On Saturday night, I went to the Esquire Theater to see Robin Hood. I went to the theater hopeful, but left this rather bleak show permeated with its dark themes. I know that the Robin Hood legend came out of the dark ages, but I never thought that it was that dark a time. Robin Hood is Ridley Scott’s new movie, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.
On Saturday night, Robin Hood was relegated to one of the Esquire’s tiny upstairs theaters. Although the main floor is patrolled by off-duty cops, the upstairs is not, probably because no one was running a cash register up there. Teenagers kept talking, texting and just bouncing around all through the show. This theater experience really detracted from my movie experience. I’ll not be returning soon to the Esquire because of this episode.
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There are some genres that I never grow tired of and the stories of Robin Hood are one of those genres. I’ve seen almost every movie on the subject, although I have apparently missed a recent BBC series. YouTube here I come. The gold standard in Robin Hood movies is of course Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. It was sort of the Avatar of its day, being the first movie to be made in Technicolor. The Louis Rhead pictures at the top of this post evoke the merry and gay ethos of that movie.
Many have tried to top Flynn’s standard, some with more success than others. One of the less successful challengers was Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It is pretty bad when the bad guy, the sheriff of Nottingham, Alan Rickman, out performs Robin. Ridley Scott didn’t repeat that mistake. No, the villains of Robin Hood are all suitably dull.
The opening battle sequence, involving the bloody siege of some nameless French castle, is probably the high point of the movie. This is somewhat fitting since the whole movie is a prequel to the accepted Robin Hood legend. You see in this movie although Robin starts off as a bit of a hoodlum, he is not yet in the hood. He is not even really the real Robin, but by the end of the movie he becomes so. Just in time for the sequel!
Where as the movie’s opening siege sequence appeared to be realistic, its finale’s was a farce. The finale, [spoiler alert] (Oh shut up! No one reading this far will see the movie anyway.) The finale, wait, I’ve already said that. The finale, involves a French invasion force landing on the beaches at the foot of the Cliffs of Dover.
My whole problem with this scene is not with its location, it is the shortest crossing point from France to England. No, it is with the landing craft themselves. These barges were supposedly rowed across the Channel. The movie made it look like they barely made it too. When they landed they dropped their ramps as in WW II’s D-Day, it made this scene play as successfully as D-Day’s prequel, Slapton Sands. Somewhere between the obligatory opening action sequence and the closing battle sequence, this movie spun out of Scott’s control. Teeing up a sequel didn’t help and might have been this movie’s root fault.
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The pictures from the 2010 Robin Hood movie are courtesy of PicApp. These pictures are flash-based, so they won’t appear on some platforms. You know who you are. The three pictures at the top, by Louis Rhead, are from Wikimedia Commons, as are the constituent photos that comprise today’s header. I animated them though. All of this media is either copyright free or is licensed for my use through WordPress. So, even though I’m just a poor little blogger, I didn’t steal from the rich, but I have plenty of content. 😉
Happy Birthday, Dad!