Saturday, May 15, 2010

"OuuuutLAAAAAAW!" When Ideas go bad.

Russel Crowe. Ridley Scott. