How does this Robin Hood stand up to other versions?
Well, usually I have skipped Robin Hood in the past, since I have seen 1-2 versions and lost interest in the repeat of a classic. Something about this one, maybe it was the two lead actors that got me interested in seeing the movie, plus there really isn't much to watch this week, luckily for this movie. I think the marketing dept. chose an excellent time to release after the big hoopla around Bohemia Rhapsody and before another block buster. This movie is the 8th edition of Robin Hood. Many people think the original was released in 1938, but actually the first feature length was in 1913 in Germany.There was a short film in 1908 as well. Of course, I believe this is a popular play dating way back, so that was just the first film version. Basically, its remade about every 2 decades and then many versions since 1990s.
I think Robin Hood had a nice balance of an easy-going English Lord that gets swept up in the Crusades of the English King and the Sherrif of Nottingham. In this version, the hero is sent off to the Crusades, so you get a good character development from easy going lord, to hardened soldier fighting for Christianity to imbittered veteran turned vigilante. So the character arc is quite good in his character and he plays it well in all 3 roles.
I was wondering going in how they were going to make a Little John black to be honest. Having John actually being in the Crusades going head to head with Robin does kind of fit together nicely from a plot perspective and then having saved each other's lives led to them being in debt to each other. There is a good bit of character arc as well in his story, going from successful soldier, to invalid veteran to trainer of Robin Hood to take down Sherrif Nottingham.
The interesting part to Sheriff Nottingham, is he isn't the only villain and the church itself is behind much of the corruption of society fighting these religious battles in the Far East. So the Sheriff is playing off the townspeople against the Church and living up to gaining the possible crown of the England in the long term. His character has the least amount of character arc since we meet him when he is already in power, staying on top of the Crusades, pillaging the town to pay for it and keeping the Church at Bay. All in all, he is totally fearless despite having little soldiering past, so he lives up to the hard ass Sheriff we all expect in the story.
Were there any quirks in the history of Robin Hood vs the movie?
Likely the worst offender is changing the role of Little John from white to black. In the Middle Ages, it would be highly unlikely to have black people in England or for them to pass unbeknownst into a crowd in an English town. I think the director is choosing to internationalize the tale for a modern day audience, since England and the West in general are very multicultural, so a multicultural tale will sell better to this audience. Also this interpretation kind of hints at the West
s involvement in Syrian Civil War and then later having immigrants from Syria back in Europe. Another strange thing is having many versions of flags flying in the castle of Nottingham. Unless this was the court of England, there would only likely have the one flag of Nottingham or possibly the Church's flag at most. So from a historical perspective that is also inaccurate. Of course, most people just role with this intermingling of noble houses as representing a modern day society that happened in say the 1800s, but not in the 1200-1300s when Robin Hood is set to take place.
Have you done any works related to the Crusades?
The closest piece I did do was of the Syrian Civil War, which takes place very closely to the same area as the Crusades would have taken place. So there is some overlap in the reasons for the war and similar powerbrokers in the wars. In the Crusades, it was European knights without land trying to gain a foot hold in the Holy Land to gain land in recognition of their deed. In the Syrian Civil War, we have major regional powers fighting over the results: Syria, US, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. The amazing thing is that this war didn't lead to a major regional war between the supporters of either side. Below is my work, "Daraa Drought Drowned by a Bloody Baath"