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Robin Hood discussion
Okay. Robin Hood. We have to talk about this. I have a headache, but I'm going to try.

Originally, this began as some weird thing called Nottingham (that was, in fact, the original entry tag I had for news about it), where Russell Crowe was going to play both Robin Hood and the Sheriff, and at one point it was supposedly a multiple personalities thing; there may have been another point when it was just a "one actor, two characters" thing. Then they were talking about just doing the story from the Sheriff's point of view, where Robin Hood is basically this marauding serial killer shooting up the Sheriff's men and stealing all his rightfully-collected tax money (which at least would be interesting and unique, as retellings of the legend go, and probably have a satisfyingly tragic ending), and rumors went around that they were talking about Christian Bale playing Robin Hood. That, obviously, did not happen. Although they probably could have just filmed the on-set brawls that would have broken out between Christian Bale and Russell Crowe and sold tickets to that. This summer, phones will fly! IN 3-D.

What I saw today was, instead, a fairly serviceable "historically accurate" fantasy about a Crusader with a Past, one "Robin Longstride," who wore a hood once or twice and pretended to be married to Lady Secret Widow Marian so she wouldn't lose her land, leading the English to defeat those dirty, dirty French with a rallying cry of "FREEEEEEDOMMMM Liberty by law!" There was lots of stabbing and head-punching and burninating the thatched-roof cottages, which I always enjoy, although Little John was played by Keamy from Lost so that kinda threw me for the entire movie, but on the other hand, the villain (who was... not the Sheriff of Nottingham...?) was Mark Strong, and I'm always happy to see him, so there you go. That is the sane, level-headed version of how I feel about this movie.

(By the way: if historical accuracy is important to you, you will have an aneurysm in the first ten minutes of the movie, when Richard dies in battle. Which not only is that not how it happened, but most Robin Hood legends are about Robin holding down the fort, so to speak, against Prince John until a glorified fantasy version of Richard comes home to England and sets things right. I mean, I'm not terribly miffed about this, because it's not like Richard was even like that, or that Robin Hood was real; I'm just always amused by "historically accurate" This Is How It REALLY Happened retellings of legends that do not, in fact, have anything to do with How It Really Happened. And poor Danny Huston, this is the second movie in a row I've seen where he only gets five minutes of screentime.)

Here is my actual problem with the movie, Crazycakes Version: I am a huge Robin Hood fangirl. I grew up on the Disney version with the foxes, which was awesome and I will hear nothing against it. Everyone who wants to fangirl Robin Fox has to get in line behind me. And Fox Maid Marian was pretty awesome, but I also really, really like Olivia de Havilland (see icon) in the role. Okay, generally the Errol Flynn version is fantastic all around, and I'm rambling. Alan Rickman is my favorite Sheriff because I was twelve years old when that movie came out and I was kind of obsessed with it once it hit cable because SHUT UP, and Alan Rickman is the one part of that movie I can look back on and not totally hate myself about. Because he is awesome.

You know what all three of these movies have in common? Everyone hanging out in the forest having fun, while Robin and the guys cleverly waylay royal jerks and steal their gold. In at least two of them, the Sheriff has a thing for Marian and so there's also a love triangle issue at play, which makes it personal, not just political. Also: archery competitions. Even though the Kevin Costner version didn't have an actual royal tournament, which is one of my favorite parts of the traditional story, they at least had merry men shooting at targets for bragging rights at some point. People, I have a migraine and this is the most lucid I'm going to get. Do you see what I'm saying? It's fun, it's light, yet it's about chivalry and honor; it's about the little people against The Man, it's about loyal rebels standing fast against the day that their savior will finally return, it's about doing the right thing in a crazy world where right is suddenly wrong, and Robin Hood is the merry Lord of Misrule who turns it so far upside down on behalf of the oppressed that the world and the way it should be goes all the way back to right side up.

