So a week after Prince of Persia (which was watched during a long study period between exams) we all went off to watch Robin Hood after my final exam. My friend and i had planned to watch 9 (3D movie with ragdolls in a post-apocalyptic future who are meant to save the world.) but it ended the weekend before. Dang it.
I love Robin Hood, i love the lore and myth that surrounds it. A dashing hero who loses his standing to help the common day man, he steals from the rich to give to the poor. There is his beloved whom he can’t be with because he is an outlaw, and his band of merry men. And they live in the forest. Quite honestly i think the thing that always appealed to me the most was the archery and forest dwelling. I remember when i was little that every weekend i would hire Disney’s Robin Hood and watch it over and over again. I would hire it so often that my parents never considered actually owning it, i practically owned it already. Many years later this was followed by the Kevin Costner Robin Hood (1991), which to my mind is the best Robin Hood i have ever seen. So what if the critics absolutely hate poor Costner, and his very fake British accent, it’s still a brilliant movie. Also the forest village that they live in, completely capture my imagination.
Oh i mustn’t forget the wonderfully hysterical Robin Hood Men in Tights (1993) with Carey Elwes. I love Carey Elwes in this film, it’s like he was one of those old classic Robin Hoods, made back in the 30’s, which makes this movie even funnier. Men in Tights is mostly a parody of the Costner Robin Hood, it also pokes fun at the Disney Robin Hood (1973) and Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
Then there are the literary retellings. To be honest, i have only started getting into the written retellings recently. My first was the ForestWife Trilogy by Theresa Tomlin. This Robin Hood retelling focuses more on Marian’s story, and the women who supported Robin Hood and his men. It was such a tragic trilogy, but Theresa Tomlin writes stories about strong women and sad, brutal truths of life. In my literary future i have two Robin Hood adaption’s i plan to read. Robin Mckinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood Forrest, which also deals quite strongly in the role of women in the Robin Hood lore, (which makes sense since both Mckinley and Tomlin are female)
I have loved Mckinley’s other works, she has a talent for taking our classic fairy tales and telling them in a different lights, which is absolutely unique and creative. Truthfully i have only read 2 of her books, Spindle’s End which is a very unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It actually left me feeling respect for Sleeping Beauty, i had always considered her a whit less lump. And then there was Mckinley’s version of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast, and am thoroughly addicted to watching the Disney version over and over again. I enjoyed the book but then ending was an insult to my intelligence and was more like a quick fix, like the author had run out of time.
Then there is Hood written by Stephen R Lawhead, book 1 in the Raven King Trilogy, followed by books 2 and 3 – Scarlett and Tuck. This trilogy seems to be a more Celtic/ Viking version of the lore (i think, i am not entirely sure), the book blurb mentions the Welsh borders. So maybe it’s based in a time period that predates the usual Robin Hood time period. Interesting.
Well it looks like a have completely lost my train of thought. I was trying to talk about Russell Crows Robin Hood. I can’t really decide whether i like Russell Crow or not. I don’t think i like him as a person, and I’ve only watched Master and Commander and Gladiator, so i don’t think I’ve seen enough of his movies to warrant an opinion on the actor. The movie however is another matter.
I remember when the idea of a Robin Hood first surfaced. It was going to be called Nottingham, with the focus on Hood’s nemesis rather than the hero. Then once Crow was attached to the project playing Nottingham, the plot started to become even more ridiculous. I mean seriously would you want to watch a movie based on Robin Hood where the main focus wasn’t on Robin Hood? I’d rather shoot myself in the foot. Then it became Crow would play BOTH Nottingham and Hood! THE HELL THAT’S BEING GREEDY!!!! I stopped monitoring the movie after that, in fact by the time a started following again principle shooting was about over. So you will be happy not know that all the original ridiculous ideas were dropped and they went back to the traditional subject matter and approach.
So now we have a more faithful retelling, or at least we get the character that we are actually interested in, i mean seriously who would want to watch a movie on the Sheriff of Nottingham? Not me.
So here’s the trailer for Russell Crows Robin Hood:
Watched it? Good.
The movie is nothing like the trailer! The trailer indicates that this is your typical Robin Hood, when surprisingly enough when we watched the movie we got a completely different story, which was a wonderful surprise. Sadly, Crow’s Hood, wasn’t the usual cocky hero we all love, his is more erm, older and wiser? (well Crow is the oldest actor to play Robin Hood) Also something that bothered me quite a bit was the serious lack in archery, don’t get me wrong there was archery, but there wasn’t many fancy tricks, you know like in the climatic moments of a Robin Hood, we have witty banter and fancy archery, in the climactic moments of this version there was some sword play. If you changed all the names of the characters, the audience wouldn’t know that this movie was actually about Robin Hood! Which is saddening. But i liked that they approached it differently, just not well. The movie was waaaay too long, half way through the movie my sister whispered to me “i wish they would just shag already so that the movie could continue” in reference to the sexual tension and banter between Marion and Robin. I had to agree. The periods between action scenes was too long and drawn out. So although i was happy to watch a movie that was completely different to what the trailer indicated, it was a bit disappointing not to be given a faithful telling of Robin Hood.
To sum up: i love Robin Hood, especially Costner’s and Disney’s versions, i love Robin Hood books and i sort of enjoyed Russell Crows Robin Hood, but I’m not going to watch it over and over and over and over and over again like the other adaption’s, it’s too long and can’t really be considered a Robin Hood film.