Doing empire in style- a review of China: A History by John Keay

Before I read this book, I knew literally nothing of China’s history. And by nothing, I mean ‘Er, there were some emporers, a dude called Mao who killed a whole bunch of peasants, and a couple of hundred pandas’.

So yeah, pretty much nothing.

I decided it was high time I attempted to fill this hilarious gap in my knowledge, since the people of this fascinating land constitute, oh, only about 1/5 of the entire world population.

Despite the fact that this book was staggeringly long, (though really, for a history of such a huge country it was ridiculously short) it had me absolutely gripped from start to finish. It was incredible. Part of this down to the fact that Keay’s analysis fantastically brought the history to life. Most of it was due to the history itself being utterly edge of your seat gripping. The murders at court, the political intrigues, the flowering culture, the epic battles on insane scales – China’s history is  nothing if not exciting.

At the start of the book, John Keay goes straight in there with the mythbusting. Why is it that historians always insist on shattering my childhood illusions?

List of Lies:

1) You can see the Great Wall from space? Don’t make me laugh. We have Ripley’s Curi-oddities to thank for that ridiculous urban myth (and I used to believe those books and everything!).

2) On the subject of the Great Wall, it’s not unbroken either. Neither is it, or has it ever been, a boundary of China. All those big stone bits? They’ve been rebuilt just for you to look at. Most of it’s kinda falling down…

3) The Long Canal… is not one canal. It’s lots of canals. Sorry if you were going to try and kayak the whole thing.

4) You may have heard of Mao’s Long March as a triumph of Mao’s awesomeness – in true Moses like style he led his Communist followers to salvation halfway across China, all the while under heavy fire from the Nationalists. What a hero!

Actually, they should rename it Mao’s ‘I Was Carried On a Litter the Entire Way and Was So Bad at Navigating That We All Got Lost Multiple Times so it took us a Whole Year and No there Weren’t any Nationalists Firing At Us, Sorry I Lied, but Who Cares, because All of China is MINE!’

5) This isn’t a myth bust… but guess how much it costs to lease out a panda for a year. Just one panda… for one year.

2 MILLION DOLLARS!

Sorry if you wanted to start a zoo.

History to the Chinese

I was not entirely surprised to discover that Chinese history books have themselves had four entire rewrites in the past century alone. I was, however, astonished to discover how highly the Chinese value their history.

Whenever new dynasties or ideas came to hold power, they would do so not by claiming to be heralding a new age, but by using the past as a legitimiser. Instead of wanting to look forward, and be original, in China it was crucial to look back to the past, and attempt to emulate the incredible deeds and noble regimes to be found there. As far as the Chinese were concerned, things were only going downhill from here, and the better you wanted to be, the more you had to act like they did in olden times.

History is appreciated in China as an incredibly powerful tool, and at any particular time needs to be presented in different ways to make the ruling powers look as good as possible. This means that many historical events and characters often flip between good and bad in their official representation.

In legend for example, there is a story of a girl called Meng Jiangnu who stood up to the first emporer, and brought down the Great Wall with her tears. She is normally considered a popular hero. However, under Mao’s rule, Meng was likened to counter-revolutionaries who wished to topple the communist regime, and she was cast in culture as repulsive, the story attacked and deemed invalid. Confucianism also became under attack from the Communist Party in 1974 because Confucius’ reactionary teachings were being associated with the politician Lin Biao who they were toppling from favour.

History in China has always been of utterly vital importance, and they’ve been recording their own history for millenia. Old Chinese histories have been poured over through the centuries with the same reverance as for religious texts. There have been huge beuracracies in place under Chinese emporers with officials court historians writing down every little detail pretty much ever since the Chinese have had emporers. And that’s been 2000 years.

This seems to me incredibly bizarre, coming from a country infamous during the Dark Ages for where apart from a couple of monks, no-one wrote down a single blasted thing. ‘History?’ thought the battling Picts, the Saxon peasants and the angry Viking invaders, ‘Pah! History is for wimps… and historians’, and with that they all got back to stabbing eachother. Meanwhile, in China, everyone was practising calligraphy and painting pictures of bamboo shoots.

So, you’d think that this wealth of Chinese history would be great, because we can find out all about China, since they’ve helpfully been writing it down for ever. Right?

There’s just one problem.

In the past 100 years or so, more and more archaelogical evidence has been coming to light – evidence which often utterly conflicts with what used to be the standard, accepted view of Chinese history. This is the idea that China has been a single civilisation under fairly autonomous and continuous rule for over 3000 years, and that as a civilisation it and its culture expanded outwards over the years from the central northern plain. Evidence from the ground suggests that this is not the case – rather, different cultures and communities developed and evolved in different regions, some very far from the traditional Chinese heartland. The bronze age dynasties written about by history such as the Xia, if they did actually exist, would only have ruled over a small area – and it might not even have been the ‘right’ area.

For many years the Chinese government weren’t happy about this at all, because the traditional view is that Empire= Good, Random Little Countries= Bad. They even went so far as to hiding or ignoring discoveries which discredited traditional ideas (which I find pretty shocking). More recently, however, these newer ideas (which unsurprisingly were often touted by foreigners) have become more widely accepted.

Some people have even started to question whether empire should even be considered a good thing, which had never even occured to me. Arguably, culture flourishes better under regional rule, and without a neurotic central power attempting to control everything , people may have led better lives. Personally, I can’t imagine that humans in general will ever stop seeing ancient empires as the more impressive historical alternative; I think it’s part of human nature to see huge regimes bringing shared ideals and autonomy as something glorious to be aspired to.

Unless of course the empire is Persian and you’re watching 300.

However, the finds don’t always disagree with the writings. Take the terracotta army for example – this almost unbelievable find had been written about by China’s grand historian Sima Qian of the 1st Century BC. This has led some historians to be more believing of some of the claims Sima made which have previously seemed more than a little outlandish: for example that the First Emporer’s tomb contains flowing rivers of mercury, and that once coming across a hill in his path, he had it stripped bare and painted red – a sign of criminality. What I believe is that if the man was capable of burying an army of clay men, then why not of painting a whole hill too?

This still leaves the impossible question: How to reconcile the written histories of China with the newer archaeological evidence? It doesn’t seem like anything you’d ever be able to do to me until we have exhausted all possible sources of evidence – maybe China will just have to have two separate histories written about it from now on. John Keay goes a little way towards addressing this problem, suggesting for example that discovered communities of Longshan may be tenously equated to the mystical Xia dynasty.

As it is however, it is impossible to distinguish how long ‘China’ has infact been ‘China’. Some historians would claim that 3/4 of Chinese recorded history has been continuous and coherent – well really, it’s all to easy to slash that number to 1/4 and less. There have been large periods of general battling in Chinese history – most famously the ancient Warring States and Spring and Autumn periods in about 500-200BC, which ended with the first establishment of the first Empire, the Three Kingdoms period after the collapse of the Eastern Han dynasty in 220AD, and the 5 Dynasties and 10 Kingdoms period after the collaps of the Tang dynasty in about 900AD. Can you count these bits as part of the continuous timeline? Do you count in the large periods where dynastic control, though still officially ‘there’, was waning and barely tangible? Where do you start and end your timeline? And which ethnic groups do you even count as Chinese, for heaven’s sake?