You know what Russell Crowe and his "merry" men steal? GRAIN. ONCE. And it's their own grain (well, it's Marian's), so they're just giving it back to themselves. THAT IS ALL THE ROBBING THEY DO. (Granted, they then plant the grain by moonlight, which is kind of cool.) The rest of it is riding around all serious and stubbly, trying to keep the French from burning everything down, while Secret Widow Marian slowly comes to think that maybe there are some other fields she might want her not-husband to plant by moonlight. The only people who live out in the forest are these feral orphans, I am not kidding you, and occasionally Marian is all like GET OFF MY LAWN!! but that's it. And here is the worst indignity of all: this movie has the Worst. Sheriff. Ever. EVER. I love Matthew Macfadyen; this is not his fault. It can't be his fault, because he only gets about ten minutes of screen time. He gets a token opportunity to harass Marian; a couple of scenes to eagerly ally himself with the approaching French; and then "Why you burn my house down? ) : " THAT IS IT. WHAT KIND OF ROBIN HOOD MOVIE DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE MAKING. DO YOU EVEN GET THE POINT OF ROBIN HOOD BECAUSE I DON'T THINK YOU ARRRRRRGHHHHHHASLFKJLKAFSDJLKAJDIGN'';LLL,

I'm okay. Seriously, I'll be fine. Let me go get a couple of Aleve. You just wait here.

Okay. So. Here's the part that everyone's talking about (well, I say "everyone," but there weren't a whole lot of people in my theater, so who knows how many people will actually be talking about it), and it is: the ending. MAJOR SPOILER: Robin unites all the nobles and musters an army for King John and shoots up the French before half of them can get out of their boats and yay, "Robin Longstride" saved England! Only, the condition of doing all this was that King John sign THE MAGNA CARTA, BECAUSE THAT SO TOTALLY HAPPENED, and King John's like, "I will totes do that later. Maybe tomorrow," and then they're all meeting up after the battle for the Big Historically Accurate Signing of the Magna Carta Because This Is So How It Happened and John SETS IT ON FIRE all like "Robin Hood? OUTLAW, LOL" and so Robin and Marian and the gang hoof it to Sherwood and THAT IS THE END OF THE MOVIE. I got snookered into paying $7.50 for a ROBIN HOOD PREQUEL. Pardon my Anglo-Saxon, but WHAT THE FUCK.

I will say, Cate Blanchett was pretty fierce. But then, Cate Blanchett is always pretty fierce. This is not unexpected. Although I do question Lady Marian's decision to lead the Feral, Totally Unarmored Orphans into battle. Also, she actually sounded like she was doing some kind of Northern England accent, which Russell Crowe claims he was trying to do, and stormed out of a radio interview when it was suggested that he sounded Irish. Of course, I was sitting there watching the trailer going, "Is he supposed to be Welsh?," so maybe he's got a point.

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Everyone who wants to fangirl Fox Robin Hood has to get in line behind me.

*gets in line*

*lines up behind you*

No cutting the line!

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I just got back from seeing this movie, and was trying to organize my thoughts on this. Which basically go:

Russell Crowe looks hot in armor.
Richard dies... Okay, I see we're playing fast and loose with history.
LOL Merry Men are awesome.
Cate Blanchett is hot in... everything.
Blah blah blah politics.
FINALLY some hood in the forest-ing. Now maybe some more of Robin and the merry...
OMG MORE politics.
WTF Magna Carta written by a stone mason???
Yay fighting!
Aw! Russell and Cate will make beautiful hoodlum babies.
WTF Cliffs of Dover? From Nottingham???
WTF Maid Marion is leading hobbits... er, KIDS into battle? And has to get her ass saved by Robin? So. Not. Cool.

Galadriel would not need her ass saved by anyone.

Blah blah blah OUTLAW!
FINALLY! Into the forest with merry men.

And, cut.

How did Marian even GET to Dover? They made it look like it was a really long way! I mean, even in movie geography! If she'd followed them with a bunch of kids, I think they would have noticed!

Also, I liked how Robin went into battle with a hammer, because, stonemason, you see, and...

Yesterday, my husband and I were like, let's go see a movie! And then we saw that this was the big release, so instead we stayed home and watched Disney Robin Hood. AND IT WAS AWESOME, AS ALWAYS.

Also, Alan Rickman's sheriff is amazing, and that movie will always be worth watching for him!

I don't really have a point here - I just wanted to agree with you. :-)

Richard Armitage will always be the best Guy, EVERY actor after him pales in comparison!

There wasn't even a Guy of Gisborne in this one!

...okay, good to know. I think I'll just go see Iron Man again.

I predict this decision will lead to happiness, both in and out of pants.

