Dear Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,
I should begin by recounting the central story line that Robin Hood has been known to have: a man that steals from the rich and gives to the poor. That is the narrative that has driven the creation of many films based on the story of a wanted outlaw that is hailed as a hero by society.
To be honest, there is nothing remotely exciting about that story. It is a story that has been told many times, so it raised an important question before I sat down to see you: what is it that will set you apart from the others? As recent as last year, Ridley Scott directed Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe.
If I was to compare you two, I would say that the more complete film is you. One of the reasons why so many films are revisited is because directors want to give the film the 21st century look. They feel that bigger, faster, and better special effects would be enough to make the film great. What many of them fail to realize is that you can add to the film’s visual art, but if you do not keep the film’s heart as its central story line, the film will fail.
While Scott’s Robin Hood was appealing for its contemporary take on the caped outlaw, the film lacked the passion that drove your work to its high standing in the franchise. You are part of a franchise that continues to be revisited every few years, so that calls for comparisons of all the films.
For a film to withstand the test of time is a sign of its cinematic greatness. The battle of good versus evil is one that can be told in many ways despite its repetitive nature in films. This battle undermined the stronger narrative you developed which is humility.
From the beginning, you established a brilliant odd couple. This pairing is not always successful in films because the characters may not have on-screen chemistry, the narrative is not strong enough to develop the relationship, or quite simply, the pairing is not as odd as it intends to be. Early in the film, Azeem, a Moor, has his life saved by Robin Hood, and from that moment, he never leaves his side because of his duty to save his life at some point.
A man that is viewed different not only for his race, but for his religious affiliation, and a man who is wanted by the sheriff of Nottingham’s men for stealing his money; this odd couple would prove to be brilliant and necessary for your success as a film.
It was a provocative pairing that leads you to analyze how racial relations have been portrayed in a film since the early 90s when you were released, to today. The concept of true brotherhood is what was portrayed in that pairing because they sacrificed their lives for the well being of others. That sacrifice proved to be much stronger than the differences that set them apart.