The Adventures of Robin Hood

Maybe I'm in a bad mood today that I can't detect, but I was pretty unenthusiastic about today's movie. I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz in 1938. I've seen the Blu-ray floating around for cheap a few times and considered buying it blind because I knew I'd have to watch it for this project. I'm glad I passed it up, because this movie didn't really do much for me. I never really saw Robin Hood movies - the only one I saw was Robin Hood: Men in Tights when I was way too young to get any of the jokes (but still found parts of it funny, which may explain my shameful, vague, like of the movie now), so this film doesn't bring up any sort of nostalgia or anything like that. I really thought it looked great and the Technicolor was stunning, but the plot was meh and the acting was meh. I just feel meh about the whole thing. That's just my dumb opinion, though. I think I have shared before that I'm not a big "adventure" movie fan, which is why I love the weird, anti-adventure movies I've watched for this project like Aguirre.

The best part about this movie, by far, was the color. It was pretty astonishingly vivid on Blu-ray, and the Technicolor really popped. It was so clean and nice looking that it made it bearable even though the plot felt boring to me. I can see why people got so excited about Technicolor when it first came out - I can only imagine how cool it was so see such bright, saturated colors in on a big theater screen. Even with digital productions and all sorts of nonsense, there are very few films that are so saturated with color. It's a very neat look, and I liked that about it.

Other than that, I was pretty apathetic to the film. I honestly can't ever remember seeing a Robin Hood film or hearing much about the man, but I somehow felt like I knew the whole plot inside and out already. It made it harder for me to focus on, especially in my already stupid mood. I had problems sitting down to watch it to begin with because I wanted to do 600 other things, so I know that was part of it. But still, the story didn't do anything for me, and I'm not going to lie about it.

The rest of my grievances with the film are dumb. Like, I thought the costumes looked too goofy, like high school kids made them out of felt or something. The romance between Robin Hood and Marion was doofy and cliche and simplistic. But Ebert loved it thought, writing, "Their love scenes, so simple and direct, made me reflect that modern love scenes in action movies are somehow too realistic; they draw too much on psychology and not enough on romance and fable" (Great Movies II, 9). I guess I would never complain that the love stories in modern action movies are too realistic, so I don't even know what to say about this quote. See what I mean about my complaints being dumb? A whole bunch of dumbs.

Anyway, I don't have much else to say about this movie. If you love swashbuckling adventure movies it's worth checking out. Personally, I don't really like that genre, so the movie didn't really do much for me. I felt like I knew the whole plot somehow and found it boring, wasn't too impressed by the sword fights (except when Robin inexplicably throws a candle at Gisbourne and it sort of just flies straight up and misses him), and was mostly just meh about the whole thing. I feel sort of off today so I know my mood could have affected my opinion, as well. At the end of the day, it's just my opinion - you'll have to check it out and see for yourself :)

Ebert's Great Movies Essay on The Adventures of Robin Hood


12 Angry Men