I had no idea it would all be so confusing.

Despite this, it is true that (unlike what I’m used to reading about in European history where empires are constantly crumbling) in a sense, the Chinese empire never actually truly falls…until, of course, it does, in 1912.

Oh yes, dynasties fall, over and over again, and parts of the empire are always being overrun by rebels and Mongols and declaring themselves separate empires… but this idea of ‘China’ in some ways never actually ceases to exist. When one dynasty crumbled, the Heavenly Mandate – ie, the bumper sticker declaring ‘I Am the Official Dynasty’ – was simply transefered to the next ruling family. Or at least the one that appeared to be ruling more of China than everyone else… even when that family was headed by Mongols (and it happened more than once). Thus the empire continued. It may have continued in an extremely jumbled, heavily contested fashion… but I guess you could then argue that at least it did continue.

And who decided, often after they’d all ended which dynasties had in fact been the legitimate ones?

Ah well, that’d be the historians of course. 😉

Tangent Alert: Bonus Red Cliff Review

In 208 AD, during the fall of the Han dynasty, the three warring kingdoms of Shu, Wu and Wei battled it out for control of the Chinese empire. Shu and Wu (and their respective leaders Liu Bei and Sun Quan) formed an alliance against Cao Cao’s Wei in the North (stereotypically portrayed as a baddie in the movie). The battle of Red Cliff which followed went down as one of the pivotal moments in Chinese history.

I figured I’d now actually have enough contextual knowledge to understand and appreciate these awesome events in movie form,  and decided to reward myself by watching John Woo’s *historical* epic Red Cliff.

Of course, it was also a thinly veiled excuse to watch a load of attractive Asian men beat the crap out of eachother.

Although it didn’t stop me from loving the film, at first I thought my Western brain was going to drown under the multitudes of Chinese characters. Frequent referal to the plot synopsis on Wikipedia kept me on top of the storyline, but even then I gave up trying to classify secondary characters as anything more than ‘good’, ‘evil’ or ‘irritating love interest’.

Guess which category she falls into.

In fact, it proved far more fun to interpret everything as a tragic love triangle between Sun Quan and the viceroy Zhou Yu who were clearly vying for the attentions of Liu Bei’s lead strategist Zhuge Liang. This wasn’t difficult, as they kept exchanging heavy, intense gazes to the strains of suspiciously romantic sounding music. Not to mention the ten minute scene where they do nothing other than play zithers and stare longingly at eachother in the candlelight. 😉

Unrequited sexual tension…

As far as seriously epic fight scenes go, this film is a must – it was pretty awe-inspiring. As well as a gutsy heroine for me to cheer on, there was even an ancient chinese equivalent of Gimli, ie. short, hairy, growls a lot and kicks arse.

It still only counts as one!

All the men in the film seemed to possess god like powers of awesomeness. There’s this one scene where a dude goes full on Bruce Lee and takes out a whole contingent of soldiers with this one pole, all the while with a new born baby strapped to his back. On top of this, they all have these brilliant top knots which stay absolutely perfectly coiffed no matter how many bloody battle scenes they power through.

Oh, and though she doesn’t appear in this film, guess who else is supposed to have been riding around China kicking butt at this point in history?

Awwww yeah! Only in ancient china, my friends.

🙂

‘Do you think me handsome?’ No, and neither does my invisible pet moose – a Review of Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre

In one word, this film was brilliant. In another word… Magneto. ;D

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Love me, Jane, damn you! Love me or I’ll… I’ll lock you in the attic with Bertha!

Ahem… *puts on serious reviewer face*

I know I’m here to talk about the movie, but I have to say a little about the wonderful book it’s based on, or I’ll bust.

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I reckon this poster sums up the simplicity and raw beauty of the movie perfectly.

Let’s get this down flat: I absolutely adore Jane Eyre. I was astonished to discover this while reading the complete and unabridged version of the book. I didn’t think I’d like it, because it is:

1) incredibly long 

2) primarily a romance, and I have an irrational fear of romance novels. (Consider me scarred by Mills and Boon.)

3) it seems to float around in the same literary circle as certain other books I really don’t like… naming no names. Ahemprideandprejudiceahemwutheringheightsahem.

Suffice it to say that it had me utterly gripped from start to finish. It is probably my favourite of all the classic novels I’ve ever read… and in my humble opinion definately trumps *by a zillion miles* the other two of what I like to call ‘The Big Three’ of period romance. You have two guesses.

Literary politics aside, I’m here to review the film, not the book. So I’m going to try really hard not to compare the two, though my expectations for this film were high because of the brilliant reviews, wonderful cast (Judie Dench, Sally Hawkins, Jamie Bell), and the fact that it’s apparently one of the most faithful adaptations ever made.

I was actually lucky enough to go see this on a starry night in the grounds of Sudbury Hall.

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It definitely added to the atmosphere, let me tell you!

My first thought was, hold on a minute, surely Mia Wasikowska’s too pretty to be Jane? And Fassbender? Seriously? Isn’t he just massively too a teensy bit too handsome to play Rochester?

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Casting director: Yeah, but, this is HOLLYWOOD…where EVERYONE is pretty.

I mean, come on, everyone knows that Jane Eyre is supposed to be plain, and that Mr Rochester isn’t supposed to be handsome in the slightest. Can’t they even get that right? Honestly, at least in the BBC adaptation I’ve seen of Jane Eyre, they got it right and found some really unnapealing lead actors…

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…OH, WAIT…

(I watched in anticipation of what they would do to ‘uglyfy’ the leads. They gave Wasikowska a terrible hair cut and some boring dresses, and Fassbender just got a terrible haircut.)

The reason this movie was so brilliant was that it was all about supressed emotions. This was partly down to the wonderful acting and dialogue, and partly down to the skilled camerawork. This movie wasn’t just a fun movie to watch; it was fantastically well made. The understated shots of the bleak, barren moors, the subdued colours, the long periods of no dialogue, Jane’s silent tears, they all added to the undercurrents of passion which simmered just beneath the surface of the entire film.

As it turned out, my sister and I were so engrossed that we actually forgot our plan to start humming the dubstep part of the X-men First Class theme when Mr Rochester came on.

So, now for the characters in the film – I can honestly say that all the lead parts were brilliant.

I utterly adored Jane – while she seemed quite and demure, this disguises an intelligence and wit. Jane is a woman of incredibly strong will, the 19th century version of a bad ass herione. Though she’s trapped in the role of a governess, she longs to be independent, free and strong. She says as much, and the expression of her face as she watches Mr Rochester march around his house, doing what the heck he likes like the Boss that he is, is one of pure envy. Her performance is understated yet she conveyed huge amounts of emotion – she was brilliant. There were moments, such as the death of Helen, and when she takes off her wedding dress, that I was crying along with her.

