Why Robin Hood?: 3

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Photograph of the Tower Bridge (often mistakenly called “The London Bridge”), Thames River, London.

Maybe it’s because Robin Hood has become an action-movie franchise for teenagers. Whether the film stars Flynn, Connery, Costner, Armstrong or Crowe, there’s something safe about the Middle Ages – it’s a familiar period (and European), but it’s also in the distant past (knights, castles). Teenagers, still youthful, can understand a vague rebellion against authority, because they live it every day. The violence is bloody but passé; nobody will feel inspired to attack the county jail with a broadsword. Indeed, nobody is expected to take Robin Hood seriously at all. Mel Gibson’s Braveheart inspired millions of college students to scream “FREEDOM!” at frat parties. Robin Hood won’t instigate even that.

In other words, Americans don’t love Robin Hood – at least not the Robin Hood that medieval Britons would recognize. What we love is the PG-13 battles, the clever plot-twists, the way that a single character is so malleable that his original personality dries up, like James Bond or Zorro. But robbing from the rich and giving to the poor? These days, that mission is circumstantial. Today, Robin would ask for a tax write-off.


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