Throw Back Thursday Review of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
Written by: Pen Densham
Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Once upon a time, I worked (if you can call it work) at Hollywood video. It was a dream job. I basically got to hang out and watch/talk about movies all day. God I miss those days. All the free rentals I could want, generally pretty cool customers, co-workers that I liked, and a laid back boss who also just happened to be my main drinking buddy at the time. He just had one small issue with me though… See, he HATED Kevin Costner with a fiery passion. While I didn’t necessarily enjoy Costner, as an actor, I did have a nostalgic appreciation for a couple of his films. One of them, I would even say I had a nostalgic love for. That’s right… I’m talkin’ “Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves”! Well, as you can imagine, this did not please my boss/drinking buddy. We went many rounds over the awesomeness and awfulness (depending on who was talking) that was the Kevin Costner starring, strange take on the family folk hero.
Now I get that it is cheesy… and over the top… and well at times, in the movie, it seems like Costner is nursing a pretty bad hangover. But, let’s look at the good here. You have epic set designs! You have cool camera shots that follow arrows into targets! You have Morgan Freeman wielding a massive sword! You have a crazy good supporting cast including a young (also whiny) Christian Slater, a gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (one of the big time crushes of my youth), and the late, great Alan Rickman playing one of the greatest villains ever to grace the screen! I mean come on!
Okay, it doesn’t hurt the movie’s case (in my mind) that I watched it countless times as a kid. Staying up late, eating a ridiculous amount of snacks, and recreating the film’s battles, in my friend’s living room, with the actual toy line from the movie were a tradition for me during the summer of ’91. We even bought compound bows with beginner arrows and shot at targets in his back yard! He would always play the part of Robin, and I would bounce between portraying Rickman’s diabolical sheriff of Nottingham and Michael Wincott’s Guy of Gisborne.
So yes… my view on “Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves” is skewed (as are many films of the 80s and 90s) by the staggering power of nostalgia. It is still a good movie. I just watched it tonight, and I still love the story. Hell, I still love the flaming arrow shot! Yes, Costner seems borderline disinterested through half of the movie, and yes I forgot that there is the scene where it shows his pasty white butt while he is bathing in a waterfall. Cast those things aside though, and you are left with an extremely enjoyable film. Even if just for Rickman’s performance.
Don’t take my word for it though. Go on Netflix, and watch it again for yourself. Allow yourself to be taken into the movie’s world of bows, arrows, swords, and cutting hearts out with spoons and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Plus, it is a pretty damn good action/adventure flick that you can enjoy with the kids.
Oh! One weird side note, intended for movie nerds and fans of the movie “Willow”. In “Prince of Thieves”, there is a scene towards the end where the Sheriff attacks Robin and the merry men in Sherwood forest. He does so, with the help of an army of Celtic warriors. The general of that Celtic army is played by Pat Roach who also played General Kael in “Willow”. You know… the dude with the skull mask that Madmartigan kills. Anyway I thought that was kinda cool.