Mr Rochester was suitably brooding for most of the film, though this isn’t really his fault, because he has a mad wife in the attic. Normally, this would annoy me, but there was something touching and sensitive about the way he and Jane interacted, and I really empathised with him. He’s a douche for trying to marry Jane while he’s still, er, in a relationship on Facebook, and he was cruelly standoffish around her when Blanche turned up, but I genuinly rooted for him and Jane. You could tell he really cared underneath his mardy exerior, and this was entirely due to the quality of Fassbender’s acting.

Jamie Bell as Sinjin was brilliant – Sinjin is an utter twit for throwing a way his chance of happiness with the girl he loves, and Bell portrayed this extremely well with his stilted speech, and his awkwardness around Jane. There was also a lot of fire there I wasn’t expecting, when she decides to return to Thornfield, he loses his cool and it’s absolutely terrifying – it was also the most explosive display of emotion in the entire film. Though for a moment this meant it didn’t feel quite right with me, it brought again to light the huge contrast between what the characters are saying, and their tortured feelings behind.

Judi Dench’s matronly housekeeper actually provided a bit of comic relief in the film, she was warm and becomes almost a mother figure to Jane. Though she keeps herself apart from the relationship between the governess and her master, she can’t help but worry for the safety of both parties involved. Romy Settbon More’s Adele was spoilt, charming and completely disarming, and Sally Hawkin’s Aunt Reed was subtely and bizarrely scary, hiding an evil stepmother behind the mask of a beautiful lady. The child actors in the film were also extremely affecting, most notably Jane’s friend Helen, who stole the few scenes she appeared in.

 

Now for the romance:

Mr Rochester meets his match in Jane, who refuses to be sidelined or patronised, and as their relationship slowly progresses from guarded insults, to amusing and touching banter, and finally to love, you can’t help rooting for them. They make a wonderful couple – they understand eachother down to their very souls and complement, or even complete, eachother. Yes, that was over the top, but allow me this one moment of melodrama. 😉

They don’t get off to the best start, it has to be said.

‘Do you think me handsome?’ Rochester asks.

‘No,’ Jane replies.

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Not only this hippo, but every alive member of the audience, begged to differ.

It  was their exchanges like these that drew me to both the characters, and got me caught up in the romance. Ah, here was another thing Rochester said I couldn’t help snorting at:

‘I know that I am no more handsome than you are beautiful…’ he says.

SORRY didn’t quite catch you there Mr Rochester… I was distracted by the herd of flying pigs going past the window…

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Trolololol

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olololol

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olololol!

Anyroad, moving swiftly onwards…

Now, this is the part where I digress wildly and start taking the mick in earnest! 😀

Mr Rochester’s Beard and other Hairy Scarys

I wondered how they were going to ‘injure’ Mr Rochester after the fire, as in the book he gets him arm all withered. However, chopping the limbs off Hollywood’s current golden boy must not be allowed, because what they went for was this:

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On anyone else, I would have been laughing my head off at this delightful aquisition to their facial hair. Inexplicably however, Fassbender pulled it off. Though I couldn’t help thinking that his final kiss with Jane must have been horrendously prickly. All that beard. Urgh.

I also just have to draw attention to Blance Ingram because really, what on earth was wrong with her hair? Not to mention clothes…

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This isn’t what it looks like, Jane… Honest! Even though I’m only holding a feather…

I’m taking this opportunity to bitch about Blance, because she made some horrible catty remarks about my lovely Jane. Therefore it is my solemn duty to humiliate her to her fictional grave.

I was also mildly disappointed by Jane’s wedding get up.

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I guess it was on purpose, to make her seem young and out of place – and I’ve no idea what weddings really looked like at that time – but still, I’d been hoping she’d let her hair down.

A Few Random Cameos

One of Britain’s rising young talents, someone who after years I still only know as ‘Robin from Young Dracula’, entered the film as John Reed, to be promptly beaten up by mini-Jane. Oh wait, his name is Craig Roberts.

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One of Sinjin’s sisters is Holliday Grainger, someone I’m fairly confident I recognise from the (thankfully short-lived) ITV show ‘Demons’. She was also in Merlin, Robin Hood and an ancient episode of MIHigh – the BBC like to recycle actors. 😉

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The reason I’ve put in this little random section is, I admit, purely an excuse to fangirl…

Imagine my internal squeals of joy, when half way through the movie none other than Harry Lloyd turned up! In fact you don’t need to imagine them; here they are: Squeeee!

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His photo is extra big…because of reasons.

He played the mad wife’s brother – you know, the one who ruins Jane and Rochester’s happiness, and fulfils my life’s ambition to run down an aisle at a wedding yelling ‘I object!’ Well, he doesn’t quite do that, but it has the same effect.

So what if he only had three scenes, for one of which he was drooling on a bed with a big chunk having been bitten out of his chest by vampire-Bertha. Maybe you’ll understand my excitement if I tell you there’s been a poster of him on my wall since I was fourteen. That’s right, Game of Thrones fans, yours truly here saw him FIRST. 😛

Random Harry Lloyd trivia: he’s descended from Charles Dickens, and he went to Eton, yes, James Bond and top hats Eton. As did, coincidentally, Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne.

Eton, it appears, is the place to be if you wish to become an actor nowadays. I bet there’s a Posh Eton Actors club somewhere…! That must be so epic: Harry will be trying to take over the world in a silver wig, while Eddie blubs into camera close ups of his face, and Tom runs around playing pranks on everyone yelling ‘LOKI’D!’

I’m going to find it…and stalk it…. eheheheh.

>:D

And on that exceedingly immature note… I end this review. ;D What did you think of this version of Jane Eyre? Was it worthy of the novel – or did you hate the novel? Whatever you think I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Mullets, mead, and a merry dose of swashbuckling – a Recap and Review of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

‘One more Snape joke, Locksley, and I swear I’ll rip your heart out with a spoon!’

Before watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the only other adaptations I’ve seen of the classic legend are the BBC TV show…and the Disney animation, which probably doesn’t count.

What I’m trying to say is, I had no idea what to expect, and as it turned out, I absolutely loved it!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are about a thousand things wrong with this film.

Laughable historical inaccuracies abound, most notably the Celts (what a long haul that must have been from Scotland…and five hundred years in the past!!), the trebuchets which somehow are dragged through the forest, Azeem’s telescope, the gunpowder, the guards who all wear full chain mail 24/7, and the outlaws incredible ability to get together all the metal and equipment to forge dozens of steel swords while living in the middle of a forest. I could go on. There is also a gut wrenchingly terrible geographical FAILURE of EPIC PROPORTIONS…more on that later.

However, the film’s utterly shameless errors actually add to its air of slightly ridiculous fun. Despite the epic score and the big budget effects, the film never quite takes itself seriously – and this is what saves it from being completely embarrassing, and instead keeps it hilariously enjoyable.

The only thing that grated for me, as not only an English woman, but a girl who actually lives less than thirty miles from Sherwood itself…was Kevin Costner’s American accent.

Kill me now!

I mean, seriously! How difficult is it to use an English accent? At least Christian Slater attempted to put one on, dodgy as it was. Look at it like this: if a film was made about the American War of Independence, starring George Washington with an English accent…there’d be uproar! So for the love of God, PLEASE no more American Robin Hoods! (So far, thankfully, this has been the case, I breathed a huge sigh of relief on discovering Russell Crowe was leading the 2010 film.)

