Apr 16 2012

Review: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Nostalgia

You know how you have fond memories of a TV show or movie from when you were young, and when you finally get to see it again as an adult (or in this case, older adult), it isn’t quite how you remembered it? Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s amazing, but some other times, well, not that good. Or awful.

One of the first non-animated movies we got for the girls when they were little was The Goonies; Heather and I both loved that movie. When we sat down to watch it, it was every bit as awesome as we remember (well, maybe not every bit–back then I still held out hope of finding underground passages, booby traps, waterslides, and hidden pirate ships). But there was something neither of us remembered: profanity–and a whole $@#&! lot of it.

Some other memories haven’t fared so well, either. A couple years ago I found Bravestarr on Hulu. If you haven’t seen it, it was a cartoon that was basically a sci-fi western. It was awesome when I was 14. When I watched it recently, the animation and draftsmanship were still amazing, but what else would you expect from Filmation? Everything else, though, was absolutely awful. For so long Heather wanted Greatest American Hero on DVD. We never got it for her, getting her Dukes of Hazzard and MacGyver instead, but she finally found GAH on Netflix. She didn’t even make it through the first episode.

Glory Days

Back on topic. The year was 1991. I was in summer classes at CMSU (now UCM), taking Dr. Sample’s Drawing II (three hours a day, three days a week) and Dr. Leuhrman’s Watercolor I (four hours a day, five days a week). I absolutely loved my watercolor class. It was one of the few classes where I actually tried hard to learn, tried to please my instructor, and begged for honest critiques (unlike pretty much every other art class). I only remember a few people from class: Dr. Leuhrman, the instructor, who always wore whites and pastels, and never got a drop of paint on him; some big guy, whose name I can’t remember, but who had a giant mane of jet black hair, a jawline beard, and was one of the few people in art school that made me insanely jealous of his ability; a girl named Ashley; and a cheery young woman named Elsa, whom I would later name my firstborn after. The big hits that summer were Wind of Change by the Scorpions, and Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do, from the summer blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I think it was Wilxn , or maybe Wayne, who was with me when I saw the trailer for RHPOT (at the AMC theater inside Bannister Mall…remember Bannister Mall? Back before it went all skeevy and they tore it down?). Wilxn and I went to see it in the theater that summer. It was amazing. I think that was the day we went to the Swap Shop, saw two movies (the other one, I believe, was Mel Gibson’s Hamlet), and probably went just looking around for stuff. We got home late (when didn’t we?), and that was when we realized it really was possible to do too much stuff in one day.

Back to the movie–easily my favorite movie of the whole summer.

Back to the Present

Later I saw it a couple of times on VHS. I know I saw it once with Noodles, whose favorite line was at almost the end of the movie: “Reckanize this?”

A couple weeks ago I picked up a copy of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves on DVD. I have had Michael Kamen’s amazing soundtrack for years, but I hadn’t seen the movie in at least 17 years. Last night while I was working on a case for my new Bible I popped the movie in.

It was terrible.

The movie is so hammy, so goofy, and what I believe to be unintentionally campy it’s hard to believe I enjoyed it as a serious adventure flick. I’m not going to say anything about the movie’s most frequent complaint–Kevin Costner’s accent–because it didn’t bother me then and it didn’t bother me now.

Alan Rickman, who is awesome, chews scenery with the power of a thousand suns. His inflections in so many scenes are so funny, it almost seems like Kevin Reynolds (the director) told him, ‘Hey Alan, can you play the Sheriff of Nottingham kind of like Peter Ustinov played Prince John in Disney’s Robin Hood? That’d be great.’ Rickman’s Sheriff doesn’t just say ‘spoon,’ he says ‘speeooon!’

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, whom I remember being very pretty, um, I did not now think was very pretty (of course, all women are less pretty after being married to Heather).

Morgan Freeman was awesome as Azeem. One of my favorite parts of the movie, both as a young buck and now, was the part where Mortiana the witch busts in and and tries to impale Robin, and then Azeem busts in and throws that gigantic scimitar across the entire screen. I remember it caught Wilxn and me so off-guard I think we literally yelled in the theater. I guess we’re the kind of guys that Shakespeare had to make comedy relief for, for fear we’d jump up and stab an actor. Whatever. Lincoln would back me up on this.

Everyone else was fine, whatever. The movie’s real weakness is the goofy script and hammy directing.

Best part of the entire movie, then and now: the late Michael Kamen’s amazing score (he also did the incredible score for Hudson Hawk). For those of you who don’t think you could pick out anything from the soundtrack aside from Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do, I guarantee you have heard it, usually when you hear  that amazing fanfare accompanying the Magic Kingdom logo at the beginnings of a number of Disney movies.

The DVD Itself

The RHPOT DVD itself, well, is amazingly bad. You actually have to flip the disc over in the middle of the movie. This isn’t like Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, where the movie is so amazingly long that it literally won’t fit on a single disc, but the producers of the DVD realized this and made an elegant transition for you to get some more popcorn, go to the bathroom, come back and pop in the second disc. With Robin Hood, the disc-flip happens mid-scene.

For those of you out there who want to get into DVD production but you think your low IQ or lack of skill might keep you from realizing your dream, there is hope.

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Oct 25 2009

Tales from Hop-Hop Land: Chapter 1

One of my children used to have an imaginary friend, a rabbit named Hop-Hop Bunny, who had a brother named Hop-Hop. They were from Hop-Hop Land (I know you didn’t see that coming). We heard several Hop-Hop Bunny stories from the time our daughter was in preschool through first grade.

One day we were working in the garden, when this conversation took place:

DAUGHTER: Hop-Hop Bunny’s brother said ‘#$@!’

