Movie Club: Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're doing something slightly different in that we're going to examine a few different movie takes on a popular legend, namely Robin Hood. After starting with the first massively famous version, this week we're covering the other really well-known one, 1991's Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I saw this movie the first time when it came out in early 90s and quite enjoyed it, mainly for two reasons. Firstly, I have always loved Kevin Costner (I've lost count of how many times I've seen "Dances With Wolves") and secondly, I was a kid :). I watched it again recently and now understand why it was criticized quite a bit when it came out.

    Starting with the characters and actors, Costner does a decent job as Robin, though his acting and British accent (or lack thereof) weren't going to get him an Oscar nomination. I wasn't particularly thrilled with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonia's performance as Maid Marian. Geraldine McEwan was WAY over-the-top in her role as Mortianna. The witch looked and acted like she came right out of a Disney animated movie. There was no need to make her that cartoony. Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman are probably the best thing about this movie. And Sean Connery's special appearance was a nice treat! :)

    I haven't seen many iterations of the Robin Hood story. The only one I have seen besides this movie is Disney's animated "Robin Hood", so I can't really talk about the movie's historical accuracy or inaccuracies, nor can I compare the characters' development or performances to previous works. But I liked the light-hearted, adventurous tone of the film. I think the filmmakers probably realized that if they went with a serious historically accurate movie, it just wouldn't have worked. So they went with a more entertaining, mainstream kind of movie. It was more in the vein of the "Indiana Jones" movies. And it worked too because despite not being a critical success, the movie was a huge hit commercially, earning oodles of money.

    If I had seen this movie for the first time as an adult, I definitely wouldn't have liked it as my mind would have been too focused on the negatives. So I'm glad I saw it when I was younger because I enjoyed it a lot back then and as a result even when I watch it now I can still enjoy it. :)
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves is one of those movies that you have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate. First time I saw it I was about 13 and had already seen and loved the Errol Flynn classic from 1938 (Wilycub you should definitely look that one up!), and read the Antonia Fraser book of the legends. As such, with my critical eye I was never going to give it the thumbs-up the first time round. But then I saw it again about 3-4yrs later and figured it wasn't so bad.

    I've just seen it again for the first time in about 14 years. This is actually the first time too that I've seen it this close on the heels of watching the Errol Flynn one - and I think that's why I decided to have a Robin Hood-athon for Movie Club, just to give myself the opportunity of doing this.

    Firstly, the opening titles are stunning, effectively conveying the right sense of anticipation for the film, both the tapestry visuals and the music by Michael Kamen - in much the same way that the (admittedly much more basic) titles for the Errol Flynn movie did back in 1938 with their parchment-like visuals and equally fitting music by Erich Korngold.

    Comparing Costner to Flynn is where the 1991 movie really falls flat - Costner is just not right for the part, it looked to me like he was trying to be Bruce Willis or something. He'll certainly never be Errol Flynn.

    I don't know if my Bruce Willis comment is in connection with the fact that this film is one of Alan Rickman's most iconic roles, as the Sheriff of Nottingham he shone, even more so than he did as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. He was just so over the top and loving every minute of it.

    Aside from the absence of Prince John's character, Morgan Freeman's Azim represents the biggest shakeup in the legend, but it worked for me - showing Robin initially as a knight on the Crusades was a fair enough idea and it worked. It gave us a more formal start to the story with plenty of action, rescuing Azim and saving his life like that, the characters had a bond that became a good comical point throughout the movie. Also his character served as a useful reminder not to judge a book by its cover.

    The rest of the Merry Men were a mixed bag - Nick Brimble was great as Little John, shown as the leader of a pre-existing band of outlaws that Robin stumbles across in Sherwood Forest. That idea makes sense especially when you consider the starting position of the film, and the fight on the river was very well done - one of those sequences that you have to do in a Robin Hood movie, the fight between those two is one of the most memorable parts of the legend. As is the earlier demonstration when Robin saves the boy from the Sheriff's guards in the exact same way that Errol Flynn's Robin saved Much the Miller's son in the 1938 one. Much, incidentally, does appear here in a small part, played by the late Jack Wild, best known as the Artful Dodger in the musical Oliver two decades earlier, and a very tragic tale of child stardom. Michael McShane was great as Friar Tuck, the natural character to have issues with the Muslim Azim, until the baby-delivering scene where Azim earns his respect. Christian Slater as the whiny Will Scarlett is less good - I can see why they made him what he was but it seems to have been shoehorned in just to have a dissenter in the ranks.

    Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion was also rather dull, although at least the character was more than just a damsel in distress. Michael Wincott as Guy of Gisborne was a little two-dimensional and just creepy for the sake of it. He never seemed like that much of a threat. Geraldine McEwan as Mortiana was very OTT but it did help to explain the Sheriff's warped and twisted mind. Especially in the extended cut (about 2h28), where we find out exactly who that character is! Also present in a small part as the Celt Chieftain is our old friend Pat Roach!

    And let's not forget Brian Blessed in possibly his quietest film role ever - albeit going out in style!

    The way they framed the story works for me as I've already indicated. Yes, my teenage self was bristling at the liberties taken the first time I saw it but it works OK enough, probably more so if you haven't seen the Errol Flynn one already. Coming home from the Crusades and finding out what has happened to his father is a natural enough way of giving him beef with the Sheriff, although it's worth mentioning that Errol Flynn saw and railed against the injustice without needing to be persecuted first!

    Also, this was the place where Bryan Adams' hit "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" first debuted - it seems to have been around forever, but this is where it comes from. There are several lines in the script that found their way into the lyric. Actually this may not be the only song where this happened. It's pure speculation on my part, but when Will asks Robin if he's going to finish what he started, it makes me think of Adams' very next single after this, "Can't Stop This Thing We Started", from the same album ("Waking Up The Neighbours"). Coincidence? Maybe. I think the reason "Everything I Do" was so massive is because the melody appears in the incidental music - apparently Michael Kamen came up with the tune in the late 1960s but never found a use for it until here. And so by the time the song comes along over the end credits, we know the tune already even if we're hearing it for the first time and it just feels natural. It's not just some random song tacked onto the end, it exists within the film itself, like "Come And Follow Me" in Short Circuit, or even "As Time Goes By" in Casablanca - although that song was an established standard before the film happened, it still appears as part of the incidental music. Actually that's another film we should cover at some point!

    On the whole? Not as good as the Errol Flynn one. If you've never seen that 1938 epic, do yourself a favour and watch it. But once you accept that it's never going to beat the golden oldie, you can appreciate it for being decent enough in its own right.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @Wilycub and @LiamABC have pretty much covered everything I could say about the film and I agree.
    I always quite liked this film. It has it's faults but aside from the Disney Robin Hood cartoon with the fox this was the first live action Robin Film I saw.
    The filming locations were great and you could tell a lot of the cast were having great fun making it.
    Although I wasn't too keen on the final battle scenes with the wedding between the sheriff and Marian...I think they could have done without that scene as it slows the action down quite a bit.
    I liked Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, but I don't think he was the right choice for the role. There are quite a few other actors I think could have been better for the part. I also think an actual English actor...or at least someone that could do a good English accent would be a better choice. My friend in the USA bought me a book Kevin Costner co-wrote with Jon Baird "The Explorers Guild" a few years ago, which was very good. It was a surprise present and I was also surprised at seeing Costner's name on the book as I didn't know he wrote books.
    Overall still a very enjoyable film.

    The toyline for this movie by Kenner was quite interesting. I had the Sheriff of Nottingham figure. I didn't get any other toys from the movie though, I only recall seeing them in one shop and I must be honest I wasn't too impressed with the Sheriff figure. Looked absolutely nothing like Alan Rickman.
    Interestingly Kenner re-used some Star Wars toys. Friar Tuck's body below the head re-uses the Gamorean Guards body under the rode. And the Ewok Village and Ewok Battle Wagon were released with some slight alterations. Most notably the improvement to the Ewok Village was that Kenner included some treetops making it look a lot better than the original version.
    One Christmas around the time of the release of this film I got a Robin Hood board game but it didn't look to have anything to do with the film.
    In the mid 90's around 94/95 I got a Little John figure, but it wasn't from this movie, but it looked like a knock off of the official movie version. My aunt, uncle and family bought it to me from their trip to Scotland.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  5. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I remember the toys vaguely. There weren't that many figures released, but I do remember the Sherwood Forest playset as well was a Battle Wagon. When I was trying to remember the toys, I remembered the figures backing card and that reminded me of the most awesome scene in the movie, the slow motion shot of Costner shooting a fire arrow straight at the screen! It still looks awesome today! :)
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    That was an awesome scene. I think that scene is used in the Bryan Adams music video. Actually I believe a pic of that scene was on the cover of my VHS tape I got. It was an ex-rental copy from the Sunday Market. I loved perusing the ex-rental video stall stand at the market. They always had such a wide selection of different genres. Some weeks we would come back with action movies, sci-fi, Japanese anime robot cartoons, 80's cartoons of Transformers, Visionaries, Gobots, Robotech etc. One week I even got a video tape from the 70's or 80's of American Professional Wrestling and one or two of the matches featured Rocky Johnson, the father of Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson.