This, combined with his rather soft, highly pitched voice and that GORGEOUS mullet of his, was the only thing that ever so slightly detracted from my enjoyment of the film. Other than that, it was an all round barrel of laughs…even if not quite all of them were intentional.

Mini Recap of Doom!

(Or at least it was supposed to be mini…it’s actually very long.)

The main theme kicked in and I was delighted to discover that somehow it was not only totally epic, but completely familiar, and I already knew it off by heart, and loved it. If Chuck Norris goes to the toilet to Ennio Morricone’s ‘Ecstasy of Gold’, this is the music that Chuck Norris plays while brushing his teeth.

Imagine my sheer joy as the opening credits rolled and I saw that no other than MORGAN FREEMAN was in it!

The film opens with Robin and his friend Peter captured on a crusade. At this point they were all so hairy it was difficult to understand what was actually happening.

‘Hold on a medieval second…are you Robin Hood, or am I?’

Robin escapes with his friend Peter and the help of Azeem, ie. Mr Freeman, who Robin has set free. Then Peter is stabbed, and sacrifices himself to buy them time, not before entrusting his ring to Robin and making him promise to care for his sister Marian. N’awww!

Well at least I won’t have to worry about telling them apart any more…

Azeem swears to follow Robin until he can repay him by saving his life.

We then cut to Robin’s dad, Lord Locksley, back home in England in a manor. He is then surrounded by Nottingham and what looks like the Ku Klux Klan, minus the pointy hoods. Instead of staying indoors and ignoring them, he rides out into their midst and gets himself killed. What a moron!

Nottingham & Co…religiously hating on you since 1200 AD!

Nottingham smirks…and the Ku Klux Klan vanish, not to be seen or heard from for the rest of the film.

Ironically, four months later, Robin and Azeem wash up on the shore at Dover, Robin sporting his trusty mullet. Robin is so happy to be home he starts eating dirt.

OM NOM NOM ENGLISH SOIL

And for some reason the people on the boat attempt to attack Azeem, who pwns them.
“We’ll be at my father’s by nightfall!” says Robin.

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA! Hold on RIGHT there!
You, my friend, are in Dover. You have no horse, or any means of transport other than your feet. Your dad lives in bloody NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, and you expect to be there by NIGHTFALL?!

OH NO YOU DI-DN’T!

DISTANCE IN BETWEEN:

170 MILES, ie. 273.5 KILOMETERS, MORONS!

Maybe if the people making this film had taken a SECOND to educate them selves even the faintest freaking bit about the country their damn movie is SET IN, someone other than ME would have noticed this PATHETIC FAILURE, and corrected it.

You know what Robin? I dare you. I DARE you to run to Nottingham in a day! You better start getting a flipping move on!

Now having successfully vented my anger by bashing my head against the wall, I will continue.

As it turns out, they both seem to be able to fly, or run at super-speed, and somehow make it to Nottinghamshire (which looks suspiciously like the Lake District) before nightfall. WHATEVERRRR!

Azeem complains about the British weather.

‘Is there no sun in this cursed country?’

Of course there’s sun. Every three months, on alternate Sundays.

Suddenly, a whole bunch of chain mail clad soldiers on horses and braying wolf hounds leg it over a hill, headed by a suitably evil and greasy looking Guy of Gisborne, in hot pursuit of a heinous villain, who is a….small and rather adorable boy…

Look at his ickle face!

…LOSERS!

‘I’m not a loser! Nottingham values my input into his hair-care therapy sessions!’

The boy pegs it up a tree, and because clearly Gisborne has nothing better to do with his life than run over hill and dale after prepubescent boys, he decides to chop it down.

‘Come down little child…I have sweeties!’

Robin tells Gisborne on no uncertain terms to shove it, since it’s his land. Gisborne begins snarling at him in a voice so ridiculously and unintelligibly gravely it rivals Joe Walker’s Voldemort.

After Robin reveals who he is, Gisborne does the ‘well well well’ speech, giving him an extremely creepy stare, his head wobbling on his neck in a slightly deranged fashion.

COWER before the GOOGLY EYES OF DEATH!

Seriously, who could resist a face like that?

Robin lunges at Gizzy and knocks him off the horse. General fighting ensues. All the baddies run off, hooray, and Azeem casually wanders back from where he’s been praying to Mecca. Robin is not impressed, and demands what he was doing. ‘You whine like a mule, you’re still alive!’ says Azeem.

Gisborne storms through Nottingham castle and interrupts the Sheriff who was mid cuddle with a rather unfortunate girl. (Then again, I know several people who would disagree as to her being unfortunate…) ‘Who told you to cover up?’ he says, as she attempts to hide her modesty, before he smirks about Robin’s imminent distress when he realises what happened to poor dear daddykins.

‘For crying out loud, can a man not get laid in peace around here?’

(Sadly for him, interruptions at these crucial moments in his love life become a bit of a theme throughout the film, as we shall see…)

Robin and Azeem then continue to Locksley Manor, only to find that it is burnt down, and his father’s rotting corpse hangs in a cage. They do however recover Duncan the servant, who has been blinded.

‘Welcome home, son!’

‘Aaaaargh!’

Robin swears REVENGE!

Nottingham meanwhile, taking a break from ogling statues of himself (which have suspiciously smooth and un-deranged hair) goes down to chill with his random witch buddy in the cellar. She cracks what looks like an egg filled with blood, and prophesises DOOM for them ALL! (All of Team Le Evil, that is.) Sheriff plots to kill Robin and Azeem.

Robin decides to go hang with his childhood friend Marian. He isn’t too impressed at how she’s turned out.

Personally, I think they would make a stunning couple.

Robin is then attacked from behind by an armed masked figure. Gasp! When said figure gives a stupidly high pitched squeak, it is revealed that THIS is Marian!

Marian then knees him in the balls.

‘So sorry about that…I thought you were Gisborne! I thought I was doing the world a favour by making him infertile.’

Robin gives her back Peter’s ring, and she gives him the cold shoulder, while he hits on her profusely. Eventually she decides he may not be an all-consuming jerkass, but then Gisborne attacks and Marian has to cover for him and Azeem by pretending they came to steal her horses. Robin promptly smacks her on the bum, and steals her horses.

Epic cross-country chase scenes ensue, until they come to Sherwood Forest, which is apparently haunted! Whoooooo scary!

Robin, Duncan and Azeem decide to risk ghosts rather than a beheading at the hands of Greasy Gizzy and his men, and so go into the forest.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

They come to a river, and one of my favourite scenes. Robin wades in to ensure it’s fordable, and is promptly tripped up on a long rope. A mysterious voice sings a cheeky song to the tune of ‘Pop goes the weasel’ from the trees which I just KNOW will be stuck in my head for weeks. Follow this link to here it…and don’t forget to check out the themetune!

The voice is revealed to be the outlaw, Will Scarlet. Said outlaw is also HOT.

Well helLO there, Mr Scarlet… I’d give you my number…if I thought you could count!

