Will Ridley Scott’s 2010 “Robin Hood” be ridiculously amazing? Of course. The last time Scott directed an action-epic film starring Russell Crowe, pure magic was created in the form of a movie called “Gladiator”. Though I’m as excited as the next movie-goer to see this new interpretation of the English tale, its hard for me to think that people won’t love any Robin Hood movie that is made regardless of who is in it. Considering this, I must ask myself if Universal Pictures necessarily had to team up a successful epic-film director with a proven movie-stud actor to make “Robin Hood” relevant to a 2010 audience. I think not. In fact, you would have to be a pretty bad hack to mess up the story of Robin Hood. If you look at previous Robin Hood films, you will see that there is no clear formula to make the story relatable and fresh. Anything works! For those who disagree with me, consider the following examples:
- “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”
This version of Robin Hood followed a traditional model of a period-action film and was a huge hit when it came out in 1991. The plot mostly stayed true to the legend but its main focus was on the love story between Robin Hood (Kevin Costner) and Maid Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). The smash hit from the soundtrack “I Do It For You” (Bryan Adams) was definitely used to tap even more romance out of the story. But despite the added sappiness the action was still incredibly awesome. It also didn’t hurt that Morgan Freeman (Azeem the Moor) and Alan Rickman (The Sheriff Of Nottingham) both turned in unforgettable performances.
- “Robin Hood: Men In Tights”
This Mel Brooks film was mainly a spoof on the “Prince of Thieves” version and 1937’s “Adventures Of Robin Hood” (mainly in their costumes). Though “Men In Tights” opened to mixed revues, it has garnered a cult following since its 1993 debut, and rightfully so. This highly unusual take on the Robin Hood story added a great deal of anachronistic jokes that are indeed timeless (Dave Chappelle’s character pausing a fight to pump his sneakers). And who would ever think it would be so fitting for Merry Men of Sherwood Forest to perform a ridiculous dance number together? Brooks showed that you can make the story of Robin Hood completely ludicrous and it will still work.
Disney’s 1973 version of Robin Hood showed how much you could do with the story in animated form. Like many of Disney animated features, they made characters in the story anthropomorphic (human-like) animals. In this way, they were able to personify each character by the type of animal they used: Robin Hood a sly fox, Sheriff Of Nottingham a vicious wolf, and his servant Sir Hiss a cunning snake. This film also showed that the legend of Robin Hood could even work in a Disney-musical format (despite the fact that some of the dance sequences are recycled from “The Jungle Book” and “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs”). The film is still considered a Disney treasure and ranks with the any of the live-action Robin Hood films that have preceded it.