    Actually a couple years after getting the video tape I joined my schools archery club, which was a lot of fun. My mum and dad got me my own bow, a Sherwood Forester. :D
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  7. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Recently re-watched RH: POT, on the Blu-ray. I've only seen this once before. Overall, I felt this was a decent film & kept my interest throughout. But, there was some room for improvement.

    The good:

    -Nice settings & very elaborate environments re: the castle(s), farms, etc. The location(s) they decided to pick re: Sherwood forest were especially impressive; this looked exactly as I would have imagined the forest from reading the RH stories as as kid. Well-done.

    -Extremely cool & elaborate battle scenes - fantastic. It was obvious this was an expensive, big budget Hollywood film.

    -Solid storyline.

    -Extremely solid casting for the majority of the roles in the film, including the great Alan Rickman as Sheriff of Nottingham, Brian Blessed as Robin's father, the ironically-named Little John, Friar Tuck, etc.

    The bad:

    -Poor casting of Costner as Robin Hood - if it had been a lesser role, it wouldn't have been as big of a deal. But, he was the lead. I do like a lot of Costner's other '90's & 200X's films, but I felt they should have gotten a somewhat younger UK actor for this role (unknown would have been fine) - or, at the least an younger American actor who could do a convincing British accent. I felt he was too old for the role - and, his attempts to talk with the appropriate accent were laughable. It was ridiculous how he started the film off talking with the accent, then went back to his regular American accent not long after. Going along with this, the other characters' appropriate UK accents made his out-of-place accent even more jarring.

    My memories of when the film was first released:

    -I remember the hype POT got back when it came out in Summer '91, but I never saw it theatrically. I was in college at the time and focused somewhat on school - and wasn't nearly as much of a movie fan as I later became. I actually didn't see the film for the first time until the 200X's - several years after I got my first DVD player.

    -Re: the Kenner toyline, I remember seeing these toys in stores back in the day. It was especially interesting how they re-used these 1983 & 1985 Star Wars Ewok toys (Ewok village & Ewok battle wagon). Being a big fan of those SW toys as a kid, it was slightly jarring to see these Prince of Thieves toys on store shelves years later; at first glance, I initially thought they were re-releasing the SW toys, with slight alterations - LOL.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
    LiamABC and Mark M like this.
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Which they would start doing a few years later in 95/96 with the Power of the Force 2 line. ;)
    Ironically they didn't re-release the Ewok Village and Battle Wagon in the Power of the Force 2 line.
  9. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Agreed. In fact, as a huge SW fan, I was very happy when the POTF2 figures/vehicles started coming out. I did collect these, and appreciated that these new SW vehicles used the same sculpts as the Vintage versions (1977-1985), but with a lot of improvements. Some notable examples:

    - The Vintage TIE fighter used crummy stickers/labels for the panels on the side (that would typically peel off); conversely, the vastly superior '95 POTF2 version had built in panels which looked far better.

    -The Vintage X-wing fighter was fairly bland; the new 1995 one had much better detailing, battle damage, etc.

    -The Vintage Slave I (Boba Fett's ship from ESB) was off re: the color (dark grey), and had terrible stickers that kept coming off. Conversely, the 1996 version had the correct light gray/white-ish plastic mold, and had subtle paint/battle damage - very little stickers were needed here.

    But I digress....
  10. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Yes I never had any of the original vehicles. Only a six figures. The POTF2 vehicles were great. The first couple waves of action figures not so much. They were all really muscular like He-Man/superhero figures and could barely fit in the vehicles LOL.
    I did get the POTF X-Wing, Tie-Fighter, Landspeeder and 2x Speeder Bikes. I had an At-ST briefly but it had to go back to the shop as it was damaged. Years later I got the 2004 release of the Millennium Falcon and 2008 AT-AT.
    I am still a fan of the Original Trilogy Star Wars movies but I have sold off all the Star Wars toys with the exception of my original Han Solo Bespin figure.

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