Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Robin Hood

In this re-imagining of the legend of Robin Hood, Robert Lochsley participates in many historic events, some of which never really happened in his lifetime. But don't let that get in your way.

The latest of Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe movies is great fun, as long as you pretend you never opened a history book. This version is pre-Robin Hood, before the legend, and we get a nice look at the Crusades, which couldn't have been pleasant for anyone. It's nice to finally see a version that shows Richard the Lionheart for what he really was, that is, not the savior of England, but a rather ruthless warmonger who fought his entire life. It's amazing that history portrays him as a charismatic king who had great loyalty among his men.

But then again, King John isn't any better as the monarch who stayed home and really pillaged his own people in order to keep his kingdom afloat financially. And in true Ridley Scott way, we see the nuts and bolts of this in the English countryside.

Giving this venue some heart and character, Cate Blanchett plays a plucky Maid Marion, whose husband went off to war 10 years ago, days after they were married, and never came back.

This isn't the Robin Hood of your parents or even your grandparents. Robin does not take from the rich and give to the poor, but he is a voice for the downtrodden, those taxed without representation. And he's not merry, although he does have a band of men; he rarely cracks a smile.

I like the fact that Ridley Scott's movie shows Robin Hood as an archer. I read that one out of every five men in Europe died of an arrow in the Middle Ages. After seeing this movie, I'm surprised it wasn't more.

Thumb's up for a fine action movie.


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