ME: (calmly) Maybe Hop-Hop Bunny’s brother needs slapped in the mouth.

DAUGHTER: Yeah; he’s bad.

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Aug 7 2009

Review: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Fifteen minutes into the midnight showing of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra the film burned and broke.

That was my favorite part of the movie.

No, I’m not kidding.

If I hadn’t been there with my children and students I would have walked out shortly after they got it back up and running.

I can say without exaggeration that I hated every minute of this movie.

To call it a steaming pile of poo would be to besmirch the good name of steaming piles of poo.

I know I’ve given some movies some bad reviews on this site. Some angry, scathing reviews. All of those movies were better than this. Even The Happening. Even Jumper. Even Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

My friend Clavis was there, and he said that he has been bored enough to rent several of  the cheezy movies at Redbox, and this was worse than all of them.

I went into this movie with low expectations. After all, it’s directed by Stephen Sommers, the guy who gave us Van Helsing back in 2004. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to set expectations low enough.

There are words to describe exactly how I feel about this movie. Those words are called profanity. Speaking of profanity, G.I. Joe has lots of it, so you might not wanna take your kids. I haven’t yet gotten an up-close look at the Hasbro toys based on the movie, but hopefully for the sake of accuracy they have one with a voice chip that takes God’s name in vain.

There are also several graphic scenes that aren’t suitable for children, including one guy who gets giant needles stabbed in his neck, has a seizure, and gets his face eaten off by nanobots, which resemble a flesh-eating green mist.

That’s it for the spoiler-free portion of the review. Now that I have given you how I felt, the following details why:

Duke and Ripcord are a couple of Army guys. They get thrown into G.I. Joe, a secret classified elite fighting force, a group so big on secrecy they bring these two noobs to their secret base.

It’s a good thing, too. Apparently this ultra-elite fighting force consists of people who, unlike Wolverine, aren’t the best they are at what they do. Duke and Ripcord are pretty much better than this entire team, with the exception of Snake Eyes.

That’s OK though–shortly after joining the team the two noobs get special effects accelerator suits that make them almost as good as Snake Eyes. They don’t need special suits to be smarter than alleged smart-girl heroine Scarlett.

For you needless flashback fans out there, this is your Holy Grail.

If you aren’t tired of CGI special effects yet, then maybe this movie will cure that for you. This movie has so many explosions and fireballs it makes the complete Michael Bay anthology tepid and quaint.

Destro and his team use holographs to communicate to each other. Of course the point of a hologram is to be able to communicate with another human, and vice versa. In quite possibly the stupidest point in the movie, three holograms ride on a submarine together with no other humans in the craft. And no, I am not making this up or even exaggerating one quanta.

Also, ice sinks in water. Make a note of it.

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Jun 9 2009

#$@*!

Several years ago Jimmy, Timmy, and I were discussing profanity. Jimmy, who almost never uses profanity, mentioned this:

“I don’t like to swear; however, I really like the word ‘#$@*!‘ It just sounds cool.”

Later in the day while we were getting ready to leave for lunch, Jimmy was taking a long time and we were standing around waiting for him.

“Man, he’s taking forever,” I said.

“Yeah,” said our mutual friend Timmy. “He’s a #$@*!

 

Note: names have been changed to protect the guilty.

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May 13 2009

The best there is at what I do, but what I do isn’t very nice

X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t really that great of a movie. It doesn’t stink like X-Men 3, but it doesn’t rock like X-Men 1 & 2.

The movie has a number of completely superfluous characters who, if you removed them from the movie, wouldn’t change the plot one bit, Gambit and The Blob being the most notable. The movie has a lot of profanity, I guess in an attempt to make it gritty, but it’s still just a mediocre movie. The big fight scene in the middle of the movie is virtually bulging with some of the lamest movie cliches ever, and some simply ridiculous things like riding a Harley through a dense forest. In terms of SFX, there are several scenes that are so obvious they were filmed against a bluescreen and had digital backgrounds inserted that it was distracting.

I don’t mean to imply that the movie was completely terrible, but I think a good editor could make a pretty kick-butt 45 minute movie out of it.

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Mar 18 2009

Is ‘skanks’ a bad word?

There are some questions that you are prepared for when you walk into a room. Furthermore, there are especially some questions you aren’t prepared for when you walk into a room at church.

The asker  of the aformentioned question was a boy about eight years old who was cleaning up the room with a couple of the girls.

“I don’t think so,” I told him, “But it is very rude, so it would probably be best not to use it.”

That answer seemed to satisfy him, and I appreciated him asking first instead of just using it.

At any rate, its not really a word I use, so I looked it up. The word dates to the early 1970s, but its etymology is unknown, with the best guess being that it is a portmanteau of skeevy and rank. While it may not technically fall into the profanity category, the word’s connotation is quite offensive, and its use should probably be avoided.

Something that didn’t occur to me at the time (I guess because I was caught off guard) was to refer him to this verse:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” –Ephesians 4:29, NIV

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Jan 19 2009

Jiggery-pokery

n. Underhanded scheming or behavior; cheating.

Yes, it’s a real word, and not just a Wizard Swear.

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Jan 12 2009

Zounds!

If you are a fan of Spaceman Spiff from the old Calvin & Hobbes comics, you know this word. It is one of those comic-book-sounding exclamations, akin to Great Scott! that you never hear anyone use in real life.

You probably wouldn’t liken it to taking God’s name in vain, however the word actually dates to the 1600s, and is a contraction of the words God’s wounds!

Don’t ask me how I came to look this up; I don’t remember.

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