Saturday, May 15, 2010

"We Are Men of the Hood"

This blog post is dedicated to the latest movie based on the legend of Robin Hood. I hope that you, lovely readers, will allow me a moment of unprofessionalism (seeings as how I'm not an actual film reviewer) to say how very much I loved, loved, loved this movie. This movie filled my little closet romantic-history minor-medieval studies heart with joy and brought many a chuckle to my throat (okay, they were girlish giggles. Don't judge me.) I loved this movie for many reasons.

1. Russell Crowe: The only movie I have ever seen Russell Crowe in was "A Beautiful Mind" which, while fabulous, did not exactly feature a hero character in the legendary way that Robin Hood is. He played this part fabulously with clever wit, a fabulous accent, and an impressive musculature. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't forced to field multiple temptations to swoon, especially during a particularly romantic scene that was one of my favorite parts of the movie.

2. Cate Blanchett: Perfect for this role. I really loved the enhanced character of Marian in this movie; especially the fact that she actually had a back story more than being a damsel in distress waiting for Robin to save her. I really enjoyed watching the relationship grow between the two of them.

3. Friar Tuck (the character, although the actor was great): Medieval friars were men who had taken vows of poverty and lived among the people. Stereotypical friars in medieval and early modern literature (Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, for example) show friars as lecherous sots who were a mockery of the Catholic church. Some of the Robin Hood tales that involve Friar Tuck actually depict the character in this light. I was really glad to see just a tiny bit of that in Friar Tuck in this movie.

4. Matthew Macfadyen: I have to admit that I was shocked and repulsed when I first saw the man who personified one of the most beloved literary characters of all time playing the low and much-despised Sheriff of Nottingham. Why, I wondered, would this wonderfully handsome gentleman stoop to such a part? (for those who wish to swoon further under this man's influence, check out this recitation of Shakespeare's 29th sonnet.) As the film continued, however, I grew to appreciate the way that Macfadyen played the so often utterly disgusting man. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I really loved the new aspect that was brought to the character.

5. Historical Accuracy: Of course, I am not proposing that this film was one hundred percent historically accurate. That would be a foolish assumption. I would, however, like to point out a couple of things that I noticed and enjoyed. First, the plot involving Richard the Lion-Hearted. Most Robin Hood movies end with Richard returning from the Crusades and saving everyone from the evil Prince John. That's.....not how it happened. Nicely tucked aside from the plots of other movies are the facts that Richard dies and that John actually inherits the crown. Second, the incorporation of the Magna Carta, or at least the road to the historical document. If I go into more detail about this aspect it will probably ruin part of the ending for some of you, so I'll stop there.

So there you have it: my review of "Robin Hood". I hope you enjoyed it. If you didn't, I at least had fun writing it.