There is no one like Robin Hood. Batman, Superman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man cannot measure up to the level of awesome that is Robin Hood. The myth of Robin Hood has spurred songs, poems, novels, short stories, comic books, television shows and movies. The last three genres have proven to give the world really lackluster products in my humble opinion, but is that merely due to my high regard of Robin Hood? Or is it that people find Robin Hood so fantastical and find him so grand that they crap the bed with scripts, scenarios, and choice of actors. I can see the painstaking process that everyone puts into it, but the final product is always a sham. I despise the Errol Flynn version most of all, although I know many people treasure it. The campy and corny feel to the entire movie makes me cringe. And Prince of Thieves? Oh my Nola! What a shit show! I prefer the most recent television show with Jonas Armstrong over that eyesore…although I really had the hots for Christian Slater as Will Scarlet for some time and the addition of Morgan Freeman was fantastic. Morgan Freeman is fantastic as any role–he could play a blade of grass and be the best damn blade of grass you have ever seen. Moving on.
The only two Robin Hood movies worthy of my love have to be the Disney version with the wily fox as ‘Aaahh Rrrrroobbbinnn ah Hoooooddd’ and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Because a toll’s a toll and a roll’s a roll and if we don’t get no tolls then we don’t eat no rolls. So why can’t others measure up? I cannot answer that. Is it because the bulk of the funds has gone into the script and location, but fallen short with sub-par actors? Is it the aesthetics and actors have been meticulously found and the script has been an after thought in the belief that everything would fall together in the end? Or is it simply that pumping out a Robin Hood movie every now and then is sure to lure in victims from across the planet because so many people adore Robin Hood? Most of the novels and poetry I have read always excites me and makes me starry eyed begging for the perfect Robin Hood. Ridley Scott’s version was certainly getting there, but I feel as if it was more of a Gladiator Part Trois. (Gladiator Part Deux was obviously one of my most beloved movies Kingdom of Heaven with Maximus Junior, the French Edition.)
So what’s the deal with the lackluster Robin Hoods save Disney and Mel Brooks’ versions? Something always feels like it is missing. I can never pinpoint it. Development of character? Most of them do a good job of character development, but maybe they do too much? Perhaps start in the middle of things instead of meeting all of the merry men or showing the many explanations as to why Robin Hood went rogue? Setting? Too woodsy or too crusadey? Are the politics too much? Nah, Prince John AND King Richard were bastards, but perhaps the Sheriff portrayed as the evil, nasty villain is too much? The Sheriff was merely doing his job? More Guy of Gisborne? Yes. That could be it. Guy is more evil than all three aforementioned villains combined. More Maid Marian? I LOVE Maid Marian…they rarely ever fuck Marian up unless they go too Mary Sue or too weakling. Lack of technology? Maybe…but I think you can get yourself a forest anywhere and there’s really no magical elements to the story…except for the touching scenes between Marian and her love Robin Hood *swoon*. So, I ask again, what is the deal with unimpressive Robin Hoods?
Well here’s my thing: keep it simple, act as if the audience should know OF the characters, and develop a script in the thick of events. You can recount things via word-of-mouth by the characters and that way you can have a short and sweet, but action-packed adventure. In fact, I am fairly certain the Disney version did that and it totally worked. Get yourself a good actor who can be a blundering idiot without being campy (kind of like Shawn Spencer from the show Psych–I would imagine he is the modern day personality equivalent of Robin Hood) who looks good wearing a hood. Not over muscular and not wimpy in appearance. Make sure Will Scarlet is plenty broody…with dark features to swoon over, but fiercely loyal and unwilling to turn on his troupe Make sure Maid Marian is fierce, feisty and knows how to be a lady in the street (and a freak in the bed, eh Luda?). Be aware that Little John is not only enormous, but is slightly more observant and has a great deal more common sense sometimes than Robin Hood. The pair are BFFs and should be goofing off a lot of the time until they get around the other boys and have to shape up. One of my most beloved characters, Alan a Dale, is often overlooked or even left out, so they really need to play up his bard-i-ness and his humor. And then there’s Friar Tuck, the merry drunken old chap that he is. They rarely get Tuck wrong either in movies, but everything else seems to go sour. Some great novels to get inspiration would be the series by Stephen R. Lawhead (Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck) only Will and Robin’s personalities seem to be switched in that series, but it’s seriously one of my FAVORITE series of all time. Or Theresa Tomlinson’s the Forestwife Trilogy…love. that. series. Then there is another series by Nancy Spinger about the daughter of Robin Hood that I happen to find very fascinating and the character of Robin Hood matches the one in the Forestwife well. You can dig deeper and go with the greats like Louis Rhead, who compiled nearly EVERY Robin Hood story into an enormous book that I have read every summer since I received it as a Christmas present when I was 7 years old. Yes, I asked for it at 7 years old.
All I ask is simply for a film about Robin Hood that will not make me feel so…disappointed. Unfortunately, when that happens I may die of happiness and shock. Not that those movies or shows are incredibly awful, because I have watched and read everything Robin Hood from the time I was a wee tater tot. Just give us a reason to have faith in Hood again, bros. That’s all I am asking. And I will now leave you with a kind farewell and, as (almost) always, something pertaining to (the love of my 5 year old life) Sonny Crockett.