(Bandit? Check. Fingerless gloves? Check. Leather bracelets? Check. Weird spotty trousers? Check. General air of badassery and devil-may-care attitude? Check. Future husband? CHECK… cue excess fangirling!)

ANYWAY…

Little John then marches out of the trees and challenges Robin (who’s hair is now mysteriously dry) to a battle of the bows (ie. staffs, for those of you uninitiated into the world of archaic weaponry lingo) in return for free passage across the river.

Robin is royally pwned until he gets John between the legs, and John splashes about in the water shrieking that he can’t swim. He’s so impressed with Robin’s ‘balls of steel’ that he invites him back to drink mead at his forest pad with the rest of the merry men. The cute kid from before turns out to be John’s son, Wulf. Robin voices ideas of them all rebelling against the Sheriff. For some reason yet to be revealed, Will storms off in a sulk. ‘He’s full of piss and wind,’ says John.

Really? I’d say he was full of sexgoddery myself…

Meanwhile…what with being evil and all, the Sheriff mumbles his amen in a suspiciously un-Christian-like manner, and leers alarmingly at Marian, during a church service led by a rather rotund Bishop.

‘Who ate all the pies? I ATE ALL THE PIES! And the holy bread, and drank the communion wine to boot!’

Robin sneeks up on Marian disguised as a beggar. She tells him there’s a price on his head, and that the Sheriff has evil ambitions. NO D’UH! She then tells him to do her a favour and take a bath. LOL!

The Sheriff sidles up and tells Marian that she should live inside the castle walls so he can attend to her every need *snickers*.

Robin reveals himself to Bishop Fatness in his private chambers, and kisses his hand in a most seductive manner…and then the Sheriff walks in and it’s all a little bit awkward.

Robin jumps forward and gives him a nice little cut across the cheek, then pulls back for fear of full on killing him and ending the movie too early. Gizzy barges in to attend to his master, and the guards helpfully wait until Robin has already escaped through the roof to start firing arrows at him.

Robin returns to the outlaw’s camp and tells Little John that he plans to lead them against the Sheriff. Dun dun duuunnn!

The Sheriff, meanwhile, explains to Gizzy how he plans to remove Robin’s head with a spoon, because it’s dull and it’ll hurt more. ‘Oh,’ says Gizzy. ‘We must create a name for him…Locksley the Lethal, or Reeking Robin.’

‘I really don’t give a crap what you call him, as long as you goddamn KILL him!’

We then cut to nasty, nasty guards running around with swords, kidnapping livestock, and generally terrorising the peasantry. For an amusing few seconds, we see things from the POV of a fleeing goat.

‘Baah! Baaah! Onwards, my fellow herbivores! Onwards to FREEDOM!’

All the peasants wind up in Camp Outlaw, and Robin tells them to fight back again. Will, not entirely stupidly, suggest turning him in since they’ll get the bounty. They square off, and Will draws his dagger. Robin then fires an arrow through Will’s hand, the jerk. Will, being Will, somehow manages to make this look extremely sexy.

‘You’re just jealous because I’m the best looking outlaw!’

Will runs off in a very pathetic manner, but then again he had just had an arrow put through his hand, and I would like to point out he didn’t even make a sound.

Robin gives a moving, inspirational and heart-warming speech about how they need to fight back against all this pillaging.

‘Basically, what I’m trying to say is…LET’S GO KICK SOME SHERIFF ARSE!’

They all cheer, and we then here some inspiring music as peasants run around with chickens and make swords and arrows, and missing targets by miles.

Meanwhile, Team Le Evil are, shall we say, pissed off. To make himself feel better, the Sheriff orders a proclamation.

You know, that’d be a really good proclamation…IF MEDIEVAL PEASANTS COULD ACTUALLY READ, MORONS!

More epic music montages, only this time the peasants have significantly improved at archery. More scenes involving beating guards, stealing money, and flinging out food to the adoring public. At one point Hood relieves a lady (wait, isn’t that the girl Nottingham was feeling up at the beginning of the film?) of her jewellery, giving her a dose of the roguish smoulder for good measure. She appears thoroughly charmed, though it may just have been that she was distracted by the mullet.

If I was her, I’d be riding through the forest every damn day in the hope of getting my carriage stood up by outlaws…preferably Will.

Five months later, and in another of my fave scenes, the Sheriff’s wound still hasn’t healed. CHRONOLOGY FAILURE! He is also no less pissed. He throws a goblet at his scribe and storms out of the room yelling ‘no more merciful beheadings’ and that he’s going to ‘call off Christmas.’

Why, the callous bastard.

He scrubs desperately at his scar which someone (probably Gizzy) has drawn on to his statue for jokes.

‘And put five hundred on the head of whoever did this!’

He then turns to some lounging servant girls and yells, ‘You, my room, 10:30 tonight. You, 10:45…bring a friend.’

Another carriage train rolls through the forest, headed by Gizzy and an extremely jolly and extremely drunk Friar Tuck. As per usual they are all beaten up and hidden under piles of leaves, and all the gold nicked, with no outlaw casualties, and Gizzy scratches his greasy head as to where they could possibly have gone.

Not before, however, the Friar attempts to escape with the carriage…he would have made it too, if it hadn’t been for an unfortunately low hanging branch. He then agrees to join the merry men.

Back at the ranch Nottingham Castle, Gizzy breaks the tragic news of his failure…and then breaks down in the Sheriff’s arms.

‘Don’t worry my Gizzy-Wizzypoo, you will always be my favourite minion…

…NOT! That was one blunder too many, you brainless buffoon!’

The Sheriff then stabs Gizzy.

‘Well, at least I didn’t use a spoon,’ he helpfully points out.

Gizzy bleeds to death on the floor, sadness. Poor lickle Gizzy.

Back at camp outlaw, Duncan and Much hold up two women…who turn out to be Marian and Sarah. Marian has a squeaking fit and demands to be brought to Robin at once. She storms through the forest to much protesting from the comic duo, only to stumble upon a rock pool…in which Robin is bathing…

…naked.

This was the only part of the film I found difficult to watch, simply because of how awkward it is. Sorry Kevin, but I did NOT sign up to this to see you in you birthday suit!

I looked away, however not quite quick enough to not notice the amusing tan line on his bum.

Marian, however, has no such qualms, and stares at him, wide eyed, for a creepily long period of time. Then again, it could just have been the mullet. Then again, she is a Maid…so she probably doesn’t get much action in the way of naked men…heh heh heh.

‘Oh…so THAT’S what it looks like…’

Once Robin has found his clothes (thankfully) they had back to Camp Outlaw and Robin tries to show off with a bow and arrow. Marian blows in his ear and he misses by a squillion miles, despite before nailing distant trees without problem. (We got an amusing POV of the arrow as it flies through the forest like neeeeeeaaaaaaw.)

Fanny, Lil’ John’s wife then has pregnancy trouble. Azeem gives her a caesarean and John runs out into the forest, baby held over his head, like ‘MY SON! MY SON!’ I winced inwardly in preparation for the baby dropping I was sure was about to happen. If I was Fanny I’d be like GET the HELL back in here with our NEW CHILD, moron! Thankfully, no-one dropped the baby…or at least not on screen anyway.

