Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't See Robin Hood!

Q: What has 18 movies mashed together and still doesn't move?

A: The awful, crappy new movie of Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe...

This riddle was inspired by one of the bits of business in the film. It comes right after the homage to Monty Python. Yeah, Monty Python. They had no idea what kind of movie they should make, so they took every sword film that made a buck in the last twenty or so years (longer for Python, I know), mixed in a few others, and threw it against the wall to see what stuck. Well, none of it stuck, but it stunk. It's a runny, nasty, mess, and it reeks. It's also an offense to history, and good filmmaking. Sure, there are bits and pieces of it that look nice, but they're gleaming specks of Fool's Gold in the dungpile.

About three minutes and six eyerolls in, my wife turns to me and says, “I didn't know this was supposed to be a comedy!” Now this could be a fun film if you wanted to make a parody that incorporates bits of other movies to make fun of them, a la Scary Movie, Hot Shots, and that genre. Maybe that's how it started. But they played it straight (mostly), and the result is the crud at the bottom of the pool at the sewage plant. No one should go watch this bilge-- it's not even bad enough to be fun. And this from a guy who LOVES sword movies and Robin Hood. It's not often that a film offends me so strongly, and on so many levels, but this one managed. So why is it so bad? Oh, so many reasons. Here's just a few.

1: Needless, hyperactive jumping around in time and place, like a bad thriller novel.

2: A complete lack of internal logic, with stupid plot holes you could drive the French Army through.

3: Modern bits of business that don't belong in a period piece.

4: Historical detail of a history that never happened. Your audience members are not as stupid and ignorant as your scriptwriters, guys.

5: Characters acting like idiots, and for no reason.

6: Other laughable dumb stuff.

7: The “Kitchen sink” theory of the more crap you stuff in, the better someone will like something.

8: Bad guys have shaven, bald heads, kings have long curls and ringlets, good guys have short hair. And every adult male has one prominent scar.

9: Horrible lines and dialogue.

10. Obvious thefts from better movies, and too many of them. A partial list:

Gladiator (Russell Crowe is the noble guy who stands up to the black-haired, suddenly-crowned, psycho despot, and suffers)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (None shall pass!)
Braveheart (Freedom! Uh, these bozos live in monarchies, and that's treason)
Lord of the Rings (Robin Longstrider- Aragorn/Strider)
Peter Pan (This one is especially puzzling- see below)
Kingdom of Heaven (Modern multicultural sympathy for the Muslims, from the Crusaders)
A Knight's Tale (Right down to the chubby, funny sidekick from that film, playing the chubby, funny sidekick, Friar Tuck)
Saving Private Ryan (They love that D-Day landing footage so much, they recreated it-- in the Year 1200, and had the French invade England (already done, dimwits, ever hear of 1066?), with LST's no less, a type of landing craft not invented until World War II. WTF? Why didn't they just mount machine guns on them?)

Some things to smack the producers of this crapfest in the head for, for wasting two hours and twenty minutes of my life:
--The Magna Carta was not created circa 1170 by a stonemason, and it was not created to provide all the common men of England with rights. It was a forced agreement from a bunch of rich, powerful guys who wanted to show the King he wasn't as big as he thought he was.

--So you admit that King Richard had been held for ransom for 4 years on his way home from the Crusades-- so where does this “along for the ride” Crusader army spring from? I guess they just hung out in the woods for 4 years, huh? Yeah, that would happen. And if Richard is “pillaging his way across France”, where's this mighty French invasion force that comes along a short time later? I guess they were building their WWII-era LSTs and couldn't be bothered to stop him.

--What the hell is up with the Peter Pan-like/Lord of the Flies Lost Boys? They keep getting tossed into the plot for no reason, like a bad spice. And at the big battle scene, poor, foraging forest kids suddenly show up riding tiny horses (Shetland ponies?) and plunge into battle (for what possible reason?) with little more than fur loincloths and sticks, against well-equipped soldiers. Yeah, pit the equivalent of a couple of fifth-grade soccer teams to fight fully-armed combat vets-- that should be entertaining, for about five minutes-- if you want a bunch of needlessly dead kids.

--A soldier's sword was a necessary piece of equipment, upon which his life depended, and would have cost quite a bit-- and yet in this move, they use their swords as prybars (snap!), hammers, can openers, whatever. The lead doofus pounds the hilt of his his weapon (also an important heirloom) on stone slabs, which would break the sword-- despite the fact he has a 6'9” guy behind him with a giant war hammer!

--Apparently, Robin's men can teleport, because they're on the cliff tops in one shot, and two shots later are in the thick of battle. How'd you guys do that?

--Robin sleeps a few feet in front of an absolute roaring, six-foot high fireplace bonfire. Know how much heat that puts out? They don't, obviously. Robin would have roasted like a chicken. Oh, and with no grate, the floor in front of this bonfire is covered with nice, dry straw. Let's just say Locksley Hall would be a black pile of ashes by morning.

--Wow, coronations for the new King of England need no ceremony, just mom picking up a crowned helmet and slapping it on her other son's head. Done deal.

--Numerous “proclamations” nailed to a tree (oops, Harry Potter snippet) for an illiterate populace, when paper was ridiculously valuable. And a guy yelling for a nail, like everyone's carrying them around in their pocket. Yeah, even nails were worth a bunch back then, and not that common.

There's so much more, but just don't bother. This movie should not have been made, and should not survive and flourish. If it makes money, there will be more crap films like it, so let it die like the stinking turkey it is.

1 comment:

  1. The only good thing was that the "Great Northern Army" saves the Kingdom. As my SCA friends know, been there, done that. A number of times...