I AM Robin Hood

When I was a kid, I loved Knight Rider.  Yeah, it was really cheesy, and David Hasselhoff, I know now, was a dreadful actor, but I liked the car, and the whole concept of the show was cool.

Bo Duke was my first love, and I learned to hood-slide and shoot an arrow with respectable accuracy.  I wanted to be Daisy Duke, and for the longest time, I planned to buy a jeep the second I had my license.  Until the A-Team came along, and then I wanted a corvette like Face’s.  My favorite movie in those days, I can admit now, was Disney’s Robin Hood. I loved Robin.  It HAD to be the archery…

And now, everything old is new again.

I’ve seen the remake of Knight Rider.  Except for a  wicked Dodge Charger, the show fell flat for me.  Was it the show itself?  Or the fact that it wasn’t the original, with David Hasselhoff, his overacting, and his ridiculous white socks under black pants (funny how I remember that)?

I’m afraid to rent the remake of Dukes.  As perfect as she probably was for the role, Jessica Simpson is NOT Daisy Duke.  Catherine Bach is.   I fear the soon-to-be-released A-Team move, also.  I’m afraid they’ll bloody it up.  One of the best parts about the A-Team, besides Murdoch, was the fact that they built all these ridiculous armaments with ridiculous components (sheet metal is NOT bullet-proof, and yet, it was), and nobody ever died.  Sure, a few of them got hurt, but they got better.  And there was rarely any blood.

I always worry about remakes.  I always worry about someone putting their “twist” on my favorite stories.  Which brings us back to Robin Hood.

Robin Hood is a classic.  Everybody knows the story of the knight-turned-outlaw, his Lady Fair, his Merry Men, and the evilness that was the Sheriff of Nottingham.  The easy catch-phrase is “he robbed the rich to feed the poor,” but he didn’t.  Not really.  He robbed the oppressors , for Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham were the corrupt and evil overlords, squeezing every penny they could out of the villagers to line their own coffers.  To build a massive war chest to overthrow King Richard upon his return.  Yeah, I’m a fan.

I’ve seen several incarnations of Robin Hood…

Disney’s enchanted me. The music held me, and the great battle scene – scored with “On Wisconsin!” –  still cracks me up.  The innocence of the whole thing just warms me.

“Men in Tights” is just plain fun – but then Cary Elwes is once and always a classic.  The man should never, ever, EVER do a straight role again.  He was born to smirk.

Kevin Costner’s interpretation of the great legend showed up in my college years.  It never bothered me, like it did others, that he didn’t have an English accent.  He wasn’t my favorite character in that version, anyway.   He was so overshadowed by the rest of the cast – Morgan Freeman (“Azeem”), Michael McShane (“Tuck”), Mary Stuart Mastrontonio (“Marion”)… and the incomparable Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Evil and arrogant, with a twist of insanity.  Nobody can touch Rickman.  Or at least, that’s what I thought…

Enter Keith Allen, from the recent BBC production, (which is my favorite version of the Tale of Hood).  His Sheriff of Nottingham was as delightfully evil as Rickman’s was arrogant.  Sure, Rickman had his humorous moments (“…I’ll cut your heart out with a spoon.” “Why a spoon, cousin?” “Because it’s dull… it’ll hurt more.”), but Keith Allen managed to be wholly evil and still entertaining.  Evil with flair.

And then there’s Guy.  Sir Guy of Gisborne.  A bit-player in some interpretations of Hood, nonexistent in others, in this most recent incantation (portrayed by Richard Armitage; yum), he steals the show.  By turns seductive and dark, from the first moment you hate him while you love him.  While he’s carrying out the evil orders of Nottingham, you’re rooting for him to turn to the other side.  You can see it in him, if only he’d just try a little harder…  And he only gets better during the short three seasons of the show.  He is, by far, my favorite of all of the characters ever portrayed in any of the Robin Hood productions to date.  He wouldn’t have been that good, of course, without a great cast, but he still stands head and shoulders above the others.

So now we come to the most recent.  Robin Hood portrayed by Russell Crowe, an Aussie.  Why not?  At least he’ll have the accent.  But again, I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of what our modern filmmakers have done with the story, with the production.  Will they inject politics, as is so common now?  How much will they change the story?  – because all writers and producers do, it’s how they tell their version.  Will they fill my screen with blood and gore, so I’ll turn my head, as I did in Braveheart?  That movie made me ill – so much blood.  I didn’t see Gladiator or 300 because of it.  Yeah, I know that’s the way it was back then, but I honestly don’t need it shoved down my throat when I go out for an afternoon of fun.

Still, I’ll watch for it to come to our local theatre, or, more likely, I’ll Netflix it, and see for myself.  Because I swear, somewhere,  in one of my past lives…

…I am Robin Hood…

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8 Responses to I AM Robin Hood

  1. Joy says:

    I also really liked the story of Robin Hood. Just the story itself is really good. Did you ever see Robin and Marian? I really liked that. Sean Connery did a great job I thought.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075147/

    I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the remake of The Dukes either. I can still see and hear my kids playing Bo and Luke. Pretending every car was the General Lee. I just couldn’t do it and honestly, I like Jessica Simpson. I think she gets a bad deal.

