Over the weekend, I decided to watch a movie I haven’t seen in a very, very long time. After several recent discussions about Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, I was curious as to how accurate my memory was about this movie.
“Nobleman crusader Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) breaks out of a Jerusalem prison with the help of Moorish fellow prisoner Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and travels back home to England. But upon arrival he discovers his dead father in the ruins of his family estate, killed by the vicious sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman). Robin and Azeem join forces with outlaws Little John (Nick Brimble) and Will Scarlett (Christian Slater) to save the kingdom from the sheriff’s villainy.”
This movie came out in 1991 and I remember it from my high school days. I remember liking the movie because it didn’t paint life back in the time of Richard the Lionheart as a time of cleanliness. It was dirty and showed some of the parts of life back then as not a beautiful fantasy. The clothes are patched together, what few streets there are have horse manure right in the middle, women were raped, people enjoyed watching the misery of others and something like a hanging was high entertainment. They struggled to survive and to find food and there was absolutely zero acceptance of people who were “other”. This is evidenced repeatedly in the way Azeem is treated throughout the entire movie. He is often called “the Moor” instead of people using his name, even though Azeem is a remarkably smart and astute person. People treat him as the station they believe he should be in instead of who he is as a person. While I would like very much to say that this isn’t the way things are anymore, anyone who pays attention to the world right now will tell you that racism is still a huge factor throughout much of society when it should have been an outdated concept that was left in the past. Perhaps someday, we’ll live in a world where all people are treated equally based on their contributions to humanity instead of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. Azeem is a spectacular character in general.
I know there are significant discussions out there about movies and books and other entertainment venues and what kind of responsibility they have to attempt to be as accurate to real-life history as possible, but I really don’t think that any of us will ever really have a solid concept as to what life was like except for during times we have actually experienced. I am of the opinion that it’s not really fair to devalue something created for entertainment purposes because some parts might not be historically accurate. But, really, to be fair, who wants to see an actual representation of a time without skin care, any sort of hygiene, dirt and trash and sewage all over everything, rats and vermin covering every surface, and massive amounts of disease? I’ll still with my idealism and cleanliness, thanks.
The music in this movie is absolutely iconic. The score by Michael Kamen is fabulous and fits with every scene and the main title is highly addictive. I can hear (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams and automatically recognize it from the movie, as that’s what made that song extra famous. I still have this soundtrack and I’m happy I do. I also think it’s interesting that all the movies I enjoy the most are those where I also own the soundtracks. Pacific Rim is another good example of a movie I highly enjoy where I also have the soundtrack. I think I build strong connections with the music, as is the intent, I’m sure.
Overall, I’d say this movie is easily a three on my rating scale. I’m glad I own it. It has a lot of really great lines, the cast did a phenomenal job of making their characters believable, the setting was well-done, and the story encouraged me to look at what things are truly important in my life.