Robin and Marian flirt like the end of the world is nigh, and then all the outlaws have a rave. Will tries to dance with Robin, but Robin jumps in like ‘THIS LADY IS ALREADY SPOKEN FOR, BIATCH!’ Sucks to be Will. DON’T WORRY WILL, I’LL DANCE WITH YOU!

Next day, Marian promises to write to useless King Richard and tell him that Nottingham is paying the Barons to revolt against him. Then, she KISSES him! Everybody saw AWWWW

‘Here’s a big kissy wissy for my lovely jubbly Robiny-poo, no go be a big boy and stab the Sheriff, for gawd’s sake.’

Robin gazes after her, misty eyed. AWWWWWW

Meanwhile, Sheriff confers again with creepy witch lady. ‘Am I thwarted?’ he asks. Witch does some horrible spit-reading prophesying and scrapes her fingernail on a plate in a way I couldn’t bear to watch. She then tells him to hire a load of Scottish Celts to kill Hood. ‘Brilliant,’ he says.

Yes, brilliant, it’s only going to take you several years to send up messengers to Scotland and back, organise the Celts, and somehow march them all the way back down to Nottingham, AND pay them for it with your coffers which you told us three scenes ago were EMPTY.

D’OH!

She then tells him to marry into royal blood. Hmm, who do we know who’s young, pretty, and related to King Richard?

Oh yeah, MARIAN! Sorry Marian, looks like you’re gonna have to marry the Sherriff…

‘Bwa haha haa haaaaaaa!’

Marian writes to King Richard and entrusts the letter to her maid Sarah, and the Bishop’s best man. However, my suspicions about the Bishop’s motives are proved correct when his man beats up Sarah and nicks the letter! Chances are, the Sherriff bribed the Bishop with doughnuts.

Marian is KIDNAPPED!

Back at Camp Outlaw, Duncan rides in and reveals that Robin’s true love has been stolen away by a certain slimy potions master.

Then, the camp is attacked by Celts!

Is it just me or does this one look like the Joker?

Well they sure as heck made it down from Scotland quickly. Maybe they flew, like Azeem and Robin at the beginning of the film?

D:<

For some reason Robin starts emptying chests of money on the ground. Is this to distract the Celts, or is it just because he is a retard? I have no idea.

The outlaws flee up the trees into their little tree houses, and the Celts basically get pwned. Yay! BUT THEN: Nottingham’s guards fire flaming arrows at everybody and the camp BURNS!

NOOOOOooooOOOoooOoOooo!! Bad, BAD Sherriff!

A whole bunch of outlaws, including Wulf and Will, are captured. Fanny is stuck at one end of a burning bridge with the baby. Never fear, Fanny, small children never die in movies. John and Robin save her (obviously) but the bridge has broken and Robin must swing back over on a rope.

The rope, however, is on fire, and snaps…and Robin falls into the gloom!

‘Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhggggggggghhh!’

I for one have no sympathy, if he’d come across straight away instead of sitting around yelling ‘Save yourselves! Don’t wait for me!’ he would have been totally fine.

We don’t see where his body lands, just his necklace in the dirt. GASP! Is Robin…DEAD?

I now interrupt with a tribute to TomSka, who I have met, btw, what with being awesome and all.

Does your camp have rope swings?

Are those rope swings ON FIRE?

BORING ROPE SWING

Anyway.

The Sherriff interrogates his captives, and Will offers himself (NOT LIKE THAT) to become a spy…get close to Robin…then STAB HIM!

‘No! Traitor!’ yells cute little Wulf. Don’t worry, there’s no way Will’s gonna be actually evil…is there?

Meanwhile Robin and Co are burying their dead, there aren’t many, just poor old Duncan and a few others.

Will then emerges from the mist…

‘Hello everybody…I’M BACK!’

…and John starts to beat him up, thinking he’s a traitor…which he technically is, OR IS HE?

They find the scars of whipping on him and decide to let him talk. He yells at Robin, asking him whether he’s going to see things through or behave like the ‘spoilt little rich boy I always took him for.’

‘Why do you hate me?’ Robin blubs.

Will reveals to Robin that he is in fact his BROTHER!

A brotherly-bonding sob fest ensues, and Will decides to be a goody after all. Yay!

Then, Robin makes plans for the final showdown! Fanny wants to join in but John isn’t having it. ‘I’ve given birth to eight babies, don’t you talk to me about getting hurt, you big ox!’ You go, Fanny!

They all go to the castle in disguise to save the men, Robin rubbing horse poo on himself to ensure the guards keep a distance. Duncan is disguised as a Celt. Fanny climbs up a wall and drops swords down to outlaws who casually wander by below (subtle plan, Robin, subtle.) Tuck, and Azeem, dressed as a leper (ie wrapped in a sheet) put barrels of gunpowder everywhere. A guard tells them to shove of, and Azeem says ‘Oh is that your finger there? You’re dropping bits of your body all over the place!’

Then, the prisoners are marched out and have the hemp nooses put around their necks. Unfortunately, on the way out, Wulf sees Will in the crowd, and believing him still to be a traitor, jumps on him.

No you moron, don’t pickpocket him, he’s on your side!

Will is dragged to the front where he’s basically extremely amusing and flippant to the Sherriff. Alan, somehow impervious to his charm, decides to have him executed as well, but there is no rope. ‘Sorry, but I’ll have to decline!’ laughs Will. The Sherriff still isn’t impressed and he is tied to a barrel. Oh no! This means Azeem can no longer start the plan by blowing up that barrel! (Well, he could…but he’d take Will’s head off too…)

D: this wide shot is not only tragic, but an utter failure…as the barrel on the left mysteriously NO LONGER has Will tied to it! Gasp! Where’d he go?

From above, the Sherriff watches with Marian…who is soon to be his bride, that very day! Marian, believing Robin to be dead, is feeling more than a little miserable, but wears his necklace as a token of her undying lurve.

All of the captives look stoic and tragic (and one of them, adorable) as they prepare for their jigging death.

Noooo! Don’t hang him! He’s too adorable!

All the men are hung.

Fortunately, none of their necks break and they all swing, kicking wildly. There is nothing for it: Robin fires an arrow straight through Wulf’s rope!

Crowd: GASP

Marian: OMG MY LOVE LIVES

Sherriff: Oh for god’s sake…

Marian then screams ‘Robin’ so pointlessly and shrilly I think several windows smashed, the pathetic moron. Azeem starts firing flaming arrows at the other barrels, and general chaos and fighting ensues.

KA BLAMMO

The executioner raises his sword over Will…

Nyyeeaaahhhhhh!!!

In a moment of epicness and slo mo, Robin fires a burning arrow straight through the executioner’s forehead.

NO ONE MESSES WITH MY LIL’ BRO, BIATCH

John knocks over all the gallows and frees the other captives. Azeem commands the fleeing people to fight, and the useless guards are beaten up left right and centre. But up above the Sherriff grabs Marian, and drags her screaming into the castle to marry her!

