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Longstride and the Attack of the Eye Creatures

Crap, I just remembered I went to see Robin Hood last week and I didn’t even write my thoughts on it! Man, I’m lazier than I thought, and I can’t even blame the cold on that one.

I had zero interest in seeing Robin Hood at first. There’s already been all kinds of film and television adaptations of the dude’s story, and learning about he and his merry men went about starting their stealing-from-the-rich gig didn’t exactly sound intriguing. It didn’t help that I was under the impression it was a continuation of the recent BBC show, which I only caught glimpses of and it looked rather cack. My brother and his wife went to see it, though, and they told me it wasn’t actually much of a Robin Hood story, and more along the lines of a semi-historical epic war film. Now that sounds like my cup of tea! I don’t know if I ever reviewed it, but I watched Kingdom of Heaven a couple of years ago and I loved it; it wasn’t until afterwards I learnt the two were both directed by Ridley Scott, but I suppose if I knew beforehand I would’ve been more tempted.

It’s been a week and my cold has really messed up my thought process, so I can barely remember a thing about the story. As far as I recall, Robin Longstride and a few yobbos are part of the British army but are condemned to death by pointing out that the king’s genocidal crusades are a bit assholish, but when the king dies in battle they’re freed by a friend and left to fend for themselves. The new king’s a whiny pillock with an eeeeevil henchman (he’s evil because he’s bald!) who eventually decides to do his own thing and make life miserable for everyone by pillaging villages and issuing taxes, and after a while even the king gets a bit sick of it. Then they all go and fight some Italians on a beach and the henchman gets an arrow through the neck. Maid Marion and Friar Tuck are involved, the former getting an attention-hogging love story with ol’ Rob, but quite frankly, the semi-historical war stuff was my main course and the Robin Hood lark was just a tub of gravy on the side.

With intelligently processed thoughts like this, maybe it was best I didn’t write anything beforehand.

My brother suggested calling the film Robin Hood was misaimed marketing, and they should’ve called it something else, like Longstride. I partly agree. Robin Hood’s a cool guy and all, but I’m quite happy with accepting the furry Disney version as the definitive adaptation (maybe that’ll change once I get around to watching those Robin of Sherwood video tapes) and I would hardly expect a new movie to add much to the mythos besides the now typical top-notch CGI effects, fancy pants camera work and more foreign actors attempting British accents. I had seen no trailers at all for the movie before I went to see it and thus had no reason to expect an epic war film, and, arguably, that’s what the film’s story is all about.

The focus still lies on Robin and his men (there’s an almost painfully long sequence of Robin pretending to be some dude’s son so he can learn more about his father, or something, but I was thinking throughout it “when can we get back to the political rumblings?”), and their input is very vital to the turn of events, but, well, it’s just Robin and his merry men. I was almost expecting the film to exclude Maid Marion so it would be mega accurate to the character’s original creation where she and Rob were from separate stories (sauce!), but nope, she’s in there, and there’s a lot of farting around with their first interactions, but we just know she’s going to join up with them anyway. I’ll be frank, none of Robin’s men actually interested me. I will admit Little John’s performed by a fantastic big guy, and Friar Tuck is surprisingly played by Mark Addy (Detective Grim’s sidekick from the second series of The Thin Blue Line!), but, well, it just didn’t interest me enough to distract me sufficiently from the war story. Mark Addy had a very fun take on the character, but I’d rather have seen him in a standalone Robin Hood flick than one that has to play second billing to a much more entertaining old-timey scuffle.

I keep referring to it as a war story, but I guess it’s more about political unrest. The film is over two hours long, and it spends the best time it can on both sides of the story, but there’s not actually a lot of action. I had no real quarrels with it; after all, one of my beefs with going to the cinema is that I’d rather see an interesting story than flashy visuals, which was precisely what bugged me about Avatar. My beef is that half of that time is spent with Robin faffing around and not really doing much interesting. It’s not bad when you’re watching it, but when you’re thinking back to it afterwards it’s just one long blur of him farting about with the old man and Maid Marion. Kingdom of Heaven, for instance, is over three hours long that it had a really gripping story and some beautiful action sequences (I actually got the director’s cut because it advertised extra siege action, but the extra story certainly didn’t hurt either), simply because it focused on the good stuff.

I suppose, in summary, Robin Hood is a film about mixed interests! You’ve gotta like the political unrest and you’ve gotta like larking about with mildly modernised takes on Robin and his gang (modernised meaning they’ve got the same behaviour you’d expect from a group of drunks on a Friday night), and I only really liked the former. Oh well! Still not a bad movie, and seriously, £3 for a ticket? Don’t mind if I do.

And keeping up with the doodle nonsense just to spice up that wall of text back there, I’ve had these two (among like a million other doodles I made at the workplace) sitting around for nearly two months.

I bet the eyeball guy is the kind of guy who thinks “eye see you” is a good pun. The lips guy looks too angry to describe himself as mouthy, thankfully.