They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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General Maximus Robinus Hoodus


Blue sky, bright sun. They said the forecast was for 74°F on Wednesday and 76°F on Thursday, with next week into the upper 80s. But driving north on US-131 at 4:15pm, I passed a highway sign which pegged the temp at 84°F already. As it was, I picked up Mrs. Dr. Phil at the downtown GVSU campus and we wandered off to the new D&W Fresh Market grocery store which opened on Sunday, located on the NE of Knapp's Corner, across from the Celebration North Cinema and diagonally across from the big Meijer's which started this development on East Beltline.

Our goal was to eat dinner at their deli stuff, rather than the movie theatre, to check it out. We shared an adequate salad bar salad (no bleu cheese dressing, dammit), an okay slice of pepperoni pizza (really decent pepperonis), some couscous salads and a tray of sushi made in their sushi counter. Nice grocery store. Lots of really interesting items -- we'll see if they can maintain that level of interesting stock.

Then across the road...

Robin Hood [PG-13]
Celebration North Theatre #1, 6:45pm, 2×$9.50

First let me say that two of my All Time Favorite Movies are The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Lion in Winter (1968). Yes, I know all about the historical, costume and other technical errors of The Adventures of Robin Hood, but the Errol Flynn movie is just plain fun. And the witty dialogue of Katharine Hepburn, et al in The Lion in Winter is just plain gorgeous fun. Sure there are other relevant movies to this discussion, such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), with Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman (boo! hiss!), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and that guy who does great baseball movies but has such a horrible English accent. And even Robin and Marian (1976) which has Sean Connery AND Audrey Hepburn.

Let's put that aside for the moment. If 2010's Robin Hood was just an action film, with no historical or literary or cinematic connection to anything else, it would be a fun summer blockbuster film. Period.

Is it revisionist as part of the Robin Hood canon? Which Robin Hood movie isn't? But I like the take of this one. As a prequel of sorts to the story we think we know and love. Now I've read one of the earlier romance versions and while it was fun, things Did Not End Well with either Robin or Marian. So 20th and 21st century rewrites aren't going to have such a bummer ending. Period. There are twists and liberties taken with Robin, and while I'm sure some of it is eye-roll territory for some and totally obvious where it is going for most, it does give a balance to the flow of the whole movie.

I'm sure some of the criticism of Russell Crowe is that we've seen him do this character before. Indeed, by the time we get to the battle on the beach, there is a lot of General Maximus in Robin. And I was struck by the other side of Maximus, that of the Spanish estate farmer, during the sowing of the fields. Tough. We expect our heroic figures to be heroic, we expect our heroes to be conflicted -- Crowe delivers.

And what can I say about Cate Blanchett? Yet another of the Great Kates of Acting (Hepburn, Winslet, Blanchett). And isn't that a grizzled, older, wiser William Hurt? Why yes. And Max von Sydow -- sigh. What a marvelous performance. And wait, isn't that one guy from ER? Why yes. A couple of years ago I was amazed to discover that Scott Grimes could really sing. Short, red-haired and a singer -- you've got a fine Will Scarlett there. And not the scarlet fop of The Adventures of Robin Hood.

All in all, this is a fine cast at the top of their game.

Battle and action scenes? You'd think after three LOTR movies and Braveheart we'd seen it all, but the opening set piece battle against the French castle was fascinating. I particularly liked the sense of competition between the archers and the other soldiers. This Richard the Lionhearted is a weary king coming back from the Crusades, flaws and all. Prince John is complex and hatable, but he does have a point. Ah, Magna Carta... you did not get easily signed by the King of England, did you? And whether historically accurate or not, I was glad to see Eleanor of Aquitaine -- bringing closed the cycle which begins with The Lion in Winter.

I know little about early 13th century French naval vessels to know if they really did have wooden rowboat LSTs. (grin) But the English bowman would've been as murderous as the German machine gunners on the beaches of Normandy. Add in Saving Private Ryan to the filmography to cite here. And thankfully, we only get to see the Flying Arrow P.O.V. once in the movie and to a good end, even though you knew it was coming. Come on, this is an epic that we're familiar with -- the good guys have to win something.

At any rate, we had a helluva good time. And precisely because this wasn't the Robin Hood story we were familiar with, it kept us involved. The movie was 140 minutes, not some pale 88 minute extended trailer. It looked good, it sounded good. I'll probably add this to my pile of movie soundtracks, though I was actually humming the themes from Braveheart after we left, because I know them better. (grin)

Highly Recommended

Trailers: Bunches. Most for things we are Not Likely To See. Yet another reason I generally don't give bad movie reviews. (evil grin)

Dr. Phil
Tags: movies, reviews

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