He pulls her into a room with Bishop Fatness and the witch grabs her by the stomach and says ‘She is ripe!’ What, is she a fruit or something?         ! The Sherriff screams that he will NOT have sex with her on the floor in the tower…(phew)

….not until they’ve been married, anyway. Sozza, Marian.

Marian is shrieking and generally being useless because if she’d really wanted to escape, all she’d have to do would be kick him in the goolies.

Will uses a trebuchet to catapult Azeem and Robin over the walls of the castle.

I believe I can fly….

‘F*ck me, they cleared it!’ Will says, in a surprisingly unsuitable moment in an as-yet child friendly film.

They land in a pile of hay and two chickens bounce amusingly into the air, squawking.

*bounce* SQUAWK!

Meanwhile: ‘Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?’ Marian is about to scream ‘NO’ when the Sherriff claps a hand over her mouth and says ‘Of course she does.’

The Sherriff  has Marian down on the ground but unfortunately is so inefficient at taking his clothes off that the consummation looks a long way off from happening. The Bishop, unfortunately, is stumbling over his lines as he is getting very distracted as Robin and Azeem are outside beating the door down with the Sherriff’s statue. This doesn’t work, so Robin decides to look for another way in.

Meanwhile, Azeem is attacked by the witch.

‘Arrrgh! What the hell is that small, demented wrinkly thing?!’

He runs her through with her own pike.

Robin has, by suspiciously lucky coincidence, found a very handy and very VERY long flag on the top of the tower. He swings down off it, as you do.

‘Gerominoooooo!’

And he crashes through the window.

‘Oh for god’s sake. Will everyone just STOP interrupting my sexytime already??!!’

‘So Locksley, what is it now? I assume you want me to reinstate Christmas, or something else equally pathetic?’

The Bishop legs it, and tries to steal all the money. He is found by Tuck, who pushes him out the window, making lovely Bishop flavoured jam on the cobbles below.

Splat!

Robin and the Sherriff are dancing around waving swords at eachother and flinging insults, while Marian ‘helps’ by standing around and screaming. Robin vaults over a table and manages to cut off some of the Sherriff’s hair.

‘Die, Sherriff!’

‘Die, Locksley!’

The Sherriff is pushed back into a window frame where Marian cowers, and takes the opportunity to snog her. She retaliates by pressing a candle flame into his moob. Owsies.

Then, the Sherriff gets the upper hand, and gets Robin down and unarmed, sword at his throat. Since Marian is pathetic, we can’t expect her to help. Is this the end for our dashing mullet wearing hero?

‘Hey Sherriff, that’s an unusually long sword you’ve got there. Are you sure it isn’t compensating for something?’

But then…Robin pulls out a dagger AND STABS THE SHERRIFF IN THE CHEST!!

‘Well, crap.’

He then staggers around for a long time, before collapsing on the ground, and dying.

Nooooo!

Robin and Marion run to each other’s arms, and eat each other’s faces.

OM NOM NOM DE NOM

In a Hollywood ending of EPIC proportions, NO-ONE has died, and EVERYONE except the Sherriff and the executioner lives happily ever after. Well, how sweet.

Robin and Marion get married! N’awwww!

I have to admit, they look very cute. Robin even seems to have given his mullet a brush.

Brian Blessed then turns up for about two seconds in a cameo as the money-wasting useless general around failure King, who has popped back randomly from one of his lovely little unjust pointless wasteful economically crippling Crusades, just so he can give away the bride.

‘You do realise you peasant lot are only starving cos I spent all the country’s money murdering Muslims and attacking Jerusalem? Never mind!’

I quite liked the random bit of breaking the fourth wall at the end, when Tuck tells the audience to basically get lost, so the outlaws, peasants, happy couple, and possibly also the King, can go party in the forest and get drunk…and laid…

Don’t mind us, Friar! We’ll fudge right off, don’t you worry.

Though we never did get to see the proof of David of Doncaster’s manhood, I’m sure we’ll all survive…

‘It’s because I’m so LONG!’ Er, no thank you David…

Heh heh heh… >:D

Well, that was the longest recap ever…

Cast and Characters

Sadly, the film is let down a little by its two leads…(or one of them, anyway…)

…but fortunately has an incredible array of secondary characters that keep the whole thing going. On the other hand, it could just be that these characters were so awesome they outshone the hero and heroine.

The Mullet Man Himself

Kevin Costner’s Robin is a lot more low key, and more believable, than a lot of stereotypically over the top portrayals of the outlaw in tights. His character was likeable, though I would like to have seen some stronger expressions of emotions from him – he seems pretty chilled all the way through, never shouting or properly losing it. The way he acted his character was quite understated and subtle, and though this worked well, it also meant that he wasn’t ever the most interesting, funny or badass character on screen at any point during the film.

I also didn’t see much in the way of convincing chemistry between him and Marion. He was convincing him self, but didn’t own the screen, and I didn’t find him particularly charismatic either. I’m sure many people would disagree, as he did have his moments of charm, but I struggled to see past the mullet – joke – though I’m not going to pretend that it didn’t significantly reduce the power of his occasional smoulder. It could have been improved by A) not having a US accent and B) not having a mullet, and I may sound like a moaning nitpicker, but I wasn’t too keen on his very soft voice either.

Costner definitely isn’t at all bad as Robin, but his performance wasn’t exactly earth shattering and the truth is he was outshined by many of the other characters.

He was not, however, outshined by Marian.

The Maid

YOU MAKE BUNNEH ANGRY

Oh, Marian. Oh dear oh dear. At first I thought her acting was good, and that she would make quite a feisty heroine. But then she started giving hugely over the top facial expressions to show emotions (e.g. the eye pop when she realises she’s kicked Robin where it hurts) and I began to find Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio very unconvincing. She didn’t feel like Maid Marian, she felt like someone trying to pretend to be Marian, and not quite succeeding.

I wasn’t pleased either that as the film kept on she became more and more useless; she doesn’t do anything to defy Nottingham or help the outlaws until Robin specifically instructs her to. Then in the final sequence she does absolutely nothing for 15 minutes except scream like an idiot. I hate wishy-washy heroines, and she became one, which is a shame because she had a lot of potential.

I was NOT a happy bunny with her character, or the way she was portrayed.

The Sherriff…

Frighteningly psychopathic, incredibly witty, darkly camp and utterly unexpectedly hilarious, I’m sure everyone who’s seen the film will agree with me that Alan Rickman’s Sherriff of Nottingham quite simply stole the show.

He has the vast majority of the best lines, and dances and whirls around the set in an explosion of delightfully twisted and diabolical villainy.

His portrayal was quite a surprise; I was expecting him to take the traditionally more dark, sinister and evil approach. While he was most certainly dark, sinister and evil, he also added a refreshing touch of humour, taking a spin on the character which was wonderful to watch. Not to mention his screaming fits ‘CLOSE THE GAAATTTTEESS!’ and his facial expressions.

One of my absolute favourite things about him was his sarcasm and dry sense of humour. Even when his evil schemes are falling apart around him, does he drop to his knees yelling ‘Nooo!’ No! He turns around slowly and casually, regards Robin with a scathing expression, one eyebrow raised, and rolls his eyes as if to say ‘Honestly, Locksley. What is it now?’

