Saturday, April 28, 2018

Robin Hood (movie review)

The Robin Hood story has been told several times.  I showed up at Glenn's with A Bug's Life, a Disney cartoon, but we couldn't get the VHS player to work with the new HDTV.  The fallback was this version of Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott.

I contributed a six-pack of Kell's IPA. I hadn't known in advance our afternoon would be so Celtic.

This movie proposes to give a huge amount of backstory to the Robin Hood myth.  He is by rights a new King of Nottingham, Maid Marion his queen, having returned the sword of the slain son, Marion's previous boyfriend.

Robin, played by Russell Crowe, is handsomely portrayed, opposite Cate Blanchett (Maid Marion) in a strong role.

Director Ridley Scott is known for organizing great scenes with a lot of authenticity, based on research and a sufficient budget.  This film is packed with elaborate sets with large casts, giving a sense of the period, especially through the always-depressing lens of endless war fighting.

The bad guys are a venal King John, nothing like his brother Sir Richard the Lionhearted, and this English-French hybrid double-crossing double agent. The former was plotting the demise of the latter to secure his throne, which, once secured (thanks to Richard's dying ahead of schedule), he then proceeded to drive into the ditch.

This French-English villain, strong in battle, obtains King John's approval to go raiding baronies to the north for "taxes" (plunder), not realizing that in sewing these new seeds of discord, he's made himself vulnerable to a French takeover.

Robin Hood is caught up in all these politics.  We get a glimmering of how monarchy would be made less oppressive, even though King John takes a match to this precursor to the Magna Carta.

There's a young adult gang of dispossessed, occupying the forest, who eventually gravitate to the newlywed outlaws, as the movie draws to a close.  We'll camp in the forest as a family, a merry band. Friar Tuck, Little John, all there.  Fun movie.  Big production.  Lots of great visuals.

Something I'd like my campus theaters to screen are some of these classics.  I'm talking in general terms about the Global U, but am also thinking in more detail about my more remote outposts, where "movie night" will be a feature.