    The Knight Rider was also the real deal. Toby had the big wheel. Or was it Jason?? I don’t remember now but we had one and it took many trips “down the hill” at the cabin. I did watch the remake of this show. It was one of Trinity’s favorites. For some reason, she loved that show. I thought it was a little “old” for a 7 pm time slot though. It was an okay show. I liked the guy who had Hasselhoff’s role. He used to be on All My Children.

    Given that said, I’ve seen so many remakes that are AWFUL. I remember I saw The Poseidon Adventure in the theater in the early 70’s and just loved it. I couldn’t wait to see Kurt Russell play that role and the movie just fell flat.

    Do you think we expect to much? For me, I love stories and I’m always willing to give one a shot but they usually leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

    • Laura says:

      I do think that sometimes we expect too much. I think the big thing that I liked about the BBC ‘Robin Hood’ was that it wasn’t a movie. They got three seasons – 20-30 hour long shows – to explore the story and the characters. They got to figure out who Robin was. Who was Guy of Gisborne, and how, exactly, did he get his position? It’s harder to translate that kind of depth to a movie screen. And now I hear Russel Crowe out there pushing his version of RH, and he’s trashing all the other productions. I get that he’s proud of his own, but I think each of the others had something going for it. Even the goofy and animated ones. I mean, the man trashed Errol Flynn. You don’t trash Errol Flynn. so the guy wore tights. It was 1930-something!

      But yeah, like i said in the piece, I always worry about remakes. There’s so much chance of messing up a good thing, instead of just letting what was there in the first place simply stand on it’s own.

  2. SKL says:

    I have to admit, I don’t remember ever watching any version of Robin Hood from start to finish. Nor have I read any version of it in print. I somehow do know the general storyline. Maybe because my sister played in a 7th grade stage production of Robin Hood. (That was awesome – to me, anyway.)

    I guess that is something I’ll first do with my kids. I’ll have to find a version that is truly family-friendly.

    I also have to admit that I hated most of those TV series you were talking about. My all-time un-favorite was the Dukes of Hazzard. Never really got into Knight Rider or Mr. T. I don’t know what series I really liked. I was into Little House, but I had read all the books and it bugged me that they didn’t follow the books and also that Laura ended up crying in every single episode, which would never have happened in real life (hers or mine). Can’t really think of any others that I “liked.” My mom used to watch those types of shows all evening and I’d sometimes watch with her, but I’d criticize them the whole time. I know, I’m no fun.

    Remakes – I say, if you like movies, check the ratings, and if they are good, give it a try – and then if you hate it, rent the old one and watch it until you clear the yuck from the new one out of your head. There have been some newer movies that were a lot better than any older versions. Though I am big on tradition for the most part. One thing I really hate is when a new movie or song comes out, and pretty soon they stop playing the old one, ever. They ought to at least play both, for those of us who like the older one better.

  3. Nikki says:

    I’ve never watched Robin Hood. We did watch new The Night Rider, and we really liked it! The new Dukes, that was a total BUST! The characters were funny, and I generally like them in movies but NO ONE can replace Bo and Luke Duke, or Daisy for that matter!

    Some shows should never be remade. As low budget as they seem to us now watching old re-runs, man they were just good ol’ shows! They don’t make TV like they used to, nor do they have actors like they used to. Maybe that’s the problem, they take an old school show and they put “Hollywood” into it. Maybe that’s where they go wrong. Leave them alone I say!

    • Joy says:

      I notice that in some of the really old movies Paul and I like. The scenery and stuff is so fake looking but man, they were good movies. Take Old Yeller for instance. Some of it was so fakey looking but it’s a classic movie. Another really old movie I liked was something about a yearling of some kind. About a boy in the south. I’m gonna look it up. I loved that movie but there again, special effects were unheard of then.

      It was called The Yearling but I’d forgotten Gregory Peck was in that. I’m going to have to get that movie in DVD. I think kids need to watch more stuff like this and less cartoon-y stuff.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039111/

      I think you’re so right Nikki. They try to “fix” something that’s not broken.

      • SKL says:

        I agree about the cartoon stuff. Try googling “good movies for preschoolers” and every one is a cartoon. Yuck. There are still some good ones out there, mostly old films.

  4. Karen Joy says:

    I loved Night Rider!I saw David Hasselhoff and got his autograph but the best past was seeing the real car-Kit!OK,it was a long time ago,I was just a kid but it was a HUGE deal to me.Now I see how cheesy the show was.Back then they were all great shows though and we enjoyed them.
    I know Ive seen Robin Hood movies but for the life of me I cant remember who played in them.I dont generally like remakes and I probably wont watch these new ones coming out either.I want to remember them as they were-back then. They’re NEVER the same or as good.

  5. Laura says:

    I agree about the acting. I think that’s what really got me about this “new” (out of production, and onto Netflix) BBC Robin Hood series. The actors were GOOD. Particularly the bad guys. Richard Armitage really made you, I don’t know, *worry* about Guy of Gisborne. You’re just supposed to hate the guy. He’s supposed to be the vile henchman of Nottingham… who was really good, too.

    Don’t get me wrong – the sets were awesome. It was filmed in Hungary, and they were out in the woods, built a whole Locksley Village/Nottingham Town, etc., but the acting was just plain good.

    And yeah, I look back on that old stuff, and go, “man, oh MAN is this cheesy”… but it was really just good, clean fun. Especially the Dukes. Some of my favorite shows are old ones … Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Beverly Hillbillies…

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