My name is Spencer (formerly known as Dr. Paleo Ph.D.).
I am many things. I'm a 22-year-old, Bible-believing Christian. I trust my savior Jesus Christ above all else, and strive to follow Him unceasingly. My soul is that of the warrior's, and I seek to fulfill my duties as such. I am science-minded, and am pursuing a career in dinosaur paleontology.
I am for my God, and His Word, the Holy Bible. I am for the literal six-day interpretation of the Creation account as found in the book of Genesis. I am for my country and its military, and I will give my support to those who defend this nation and its people, even if it means that we are forced to wage war. I am for homeschooling, the rights of parents and the unborn, the Biblical family, and courtship. I am for the rights of gun owners, and believe in carrying. I am for martial arts, and advocate the study of those means necessary to protect the family, the faithful, and the defenseless. I am for the dying ways of chivalry; "Women and Children First!" is a creed well worth dying for. I am for conservatism, and did I mention that I'm also a states' rights Confederate flag-waving Rebel?
This is me.
Welcome to my blog.
"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." --Robert E. Lee
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” --Martin Luther
"Never give in—-never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." --Winston S. Churchill
"Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer! Rally behind the Virginians!" --Gen. Bernard E. Bee
But to me, I was more interested than disinterested by a Robin Hood revamp; I simply do not like any of the film versions done to date. And to be honest, I'm not much of a Robin Hood fan at all.... So I decided to see this after seeing the trailer; I didn't expect to love it, but was curious enough to check it out. When I later discovered it was directed by Ridley Scott, I knew I wouldn't like it. (Before we continue, I need to state that my one regret with this review is my lack of historical knowledge of this period. Therefore, I'm going to have to decline to comment on historical issues.)
So how was this version any different than the ones before it?
Told as a prequel of sorts, this new Robin Hood tells a grittier tale of Robin's life. No tights and few merry men are to be seen here (and Robin and Marion are much older than usual). Instead, we have an origins story...the origins of a man I honestly did not like. (Robin lies, cheats, steals, and impersonates two separate people for personal benefit, just to start.)
As per usual Ridley Scott, the admitted hater of religious fanaticism, the religion is muddled. Robin, while appearing to have some kind of belief system, is rather indifferent overall. The Catholic church is mostly portrayed in a negative light, and while I don't mind that (and back it up, myself) what these filmmakers don't understand is that Catholicism is entirely separate from Christianity. The only "good" clergyman is Friar Tuck, an admitted drunk who boozes and carouses his way through the story.
In one scene, Robin recounts the story of King Richard the Lionheart's Crusaders massacring countless Muslim men, women, and children. Robin is clearly filled with guilt, as he clearly should be (the look of "pity" given him by a woman that he would kill was particularly disturbing to him), but what came across to me more is that, here we go again, a politically-correct slant just to have a politically-correct slant. It was an unnecessary scene to the story and felt rather contrived. Were the Crusades backed by the entirely pure motives of the Catholic church? Probably not exactly. But then again, since when was Islam anything but the religion of bloodletting?
As to plot, it was just okay. Acting wasn't too shabby. Russel Crowe is good, Kate Blanchett did a fine job, but poor Mark Strong did his best with a rather one-dimensional role. Speaking of which, the characters backing this story were nothing to write home about, to put it bluntly. Strong's character, Godfrey, was far too evil; not that it isn't possible, it just felt that he was nothing short of a gimmick character. Godfrey's theme music was great and fit the mood and all, but also it created an aura of epic villain-ness that is far too Hollywood. (The rest of the score was good as well; not great, but good.)
Marion was a rather stupid character, and Robin's crude pals (such as Little John and Will Scarlet) were also gimmick characters (as well as Tuck). Prince John was far too predictable, but thankfully was a tad out of the ordinary during one bit. And what was with that whole thing with the "lost boys", who are a constant thorn to Nottingham's residence? What is this, Peter Pan?
[ADULTS ONLY] There was little language, but a bit of sexual content was present. We get a handful of references, a couple of sexualized scenes (though not overly bad) and one bed scene. I personally didn't see anything much, but we do get a view of a man's back and legs around his buttocks area as he stands up naked (you almost see his buttocks).
As to violence (If that bothers you then what are you doing with a medieval movie?), this film was quite "violent" of course, but there was absolutely nothing over the top. In fact, I was very disappointed by the lack of blood in this film. Let's get this straight; I'm not a fan of intensely and needlessly gory films, but let's face it. This is 1199. Battles were fought with swords, axes, pikes, and arrows. To kill your foes you had to cut, stab, slash, hack, pierce, and chop to pieces. It's only natural for just a little bit of blood to come out. I'm not asking for a Mel Gibson-esque mess, I'm just asking for a little realism here. I assume the lack of blood on-screen was an attempt at restraint of some sort (perhaps for a PG-13 rating), but still. Come on.
Other than the above, I admit the fight sequences were very well done. The castle siege at the beginning was especially pleasing (Yet far, far too short!). The final battle was very unusual in a positive sort of way as to setting, however, Spencer just got quickly bogged by the fact that he felt their strategy had dangerous holes. Unfortunately it would appear that Scott succumbed to Hollywood's usual mass of chaotic every-man-for-himself, mano-a-mano duels instead of the more historically accurate lines of men-at-arms as well. (And what on earth was Marion doing in armor, fighting? Is she Joan of Arc or something?) The use of bows in the film wasn't all too pleasing to me, either. Besides the effective scene near the end with a veritable storm of arrows, volley after volley, something just seemed off to me. Perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about, but the ease and agility which the characters approached bow use seemed too simplistic. My understanding is that the English longbow, one of the most effective weapons in all of history, required a bowstring pull of fifty to one hundred pounds (possibly somewhere in the middle, around eighty pounds I've also heard). And our aging little "maid" Marion can easily string a bow and loose an arrow. I'm sorry, but is that off, or is it just me?
The best part would have to be a saying repeated many times during the course of the film: "Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions." While I find it weak that a man who is only concerned with self should suddenly do so, Robin gives a good speech on this topic (although I did noticed the rhetoric felt tailored to modern audiences).
If you do go to see this one, please pay close attention to this philosophy here. If you take it seriously and take it beyond the somewhat stupid and modernized base of this particular film, it is well worth your while. This is what these kinds of stories are really supposed to be about.