Robin Hood (TV movie, 1991, Uma Thurman and Patrick Bergin)

I adore Robin Hood stories. Always have. When I was a kid I’d read any version I could get my hands on, and the Errol Flynn Robin Hood was one of my favourite movies. So when I found a Robin Hood movie I hadn’t seen yet, I was very excited.

Sat down last night to watch it, and… well.

It started off good. Very different from the standard Robin Hood tale, but that’s no bad thing since there are so many Robin Hoods out there already. For instance, most of them start out with Robin Hood already an outlaw in Sherwood Forest, but here he starts off with his land and title and is outlawed during the course of the movie. So far so good.

And my optimism continued: the sword-fighting scenes are more “whack at the other guy until he falls over into the mud” than the dashing fencing of Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. Probably far more accurate to the time period. And Friar Tuck shows up as a wandering Friar, kicked out of his order and forced to sell fake relics (passing off chicken bones as Saints’ finger bones) to earn his living. Delightful!

Some things did make me raise an eyebrow… In one scene, they have a fight in a dye shop. Greens and yellows and purples and more go flying around until all the characters are stained head to toe. That would be one expensive fight for the poor dyer. Then again, it makes for an interesting fight, and I’m sure the choreographer had a blast with it. Does that justify a scene that doesn’t ring true for historical accuracy?

As well, when Robin Hood and Will Scarlett are outlawed and have to run for their lives from the Norman soldiers, they seem to have somehow found the time to swing past their forfeited home and pick up a few nice changes of clothes. (Or, I suppose, they robbed a few nobles who were exactly their size…)

But overall, as the movie wound to a close, I was feeling pretty good about it. Some historical inaccuracies, but also some fun inclusions (like the fake relics); some inconsistencies in the film (things like wearing a cloak in one shot and not in the next). But all in all a good time.

And then the ending came. Which turned out to be 5 minutes or so of some of the cheesiest video I have ever seen in my life. A comically drawn-out death scene, a very quickly wrapped-up Happily Ever After, and some truly awful declarations of love (bees buzzing and springtime in her heart? really?) made this Robin Hood end on a much lower note.

Still, a decent couple hours of entertainment. And who doesn’t love some bad movie to laugh at? If you love Robin Hood stories, I still recommend it. Just brace yourself for that ending.







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