Jun 8, 2010

Redefining Characters

by Terri Wagner

I went to see the new Robin Hood and was disappointed. I didn't expect to be...I mean how can you mess up Robin Hood? I was fairly shocked when Kevin Costner gave his Robin Hood a decidedly American accent, and still liked it a lot. My favorite Robin Hood was Michael Praed in the Showtime series back in the early 1980s. Probably the only one I truly hated was Sean Connerly's.

Why didn't I like the Russell Crowe version? Because they redefined the character. I won't spoil it for you, but the historical background isn't kept intact. That said, the grittiness is left in. Life in 1199 was tough. I can't imagine how they did it. It made me ever grateful I got to live now. Wouldn't trade the time I live in unless maybe I could be about 20 years older or 20 years younger (another post for another time).

Sometimes in writing we redefine in order to appear new and innovative. Maybe we should reconsider redefining and our purpose for doing it. Because in truth Russell Crowe (whom I think is more like a scruffy looking nerf herder and that's not my type) did a fantastic believable job. They redefined Mariam a bit for the 2010s but still in keeping with what was an amazing woman in a difficult time for women (if you believe as I do that somebody named Robin Hood existed).

I guess what I'm trying to say here in a nutshell is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Especially when you are dealing with historical people (King Richard, King John) and/or mythical legends.

Am I alone here?


  1. You aren't alone. I love old movies and don't always like the remakes. Sometimes I feel betrayed by what filmmakers do to characters I love.

  2. I'm with you when it comes to historical people, but this kinda goes along with Rebecca's post from yesterday when I say, I like it when the story is changed to become a more modern version. For example, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE any Cinderella story, no matter how closely or distantly told from the "original" version. But, if you are telling the "original" story, I think the details are important to keep the same. I haven't watched Robin Hood (any version lately), but the movie Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger, I don't like the modern music with the historical setting. Is that what you are talking about?

  3. While I enjoy a good story, and don't mind "new" versions of "old" fictional classics (like Grimm's fairy tales, for instance. I love Shannon Hale's Goose Girl series), I do get annoyed when someone messes with historical people/legends.

    Sorry you met with disappointment. I love all the old Robin Hood movies/stories. I'm guessing I'm not going to watch this one. You're not the first person to tell me they were disappointed.

    great post.

  4. Your blog along with the blog on translation get me thinking why I enjoy some remakes like The Preacher's Wife but not others. Meanwhile I think I won't rush to see Robin Hood.


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