Friday, March 16, 2012

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991)

               How much more than a movie is this?  A film I watched growing up as a boy in which I admired the heroism in Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) every time I viewed it.  It showed a man with no superhuman abilities be able to put right in a wrong world.  It taught me greed is a path that can lead to such corruption as we see with the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman).  I had the Nintendo game of this movie and played it until I did finish it, which is a rarity for me in video games even as a boy.  I was exposed to two different forms of the story that still has me cherishing it so much.  The Robin Hood story has always intrigued me since I can first remember it.  A man who robs from the greedy rich to give back to the poor, not keep for his own gain.  It’s inspirational and teaches that the human spirit can defeat the evil that is greed.  It makes for a wholesome fun adventure that takes the dark out of the Dark Ages.  Normally such an idea would turn me off but I find myself enjoying this movie.  I’ve always been partial to watching films that are out of our era.  It’s not the true past but it provides a window into what it might have been.

                As for the movie itself it succeeds as a well told story especially in this extended version.  Robin befriends a stranger Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and then journeys back to his homeland England where the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham has begun plans to take control for himself in the king’s absence.  It’s a battle with great characters such as John Little, Will Scarlett, the Sheriffs cousin Guy of Gisbourne intermingling with Robin in an engaging film.  What this version brings to light is more of the Sheriffs background with that old witch woman Mortianna (Geraldine McEwan).  She turns out to be his mother as he learns at the end.   He came to be in his position thanks to her sinister behind the walls deeds.  You never learn of his father but you can see how his relationship with the witch twists him into a man bent for evil tasks.  The character is played magnificently by Alan Rickman.  This is truly my favorite performance given by this actor.

                Robin Hood was a rich man’s son who left for the crusades and after at least five years he returns home to find his dead father.  He later discovers he has a brother, Will Scarlett (Christian Slater).  Robin Hood’s mother died and his father took another lover, Robin drove his father to leave her in what he deemed dishonorable to his mother.  The woman had Will but Robin never knew which brought great hatred to Will since he did know.   It creates tension during the film which is riveting.  The cast performs well and many scenes are very memorable, one of which is Robin Hood shooting the flaming arrow at the executioner to save his brother.

                The eventual final fight scene with Robin Hood and the Sheriff is short but very pleasing.  You get to see the rash and oft awkward Sheriff wield Robin Hood’s father’s giant sword against him.  The desperation in the sword fight by the sheriff is a treat to watch.  It shows his lack of discipline to sword fight correctly but simply trying to overpower Robin Hood.  Robin Hood finishes the sheriff with a small dagger that was once given to the Maid Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) from the sheriff, ironic!  The ending concludes perfectly when King Richard returns and you see he’s played by the legendary Sean Connery!

                Upon watching this movie at a later age now and understanding it better it truly is a fun story.  It has humor, adventure, and a classic good vs. evil nature to it.  I would have liked to see more sacrifices on the Robin Hood side of the cast but that wasn’t to be.  It was a tad light-hearted at times so it took away from the Dark Age’s feel of the story.  I have more deep rooted memories with this movie which inclines me to like it more.  It’s not a masterpiece but it’s an enjoyable break from this modern time.

                Rating: 8 of 10

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