Remembering Robin Hood

Last night Jason and I watched "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", the 1991 blockbuster starring Kevin Costner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Alan Rickman, and Christian Slater.

I'd forgotten how much I love that movie. I was fourteen when it came out, and it epitomized all that was romantic--the whole "she's worth dying for" bit. I think every girl dreams of a man that loves her with that much devotion, and at fourteen, fairy tales and "happily ever afters" were what true love was all about.

I wasn't the only one that loved it. (Obviously--it was one of the highest-, if not THE highest-grossing movie to that date.) It seems like EVERYONE had seen that movie. Many, like me, had seen it many many times. I remember watching it at my friend Kristy's house, and also pirating her copy of the soundtrack (a practice I no longer participate in or condone, by the way. But back then, I was fourteen, broke, and didn't know any better. And if I ever find a copy of that soundtrack for sale, I am SO buying it!) I wore that stinkin' tape out from listening to it so much.

My dad and my brother also enjoyed it. We owned it, and watched it as a family quite a bit. The romance, the honour, the Bryan Adams song, the great acting (except for on the part of Costner--more on that in a minute), the directing, the cinematography, the scenery, the excellent writing--we appreciated all of this and more. In fact, the only thing that seemed to mar it was the fact that the English hero the movie was named after sported an accent that wouldn't develop for another thousand years or so. I mean, couldn't Costner have at least tried for the accent? He did it when he was pretending to be the beggar! I'm sure he could have pulled it off in the rest of the movie. Slater and Freeman both did fantastic jobs of their accents.

I think it all comes back to the fact that Kevin Costner couldn't act if the lives of the entire population of Nicaragua depended on it. Why he ever got to be so popular, I'll never know. The only movie he ever seemed suited to his role in was Wyatt Erp, and that's because the character was supposed to be dead-pan and emotionless.

That aside, casting Rickman as the Sherriff--sheer genius! No one else could have done a better job. Honestly, he is my favourite character in the movie.

Many of the lines from this film made their way into our family's culture. "'Why a spoon, cousin?' 'Because it's dull, you twit, it'll hurt more!'" and "'...call off Christmas!'" were two favourites. (Also: "You! My room, 9:30! You, 9:45! And bring a friend!")

And the music--oh, the music! I could go on and on. Jason caught me getting right into the music last night, and I sheepishly reined myself in from my whole body conducting. The music in this film reminds me of how a musical is written--there are very few places in the movie where there isn't a background track playing, and it is like the story is told, and then told AGAIN in the music. Another film that is like that to some degree is The Last Of The Mohicans, but that's off topic. Unfortunately, I think the soundtrack for both of these films is on moratorium, so I don't know if I will ever have the chance to add these to my own collection. *sigh*

Our family's culture was not the only one influenced by this film. I don't know of anyone who didn't know every word to "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)." In grade 9 I went on a bus trip with the other kids in my class to a youth conference in B.C.. At the conference, there was a fairly good piano player (one of the other attendees) who played almost exclusively by ear, and this was one of his most requested pieces of the weekend. On the way home, I remember one kid had the song on tape on his Walkman (before CD's were popular) and sang it out and we all tried singing along--it didn't work very well, since there are such long pauses between phrases that those of us not listening through the headphones always wanted to start about a beat and a half too early, and the entire time it was a rhythmic tug-of-war between us and the kid with the phones. I think we eventually just started ignoring him and singing it through.

In other words, this movie could be called a "defining movie" of the times, especially of a certain time in my life. And it's still good, 15 years later. (Now, if only they could digitally replace Costner with someone else--Orlando Bloom, maybe? He's a bit young, but with eyes like that, who cares? Tee hee!)