Today is Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Robin Hood"

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There has rarely been as many ballads, poems, movies, et al. written and produced about a fictional character as there has been about Robin Hood.  His legend (if my research is accurate) began with early ballads and poems dating back all the way to the 13th century.  And though many have tried to claim that they found THE MAN to which the legend is attributed, no definitive answer has ever been proven.  There are even some historians who claim that there were several "real" Robin Hoods, one taking the place of another as each "retired."  And Robin Hood and his lore is not isolated only to England or the United States.  There have been movies and television shows produced about the "Prince of Thieves" in places such as Italy, Germany, and even Brazil. Most have seen some of these different film versions of "the man who stole from the rich to give to the poor" over the years.  The first one (and perhaps the best) being the 1938 version starring Errol Flynn, "The Adventures of Robin Hood."  The first time I saw this version years ago I was shocked to see who I thought was Alan Hale (The Skipper of Gilligan's Island fame) playing the role of Little John, only to find out that was his father Alan Hale, Sr.  Most people my age remember the 1991 Kevin Costner version, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."  Walt Disney got into the Robin Hood act as well with a very good animated version of the story, with animals playing the roles of the characters.  And way before the producers of "Scary Movie" and the like were around, there was a parody made called "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." The 2010 version of Robin Hood has Russell Crowe in the starring role.  Crowe has teamed with director Ridley Scott to make this latest tribute to the "man in green tights."  You will remember the last time these two collaborated; they produced one of my all-time favorite films, the 2000 Academy Award winning epic film "Gladiator."  Crowe also won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in that film.  Many wondered if this version of Robin Hood would look more like a "gladiator" movie.  I must say that we do see many more scenes of Crowe with a sword in his hand than Robin Hood's legendary weapon of choice: the bow and arrow.  But as you learn, this version of Robin was more of a prequel, rather than a re-hash of the same ole story. A fine performance, as usual, was turned in by Cate Blanchett in her role as Lady Marion.  The Oscar winning actress displayed her toughness, even on the battlefield in this film.  Most of the other characters were played by relatively unknown actors, and one of the faults I have with the film is that it did not try to develop any of these other characters to any extent.  I understand that the film IS by and large going to be about the title character, but I felt that a little more attention to these others, Robin's "merry men" would have been a positive addition to the overall experience. Overall, this version of Robin Hood did not pack quite the punch that I had hoped.  I thought the idea of the back story, or prequel, was very original, but I just thought the overall plot and character development was lacking just a little. Doc's advice for this film: 2 1/2 Eyeballs
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