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Kevin Wolf

Great analysis, Lance. The Adventures of Robin Hood is an all-time favorite as it should be for any right-thinking person. I've seen only bits of the Costner version and that was enough.

Dead Man's Chest was a movie only in a technical sense: it was moving pictures projected on a screen (or seen on DVD). There's no story, really, and all I remember of it is a lot of characters running around. Even the big set pieces were poorly executed and witless. Hell, the whole movie was witless. It was a placeholder just to keep the franchise out there.

I'd hoped that the new Pirates would be better but I'm not so sure, based on the trailer and what I'm reading. I look forward to your reaction.

Exiled in New Jersey

There's a great deal of resemblance between Dead Man's Chest and Return of the Jedi.....both colossal disappointments after what had gone before, and both borrowing like mad from the past, down to the stealing of the Gunga Din finale in Jedi. When I saw Barbossa pop up again at the end, for some reason it brought back the god-awful Ewoks.

Vir Modestus

But, but ... Alan Rickman!

No, you're right. Even he couldn't save Costner's Robin Hood.

I think your initial paragraph re: Keira's turn in Pride and Prejudice was spot on and something I've been trying to get across to my SO ever since the movie came out, with no success. Keira's joy and laughter was what made that movie and it's loss is what is bringing down the "Pirates" franchise. The second movie was just plain awful and I'm seriously considering waiting for DVD for the third.

Why is it that the all-too-seldom good movie -- usually written independently of the suits and the studios -- gets hijacked by those self-same suits for sequels whose only goal is to make money, even at the risk of alienating the audience? Why is it that Hollywood never seems to realize that it is the writing that makes a movie good (acting and other elements can make a good movie great, but without a good script nothing will make a bad movie good) and not special effects? Why is it I feel obligated to complain about bad writing and the under utilization of Keira when I should be working?

Claire

Loved this post, Mannion, though that's probably not a surprise. I was just discussing Jane Austen and was thinking I needed to re-watch the newest P&P. Knightley wasn't my favorite for Elizabeth Bennett, but maybe I'll see her differently this go-round.

I remember NOTHING of the 2nd Pirates movie, but I'll take your word on it. I completely agree with your dissection of why turning girls into boys is misogynistic. Your only worth something if you can be disguised as a boy? No thanks.

Linkmeister

I've seen neither of the Pirates movies, but the trailer I've seen for the new one shows Knightley smiling broadly, and I thought when seeing it "Wow. Her character should do that as often as possible."

David

There are a lot of thought-provoking things in this post. Unfortunately, I can't past your description of Robin Hood: Men in Tights as "funny."

I find myself agreeing with much of what you write, but not when it comes to movies.

Jennifer

"But, but ... Alan Rickman!
No, you're right. Even he couldn't save Costner's Robin Hood."

I'd watch it again to see Alan Rickman. He was worth it.

I saw "Dead Man's Chest" on a plane and had assumed that was why it couldn't hold my focus. Now I know better.

Mike Schilling

Sure, Lance, you're just like me. We like to look at Keira Knightley because she's joyful.

Toad

I think Keira Knightly's best moment in P&P was the moment when she first sees just how large and impressive Darcy's estate truly is. She is taken aback and impressed and the expression on her face clearly tells us how much she realizes she has given up by saying no to Darcy, and then her reaction is so expressive and brilliant as she uses that lovely giant smile to laugh at her own response to what "might have been". It's a great moment of acting by Knightly and a lesson to all of the scenery chewers.

Karen

Errol Flynn's Robin Hood was the first old movie I ever saw. I was probably about 8 years old, and I was hooked for life--and that was on a B&W television, no less.

When I grew up, I did graduate work in medieval history. Costner's Robin Hood came out just before I started my PhD program. I remember being incredibly offended with the way he snarked at Errol Flynn, especially the part where he maintained that they would be more realistic, and not be a bunch of tight-wearing, feather-hatted, um, girly men would, I believe, be the implication.

Of course, anyone who has ever seen a manuscript illumination from the period in which the Robin Hood legends are set knows full well that archers wore...tights. As did soldiers, surgeons, and pretty much every man in sight. See here:
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=12604
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=2638
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=11268
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=23733
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=11366
for just the first online examples I could find--there are hundreds more.

For sure, what they weren't wearing in 12th-century England was Wild West rawhide pants suits.

The line that really got me in that film, though, was when Robin confronts Will Scarlett and cries out against his constant hostility: "Did I harm you in some former life??"

Yeah. A good 12th-century Christian would definitely have believed in reincarnation.

Kevin Costner is a wanker.

burritoboy


Lance,

I'm not sure why you're spending so much time writing about evil propaganda like Pirates of the Caribbean 2. It's not like it's a movie that was simply flawed but could have been repaired. Instead, it's a movie built upon evil: it's a machine designed to elicite "thrills" from the audience at regular planned intervals. You can't complain about sexist characters when the foundation of the movie is effectively a decadent and rotten conception of what it means to be human: this movie believes humans are bags of chemicals (or collections of meat, if you prefer) to be catalyzed in various ways.

"For sure, what they weren't wearing in 12th-century England was Wild West rawhide pants suits."

I don't think you could make an accurate movie about the 12th century that would be even remotely comprehensible to more than a handful of modern viewers. I've thought about the possibility of a true medieval movie, and I've concluded that it's impossible. The closest anyone can come now is something like filming a Shakespearean history play (and frankly, Shakespeare is mostly incomprehensible now as well).

Städ

i loved this movie

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