...why did they even bother calling it Robin Hood?

From what you describe it'd be a servicable movie of a generic historical fiction variety about the war and stuff, but it otherwise is..uh..WTF?

(PS I join you on the Alan Rickman, but when I was little actually my BIGGEST crush for that movie was Micheal Wincott as Guy of Gisbourne because omg I love his voice too.)

That's what I say! If they are going to totally muck with the story they should just call it something else and be done with it. Didn't the same kind of thing happen to the King Arthur saga a while back? Darn you, Hollywood! Stop messing with our legends!

And Alan Rickman, totally hot as the Sheriff. And most everyone else he has ever played.

Hey, I'm down with the foxes. Like you, I grew up with 'em. And yes, Alan Rickman and Morgan Freeman stole that movie right out from under the paperweight that was the alleged leading man. And some of those early alternate takes sound like they might have been cool, in a weird way.

What you actually saw? Yeah, not so much. I think you've got it just right about what it's supposed to be, thematically, and I'm sorry to hear this version is so very, very not that.

Everything's gotta be the start of a damn franchise these days.

Honestly, as much as I love Robin Hood himself, I would have really enjoyed seeing it from Nottingham's perspective. I think there's probably a really great Tragic Hero retelling in there.

That's exactly now I feel about this movie. All my English friends kept commenting on Russell Crowe's accent(s) and how perhaps it would go unnoticed in the States...

I kept noticing things that really took me away from the movie, such as that French landing ship which looked exactly like something that was used when they landed at Calais during WWII.

He doesn't have the Nottingham Twang!

True story: the Disney version of Robin Hood was one of my favorite favorite favorite movies when I was a kid. I watched it all the time, the version that we had recorded from the tevee, so I always associated it with awesome Wendy's commercials and ads for the epic 80s miniseries North & South, starring everyone.

Anyway, years later we were at the Stratford Theatre Festival in Canada, and we were seeing a show starring Brian Bedford, who I'd only heard of because Ralph Fiennes had beaten him for the Tony Award pretty recently. So I'm reading his bio, and I see that he provided the voice for Robin Fox, and I proceeded to go all fangirl squee in my seat until my mom told me to be quiet, I was being an embarrassing American.

Also: I haven't seen the new movie, but I'm pretty sure this entry is more entertaining (not to mention cheaper) than the film on which it's based. I hope your head feels better soon!

Brian Bedford totally rocks. I got to do a theatre workshop with him when he was doing Moliere in LA and he was absolutely fabulous.

Hey, did you forget Cary Elwes in Men in Tights? Unlike some Robin Hoods, he can speak with an English accent! ;-D

Fangirling are we? I've got an icon for that.

And yes, this movie was better off being called "Robin Longstride", because there was no Robin Hood until the last two minutes. We won't go into how Crowe and Blanchett were really too old for the parts, but why even bother associating this with Robin Hood? It was a solid historical movie, but it wasn't a Robin Hood movie.

I will say I liked the sidekicks, mainly because I'm a Kevin Durand fangirl. They were funny and badass and fairly intelligent and I found myself wishing the movie had a whole lot more of them in it.

Example: all of them singing with a lute in an interview.

Yeah, that was the reason I was okay with Lady Secret Widow Marian, because there was no way Cate Blanchett would have been the right age for Maid Marian. Just no way. She even has to say, "I was an old maid AND THEN I got married ten years ago."

Um... Yeah, I still have an interest in this film that is 0>


(Psst, I also sort of dearly love Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE MEN IN TIGHTS. It is Mel Brooks. I don't dislike one thing he has ever done, film wise.

Wow, and I thought the BBC and made a complete mess of Robin Hood with their series (don't get me wrong I loved it right up until the end of the second series), this sounds a million times worse. Robin Hood; you're doing it WRONG!

You have nothing to be ashamed of, Alan Rickman was easily the best part of Prince of Thieves.

with Morgan Freeman close behind.

I pretty much agree with everything you said. I was way disappointed, so much so that I came home and watched the Kevin Costner version that I still love, thank you very much. At least it's fun. You can't get much better than Alan Rickman's, "I'M GONNA CUT YOUR HEART OUT WITH A SPOOOOOOON!" Plus Morgan Freeman. :)

I was way bored by this version.