Robin Hood, with spoilers

The road to this particular Sherwood was a tangled one. A spec script entitled NOTTINGHAM got the ball rolling back in 2005; Crowe signed on to play a revisionist detective-Sheriff, with Robin Hood as a bit of a rogueish lech, and Guy of Gisbourne carrying all the Bad Guy Baggage. At some point along the way, Crowe decided he wanted to be the Man in Green—or maybe the producers just realized that a $200 million movie entitled ROBIN HOOD was the safer bet.

Yet the movie’s somewhat-unorthodox roots are evident on the screen all the same. I particularly appreciated the early elimination of King Richard—so often the Deus Ex Machina in these tales, here we see him as an out-of-control brigand-king who gets what he Fucking Deserves before the audience has had a chance to start in on the popcorn. Things from there got a little tangled—while I appreciated the high politics and mistaken identities and maneuverings, the whole Magna Carta link started to feel like a bridge too far, and left me wondering what the movie would have been like had it simply stuck to a narrower Robin-Hood-as-Odysseus-trying-to-get-back-home.

Of course, if that were the case, it would have been tough to have all those castles and setpieces–and that was one hell of a final battle with the French on the Dover coast, finally answering the question of just why so much trailer footage showed horses riding around on beaches. Though in real life the only ancient/medieval invasion ever contested on a beach was Julius Caesar’s. And what I wouldn’t give to see THAT up on the big-screen…

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4 Responses to “Robin Hood, with spoilers”

  1. AlexJCavanaugh Says:

    Voiced my opinion on Iron Man II this weekend – still not sure if I’ll see Robin Hood or not. Inception is THE movie on my list this summer.

  2. Erik Says:

    I haven’t seen this incarnation of Robin Hood yet. Probably will go check it out on DVD. I actually took a course on Robin Hood in college. Yes, a full semester devoted to the man in green tights.. Interesting fact that basically nobody seems to know, Robin Hood originally was NOT a good guy. Not even in the least. In the earliest stories, dated right around 1400, Robin Hood was a brutal highwayman. In one particular story he murdered some merchants on the road, then proceeded to cut their faces off so they wouldn’t be recognizable. Over the centuries the character softened to more of an anti-hero and the band of merry men was added. It wasn’t until the 18th century when he underwent the full modern interpretation with the release of “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” by Howard Pyle.

    I actually had high hopes that we may get the brutal nasty Robin Hood from Ridley Scott.. but apparently nobody wants to tackle that side of him.

  3. Joni Says:

    Most interesting, Erik. I will try and go see the movie at the theatre but I have an ominious feeling that I have to settle for a DVD or Blueray instead.

    Dave, true, it would be awesome to see Julius Caesar’s invasion on big screen. On the other hand his cavalry was all Auxiliary forces because Legions were infantry and Romans had a small handicap with cavalry. They didn’t have stirrups, so melee combat was not very effective at the time :P

  4. David Williams Says:

    @ Erik – -hmm, never realized that. Interesting. I suppose that’s our tendency to romanticize the outlaw. . .

    @ Joni – – yeah I don’t think there was much cavalry action going on in Caesar’s initial hitting-the-beaches. . . only horses I’ve heard of were the Britons with their chariots. . . but once the legions got ashore, they managed to clean ‘em up pronto .. .