Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 15 years later

15 years ago I saw Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and thought it was spectacular. I was still in high school and a lot of things I thought were “spectacular” back then are now either just “crap” or “eh”. Most of my friends also found Robin Hood to be as good as I thought it was back in 1991 so I wasn’t alone, but the question now: Does Robin Hood still hold its charm?

The short answer is no and yes. No because I now know the movie is not what you would call an amazing accomplishment from Hollywood, but yes because it still holds a lot of its charm as a humorous action adventure. Robin Hood still falls very short in terms of historical accuracy, lack of british accents from several characters (including Robin Hood himself), and is filled with ridiculous things like barrels of gun powder. Despite these issues the movie is still fun and much of that can be attributed to Alan Rickman, playing the Sherif of Nottingham. He sold his jokes well, and gave the audience an over the top (way way over the top) death scene that still makes me chuckle each time I think about it.

Kevin Costner playing Robin Hood was missing the appropriate accent but not the energy which almost makes up for it. The biggest hurdle for the viewer is his first line: “This is English courage!”. I’m guessing many groaned because his American accent scooped you up from foreign lands and dumped you into the middle of Generic Midwestville. Once I got over this first annoyance there were only a few more times the accent issue became noticeable again.

If Robin Hood was made in 2006 great pains would be taken to make sure accents were all correct, and historical accuracy would be one of the top priorities. We would also lose much of the humor, and there would be a team of lawyers just to make sure it was as politically correct as possible. All of this might result in an Oscar award winning movie, but it could just as likely end up being a box-office dud like Troy or Kingdom of Heaven. In the end I think we’re lucky Robin Hood ended up as a 90’s blockbuster action adventure rather than a 2006 epic. The movie lacks computer graphic effects so you see real castles worn away by hundreds of years of weather, large groups of sub-par acting extras, mediocre sword fights, and lots of bad makeup, but I will take those any day over the digitally pristine crap that seems to be the norm now.

In conclusion: Outrageous action adventures with campy, over-the-top bad guys, and main characters with the wrong accent are not always a bad thing.