have the DVD.
ARGH. Right after I just bought the regular special edition. This is one of my all time favourite movies, ever. Ever ever ever. Ever.
My late grandmother took me to see it when it was in cinemas – I would been about 11 or 12 at the time. And about five years ago, a friend and I scheduled a visit to Melbourne around the Astor’s schedule that week – it was showing this and The Good The Bad and the Ugly, among other things ;-)
The book is also made of awesome, but you can’t beat the whimsy of the movie. And yes, there’s a spoiler on the cover, but hey, it’s kind of obvious, innit? ;-)
Wonderful movie. Lousy comment thread.
Since most of the comments about the movie will either revolve around how great it is, or be some sort of kinda-semi-witty reference to some bit or another in the movie, I’m going to try for something different.
The first really cool ambigram I ever saw (as the one on this DVD cover is the second really cool one I’ve seen) was this one
I remember seeing it while waiting for the show to start when I went to see him at Madison Square Garden, back in 2005. One of the best shows I’ve ever been to. They had that ambigram up on a smaller screen high above the stage, and every so often, it would rotate 180 degrees, to illustrate its “ambigramness”.
That cover has been out for a year or so. It’s cool, but hardly news.
Maybe you should go watch the movie then, Doran?
sure, an ambipambagram, i like the way you say that.
an old and potent one
What a wonderful piece of manipulation of visual cognition! (And a new word for me… I didn’t even know such things existed.)
This is actually a good anti-piracy measure, because this way the purchased version adds value over the illegally downloaded one.
OK, it is an ambigram, but for some reason the title is shown the same way up (to us) on both these covers (meaning that it is inverted on one of them).
Check the double ‘s’ of princess. Its top and bottom are not exactly the same.
My earliest memory is seeing this film at a Buffalo dinner theater.
Jasonfist: the ambigram is clever enough that it apparently tricked you into thinking it wasn’t an ambigram.
The s’s aren’t reflections of each other, so their top and bottom don’t have to be the same. They’re reflections of the c and e.
I was first introduced to ambigrams reading the webcomic work of Kevin Pease. Now he has a whole gallery available – http://ceruleanstimuli.com/ambigram/index.html
@12 – This is a directory of wonderful things, not a news service.
You’re doing it wrong!
I’ve never come across ambigrams before. I like it and want one of my very own. Does it only work with certain combination’s of letters or is it just down to cunning skillz?
erm, no, because the SS of one version is the CE of the other one. As ten seconds of research using any common or garden image editor would have proved.
lol, at first I thought the point was that bride could be read as uncle.
22: It was a terrible book, but iirc Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons had ambigrams as some sort of plot device. I think a lot of it seems to come down to the cunningness of the person doing the ambigram-ing.
Also: amphibigram – a frog that looks the same upside down or right side up
I can’t believe nobody has mentioned it yet, but my name is Inigo Montoya.
Also, spoiler on the cover? seriously? you can tell it’s him immediately.
I wouldn’t call this one of the “finest” movies ever made, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable.
I just sold all my DVDs to get some cash, clear some room and to finally recognise the fact that all my media is now in the forms of 1’s and 0’s on my hard drive. But damn, I want that :-)
I don’t “get” this movie. I keep hearing how this and the Big lebowski are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I thought they were both horrible…..and I generally have pretty good taste in flix.
In a happy coincidence for any boingboingers near Roanoke, Virginia this weekend, the Taubman Museum of Art is showing the Princess Bride on Friday, January 16th…
Thanks Alisong76, I think I’ll skip Mr Brown, I will however take a double helping of cunning please.
and one of your finest amphibigrams.
It’s a combination of certain letters and cunning skillz. I have made a few, but I can’t get certain words to “work” well (I’ve never managed a good/readable version of my own first name “Stephen” for example).
This link has a pretty good walkthrough of the basic idea.
The 70’s – 80s glam/pop band Angel had one as their logo:
Ahhh The Princess Bride. One of my all time faves. And my wife HATES it, absolutely cannot understand its charms. :(
“…and I generally have pretty good taste in flix.”
I’m sorry to have to tell you that no, you don’t.
@1: I think you’re allowed to spoil a movie that’s over 20 years old now.
I can imagine a photoshop contest for DVD box art that contain spoilers for movies with “twist” endings. Too bad I have no talent or motivation.
For my money, nothing beats the shear awesomeness of this ambigramious cover circa 1977:
Long live glam rock!
Here’s a classic ambigram-like image that says one thing one way and another the other. I’m guessing that the first few people who had it tattooed are now a little annoyed that every other would-be gangster has decided to copy them.
I used to make ambigrams in college, and made a pretty nice one that had my name one way and my girlfriend’s the other. Aw…
@15 Takuan: I don’t get that one. Does it say something, or is it just a cool pattern?
Most people I’ve met who love The Princess Bride first saw it when they were kids, so I think there’s a nostalgia factor at work.
The Big Lebowski is usually described as a movie that “gets better every time you see it”. The corollary is that the first time you see it you think it’s just strange and unsatisfying. You need an obsessed friend to make you watch it again.
what, you mean like this? (mildly nsfw)
@37: Yes, though in my vision there were fewer penises.
so sort of more like this, then?
