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10/01/2019 09:00:34 •••

Medieval-Punk

If I heard one thing about the largely forgotten 2018 Robin Hood movie it's people saying over and over again, "This is so unrealistic! That outfit is anachronistic! They're making the crusades look like Afghanistan! Scandal!!" All of that is true, but also irrelevant as an observation. It's not like the movie's researchers didn't realise Medieval Sheriffs didn't wear modern business suits, or that Englishmen hadn't fought the crusades with pump action crossbows. The movie straight up tells you it is going to be unrealistic in the opening minute; "I could bore you with the history, but I'm here to tell you a story about a thief." Saying you don't like the movie because its unrealistic is like saying you don't like Mad Max because it's full of cars. You're not wrong, but that thing you don't like is kind of the point of the movie.

Hollywood has been desperate to find a new historical action franchise after Pirates of the Caribbean dried up, and they've so far failed to excite the young people with Cowboys and Indians or Swords and Sandals. I reckon Swash and Buckle won't be a hit a hit either, given the lacklustre response to Robin Hood. I remember getting about twenty minutes into the previous Russel Crowe's 2010 attempt at Hood and being thoroughly bored with its sober take on the middle-ages (note for the pedants; also an anachronistic and unrealistic movie). New Hood tries a completely different tact; all out medieval-punk, with protracted satire of Bush-era hawkism. There's inspiration from every corner, the movie borrowing the Bruce Wayne/Batman dynamic from the recent Nolan movies, Taron Egerton's charm from The Kingsman movies, Lars Anderson's archery stunts from youtube, and I even saw a couple of lines from The Magnificent Seven. It's a Frankenstein's monster of movie bits.

And somehow, it mostly works. It's all compacted into a functional, mechanical action plot, and relies on the high energy and natural charisma of both Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx to drive us through pumping action montages and slow-mo action. Finally there's the Sheriff, played by Ben Mendelsohn. There's no beating Alan Rickman's villain from the 1991 Robin Hood (also anachronistic and unrealistic), but Mendelsohn does his damnedest as a snarling, greedy and desperate despot. The only damp squib is Marion, who's a kind of boring Union Rep/love interest that is looking for things to do in the plot.

It's certainly nothing special, and I doubt anything will bit Disney's 1973 Robin Hood (Anachronistic. Unrealistic.), but the new film is perfectly adequate, and has gotten a bad rap for the wrong reasons. Robin Hood is, ultimately, by the numbers and utterly predictable. But I like it for trying something new, and I would want to see more movies try this modern/medieval hybrid.

10/01/2019 00:00:00

Honestly, I never heard any complaints about historical inaccuracy, since that was plain from the trailer. Most of what I heard was that the over-direction was trying waaaaay too hard to be Guy Ritchie, and that everything else was derivative and unengaging.

Also, in the theater, I spent most of the trailer\'s run-time horrified that they were making a Thief movie, before I saw the title. So I admit that might\'ve soured me.

I\'ll give it a try, maybe. I often like things other people don\'t, or find derivative.


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