The Outlaw Crew and General Back up Cast

Greasy Gizzy

Gisborne got quite a lot of screen-time before he was killed off, which is good, because he was hilarious. I have no idea whether his ridiculous voice was put on as a joke, or whether Michael Wincott thought it genuinely made him sound scary and threatening – either way, I was almost crying with laughter. Not to mention his epic googly eyed stare that he kept doing in purposefully unattractive close ups. His character provided comic relief, and I loved how he was slightly stupid and in awe of the Sherriff, and he did also manage to be sinister, even if only because he was so damn weird.

Azeem

Sadly, I wasn’t as impressed with Morgan Freeman’s performance as I thought I would be. He was good, but he wasn’t that good, and I don’t really think his character was given a lot of opportunity to develop either. I sometimes got the impression that he was slightly useless, and wasn’t actually adding anything to the film until the moment came where he would have to save Robin’s life, and repay his debt. Having said that, he wasn’t bad at all, I was just disappointed as I was expecting him to be totally epic.

Little John and Fanny

Clichéd as their characters may be, I thought that Nick Brimble and Soo Drouet were absolutely pitch perfect – brilliantly likeable characters, John made a convincing leader and Fanny really kicked ass, in a Mrs Weasley sort of ‘I’ll bash you to death with a ladle’ sort of way. I can quite honestly imagine walking in on these two building a house in a forest somewhere, their characters totally jumped off the screen. It would have been good to see some more development though – they were both quite stereotypical, and going a little deeper into them could have been interesting. On the other hand, having them as the same old good reliable characters was a nice anchor throughout the film.

Will Scarlet

Will has always been a favourite of mine…thanks to this guy, the epical Harry Lloyd.

Anyway, back to THIS adaptation. There was one thing wrong with Christian Slater’s Will: the tragically small amount of screen time he got. He’d clearly put a lot of work into his character, and it seriously paid off – defiantly one of the best performances in the film, and also one of my personal favourites. (The fact that he is good looking is ENTIRELY beside the point…obviously.) But in all seriousness, he was brilliant. Extremely witty, charming and cocksure on the outside, there was a lot of interesting turmoil and torment going on beneath which came to a head near the end of the film, when he almost becomes a traitor.

Friar Tuck

One word: hilarious. Three more words: not enough screentime. I have never seen an interpretation of Tuck as drunk and fiery tempered as this one, and it worked wonderfully well. Micheal McShane took an unusual spin on the character and his interaction with Azeem and the religious tensions between them were great.

The Miscellaneous…

Duncan had a few witty lines, for example he starts complaining about Moors to Azeem’s face. He then asks (because he’s blind) ‘So are you Christian?’ Azeem leans right in and goes ‘Moorish.’ He jumps about a mile.

David and Much provided fantastic comic relief…for the two seconds they actually appeared. I mean, Jack Wild, people! Jack freaking WILD!

When I was seven, he was my future husband. Along with Tom Felton, of course.

Why, oh WHY was he not in it more?!

The Bishop did his job of looking like, well, a fat bishop. He also did a good impression of being incompetent and scared near the end when he was stuck in the tower trying to oversee a forced marriage.

The Witch: forgive if I’m a little confused as to what her purpose in the film actually was? I mean, seriously, why was she there, other than to give the Sherriff a chance to swoop around a room full of cobwebs? She didn’t tell him anything he couldn’t have figured out himself…well, it must just have been to add some colourful characters.

Sarah: she was a nice maidservant, I think it would have been amusing to see some romance for her, perhaps with Tuck or someone else totally random, like the nice ‘ugly’ sister in the Drew Barrymore Cinderella film. She goes to the ball dressed in a stupid outfit and finds true love with a man in a horse costume. It’s quite awesome.

The Ku Klux Klan buddies: there isn’t anything to say about this lot as they didn’t actually do anything or seem to have any purpose other than killing Robin’s dad. I mean, seriously, who actually were they anyway?

Wulf was suitably adept and standing around and looking like a cute kiddy, as for his acting talent, well, all I know is he has the puppy-dog eyes down to a T.

The Slightly-Squiffy Hair Crew

Is it just me or was this film an excuse to showcase an extravaganza of dodgy dos? And I’m not just talking about the infamous mullet here…

Now that is one sexy hair cut you have there, Mr Costner. Mind if I ask where you got it done…so I can personally murder the hairdresser?

During crucial moments, after Robin exerts himself, this has a tendency to go even more haywire:

‘This is my WET look. Marian, you like?’

This is just a sexiness overload RIIIIIIGGGHT here

Alan Rickman was also sporting a beautiful crown of slightly deranged curls…

‘Why yes, I DO use Pantene Pro V. How kind of you to notice!’

Oh, and what about Little John, king of the hairy cavemen? Not to mention his wife.

I appreciate that barber’s shops are difficult to come by in the forest, but really…

Gisborne’s ‘slicked at the top, straggly at the bottom’ look was a real turn on…

‘Hello small child. Why don’t you come and get on my nice white pony, and I’ll give you some sweeties…’

And let us not forget Marion’s afro!

‘Hey, I nicked 500 gold crowns from the Sheriff’s coffers to pay for this perm!’

The witch, of course, went for the generic ‘I have a bush on my head’ look.

Lady, I seriously hope that stuff is fake. Or you’re going to have a right royal pain in the ass trying to undo all that backcombing.

‘Quick! It’ll be me next! Let me put on this turban so she can’t see my hair and take the mick of that too…’

Now let us compare all that delightfully amusing hair it with someone who ACTUALLY knew what he was doing:


(I realise that ostensibly this may seem like I am fishing for excuses to post pictures my favourite outlaw. I assure you, this is not the case. This is in fact a mature and sensible…oh whatever.)

Heh heh heh.

Er, did you script this bit?

Here are a bunch of movie goofs I noticed, not including the dreaded American accent.

Did anyone else notice the rather lecherous wall hangings in the Sheriff’s tower? Behind Bishop Cupcake, the devil seems to be grabbing someone’s boobs…

‘In the name of the father…fast food…and the holy doughnut…’

Not forgetting of course, how though all the wide pans of Sherwood show a bunch of coniferous fir trees, when they go in the forest they suddenly all become deciduous. Magic?

As the Sheriff drags her up the tower, we are afforded a lovely view of Marian’s bum…

Well dayum, if I’d known THAT was gonna be included in the ticket price, I’d have gone to see it in the cinema!

There also seems to be an awful lot of dribbling in this film. Not only does Nottingham do the obligatory death-dribble when Robin stabs him in the chest…

‘Before I die, just let me dribble on you one last time…’

…while tying Will to a barrel, the executioner takes the opportunity to dribble on him too. See that lovely gobbet of spit just going past his face?

Then again…dribbling on Will is actually entirely understandable…

WELL, I think that’s quite enough rambling from me. This post has gone on for FAR too long.

I hope you enjoyed it, and tell me, what do YOU think of this lolworthy Hood adaptation?

But before I depart, let me leave you with one final photo, a personal favourite of mine…

…heh heh heh. >:D

Well, that’s all from me!  Toodle pip, tataa, so long and cheerio! 😀 😀 😀