(I’m tossing this crap off while I wait for a client to phone me back by the way)
By the way, the ambigram is really well executed, the designer deserves a medal. It’s stylish and legible, unlike the Paul McCartney one which makes my eyes hurt.
@19 No, it’s definitely an ambigram. I can definitely see where you’re getting confused, but take a closer look at it. Print it out and flip the picture upside-down if you need to.
And speaking of ambigrms, LeVar Burton has a really cool one tattooed on his arm —
I very much like “The Big Lewbowski”, but “The Hudsucker Proxy” is my all-time favorite Coen Bros film.
I was underwhelmed by “The Princess Bride”. But I kept running into people, smart people, people with good taste, people I respected, who thought it was wonderful. So I’ve gone back and watched it several times. I remain underwhelmed. At best it seems mildly cute, but slow and very predictable.
I have the gene that allows me to smell mercaptan. I can tell that post-asparagus urine smells funny (strange) but I can’t detect the funny (ha-ha) in “The Princess Bride”. I think it must be genetic.
But that lettering trick, on the cover? That I love. Just about had me standing on my head.
I’ve drunk loads of coffee and still no word from the client. So here’s an ambigram of my own:
F*cking Nihilists! I mean, say what you will about romantic comedy, at least it’s an ethos.
I had the pleasure of discovering the work of Scott Kim in the ’80s, so I’ll always think of ambigrams as “inversions.”
I’ve always loved this movie, and the book even more so, but I find myself always frustrated by buttercup’s inability to do anything for herself but die to be irritating. Seriously, she’s beautiful but useless. Nonetheless, I grin like a fool everytime I watch it.
The NASA GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) logo is one.
As an aside, visiting NASA websites is like surfing through the wayback machine to 1994–no CSS or fancy-looking pages, hand made HTML, and lots of blinking animated gifs for things like e-mail.
I am in the same boat as you, my friend. My wife has no appreciation of the movie. She can’t stand Monty Python either. (Except for the Parrot Sketch, she likes that one.) Still, 15 years and two kids later, and we’re still together. I must be doing something right.
I always think of ambigrams as inversions too! My brother had the good fortune of meeting Scott Kim at UC Santa Cruz years ago. Scott was doing ambigram “autographs” on the spot (yes, impressive) and my brother had him do my name. Pretty cool.
I love this movie! The video game is pretty sweet, too. http://www.princessbridegame.com. Plus, now it’s available for Linux! Nice.
The centerfold of the DVD booklet accompanying that edition has a wonderful ambigram that reads, upside and down, “True Love”.
My wife and I have it framed on our wall.
The ambigram totally captures the movie’s selling point: this movie really has something for everyone. It’s a guy movie (swords! giant rats! torture! slapstick!) AND a chick flick (kissing! family ! absurdism! Wallace Shawn!) I know many many couples who call this their favorite movie.
@30 & 52
I must say, one of my few prerequisites while dating was that my boyfriend had as fine an appreciation for the Princess Bride as I do. That, and he had to like sushi. :O) These women must have a LOT else going for them for you men to have married them otherwise! (Kidding – I’m sure they’re wonderful, even if their taste in movies isn’t quite there ;O) I can’t imagine NOT likeing this movie, though! However, having watched it enough times as a child to continue to be able to quote it by heart now (even though I haven’t seen it in at least two years), and my now husband and I seriously considered finding a priest who could do the whole “mawage” scene at our wedding, you could say that we’re fans. Almost eight years later, we’re still strong, and it’s one of the few things we agree on. :O)
I have to say, I’m impressed to see someone else has watched the “Hudsucker Proxy.” I love that movie, and I’ve only met like two other people (in the world) who know what it is! I have yet to convince my husband that it’s worth watching, even though he has very strange taste in movies and I think it would be right up his alley. Anyway, I’m going to assume you don’t have the rose-tinted glasses of childhood with which to watch “The Princess Bride”… For that I will forgive you for not “getting” it. But know that part of its charm is that it has all the right elements for a fantastic classic AND a horribly slow, musically challenged mid-eighties film all at the same time… Which makes it all the more laughable to me, at least. That and the fact that I get all the adult jokes now that I could never understand as a child. :O)
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”
It’s funny to see this quote posted twice within the first five comments. I’ve not seen the film, but I’ve seen this quote flogged to death so hard on the internet that I’ve actually developed an active grudge against it; if I ever do see it I will go into it wanting to hate it, thanks ironically to fanboys wanting to spread their love for it.
ooh, whoops, someone’s done it already, and better
Favorite of mine also and I looked forward to showing it to my children. Unfortunately my son is allergic to peanuts.
really cool… i’m so super cereal.
Check out our flickr group if you like ambigrams and ambigrammatists.
I’ve never thought of The Princess Bride, movie or book, as a funny work. They’re a lot like the Discworld books in that they maintain a nearly constant low level of amusement rather than going for the big gags.
They’re fun, but they’re not funny.
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