Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - Robin Hood

Robin Hood, let me count the ways. We have the heroic Robin Hood.
We have the gay Robin Hood.
We have the singing Robin Hood.
We have, eh, this guy as Robin Hood.
Now we have the gritty Robin Hood.
Life in the middle ages sure was hard. There was mud, and blood, and arrows in the neck, and mud, and deception and mud. Ridley Scott has constructed a middle ages with little romanticism. There is a little between Robin and Marion, and it is almost jarring.

This is a Robin Hood origins story. Since many people believe that Robin Hood is only a character of fiction, there is no harm in concocting a new story about Robin Hood. Could be plausible. It connects all the familiar pieces: Richard the Lion Hearted's Crusade, the evil King John. Maid Marion, Little John, a drunken Friar Tuck, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and arrows whizzing through the air. And did I mention mud. There is a surprising amount of politics in this movie. But this is a time when political problems were usually solved with a sword so don't expect a lot of political science.

The movie is violent but probably less so than your everyday first-person-shooter video game. For all the people that meet their end by way of a sharp pointed object, there is surprising little blood. A couple arrows through the neck were pretty gruesome.

We liked the movie. Russell Crowe does a good job as a simple guy who just wants to get on with his life after 10 years of war but can't stop himself from doing the right thing. Cate Blanchett is an earthy but reserved Marion and the scenes between them are good. I kept wondering what had happened to her pointed ears (a LOTR reference for you poor souls who didn't get it).

After Robin arrives at the Loxley homestead, blind old man Loxley tells Marion to make sure Robin gets a bath. "You stink" he says to Robin. After the bath, Marion takes Robin on horseback on a tour of the Loxley land. This reminded me of a line from Monty Python's Holy Grail. There is a scene where King Arthur and his men are clopping by two peasants mucking around in the mud. One says to the other "That's the King". "How de ya know?" says the other. "He ain't got shit all over 'im", he says.

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