Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Rating: PG (aka BBC’s butchered version)
Length: 2h 23
Release: 19.7.1991
Dir: Kevin Reynolds
About: Robin decides to avenge his father who was murdered by Sheriff Nottingham. He joins forces with Little John’s band of thieves to overcome the evils of the sheriff.

First Thoughts

This film is everything about my childhood. Okay, so it’s not the film you went into school shouting about like Goonies was, but I certainly felt its presence in a similar way. From what I saw on twitter today, I wasn’t alone.
For me, this film seemed to be a staple on BBC around Easter. Now, given that I thought Back to the Future was on ITV every Christmas Day for about 5 years, I’m willing to accept that my Easter theory for the archery master isn’t correct either.
I also remember a distinct memory of watching this film in English. The TV trolly was in the hall and there were at least three classes huddled around this tiny tv. At this point (it was at least 1998) I had the whole thing memorised.
There’s problems with that sort of devotion to a film though; you notice when things no longer make the cut.

The Good

  • Alan Rickman is the scene stealing, panto villain of all of our dreams. Some may call it over-acting. I’d say it was Rickman having the best time of his life. He has all of the best lines, he has the best style and the best death. It’s not often we love the villain, but here he is, in his Slytherin finest.
  • The strength of this film does lie in its characters. The story and how its presented is a little bit garbage, but with the element of nostalgia and the characters you root for, it ensures it is less of a chore. Some of my favourites are Duncan, the servant of Robin’s father. He’s a little bit more trouble than he’s worth, but you love him none the less.
    Little John and his wife Fanny are the relationship goals of this movie, not Marian and Robin. The film is clever in how we’re introduced to the family one by one, to finally see them together in the final act. It’s perfect.
  • Morgan Freeman as the Moor, Azeem, is pure joy for me. It’s a performance and character I’ve only come to truly appreciate as I’ve gotten older. There are plenty of small things that he says and does that give people a true idea of what Islam is, but my favourite part of this movie is the interaction with the young girl who asks “Did God paint you?” The answer is as beautiful and as relevant today as it ever was. It also feels important that its Morgan Freeman, of all people, that gets to say it.

The Bad

  • It is, for me, rather on the long side. I don’t need it needs massive editing, but more a trimming of the fat. It is made very differently to films today; cramming what would, by today’s standard, be a trilogy’s worth of story.
  • The accents. Yeah, I went there. Now, I don’t mind Costner’s. I’m not so patriotic in that sense. However Slater and Mastrantonio on the other hand, they drive me mad. Both are half arsed attempts. Certain words are well pronounced, but most of it remains this weird mash up of their native accent and whatever it is they’re trying to achieve.
  • I can’t quiet put my finger on what is is about this production, but it has a Monty Python quality to it. Some of it is to do with the voices used, but it could also be the dialogue.

The Ugly

  • Marian. She bugs the fuck out of me. When we first meet her, not only is she this strong independent woman, she is able to fight in such a way that Robin believes her to be a man. It is only her scream that gives her away. So what pisses me off, is that in the final act, she becomes the stereotypical maiden. Aside from an opportune candle, she stands to the side and shrieks. Have her knocked out by the witch before she goes off on her side mission or something.
  • They cut out Pat Roach. I actually didn’t know until today that Auf Weidersien Pet alumni and part-time Harrison Ford fighting partner was in this film. That’s because his role as Celtic Chief gets a blink and you’ll miss it appearance. However, there is footage out there. I’d imagine it’s on the extended cut that also has much of Rickman’s performance restored.

Final Thoughts

This for me is an awesome, but flawed, film. I think it’s aged better than Robin Hood Men in Tights and the Prince of Thieves will be a film I watch again. However, I do accept a lot of what makes this a good film is nostalgia and that had I watched it for the first time today, my review would be much different.

The Butcher’s Wife (1991)

Rating: 15
Length: 1h 47
Release: 3.7.1992
Dir: Terry Hughes
About: Upon meeting a butcher, a psychic believes she has met her future husband because she has previously seen him in her dreams. She ends up marrying him and eventually meets the real man of her dreams.


The Good

  • This is Splash meets Midsummer Night’s Dream by way of High Spirits and Enchanted. Its just a sweet, quirky story and perfect for Sunday night viewing.
  • Jeff Daniels makes for an ideal Tom Hanks replacement. What’s better is that Daniels is not an annoying twat when he shouts. He also works well against Demi Moore.
  • There’s an openly gay character and the word ‘gay’ is not used. She just is. It’s not established in an overt way, its just casual and conversational. I find that brilliant and progressive for the time in which its made.

The Bad

  • While Demi Moore suits being blonde, I’m not sold on her accent. It’s patchy, at best and there are times where she drops it completely. It’s a massive pet hat of mine and i just wish she hadn’t attempted it at all.
  • I was a little thrown at the beginning as the film is promoted as a Demi Moore, Jeff Daniels romance. So to have the opening act be about her marrying someone else made me feel like I’d missed something.

The Ugly

  • Mary Steenbugen is a singer, Stella, with stage fright. Because of Demi Moore’s Marina, she goes to a bar to sing. While preparing to play Stella laments “I wish I was black, they have it so easy.”
    Jesus! There is so much wrong with the statement and it really disappointed me because of how progressive it was regarding LGBTQ. So, while I get the context and I know she’s talking about the stereotype that people of colour have amazing singing voices. However, that is me knowing this stereotype. Take that away and its a sweeping statement that is grossly incorrect, especially in the current climate.

Final Thoughts

It is a cute, quirky and wonderful film for a fun evening watch when you don’t want to think too much.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Rating 18

Length 1Hr 58

Release 31.5.1991

About Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.


Treat

  • This filled in some blanks in terms of films that reference this movie. Not the obvious, but the subtle.

  • Dr Lecter is an interesting character and Hopkins embodies him well. His escape sequence is the best part of the film. If the film had continued with this camera work and pacing it would have been a much more engaging movie.

Trick

  • I found the close-up, almost but not quite, POV shots too stagnant and caused me to disengage from the film. I’m sure it was intended to give a sense of intimacy but for me it does the exact opposite. It feels like a documentary and rather clinical.
  • Clarice feels a little like a ‘Mary Sue’. She’s a trainee left to do so much on her own that it’s baffling. What was told to her at the beginning seemed like smoke being blown up her cootch. Whether that be because of the camera angles, Jody Foster’s portrayal or the writing I can’t quite tell. The flash-backs did nothing for me and in a film that feels overly long, it’s the first thing I’d edit.
  • The score, for me, doesn’t fit the film. It’s too melancholy, morose and more suited to a drama than a killer thriller.

Final Thoughts

Lacking any connection with the characters it makes for a boring watch.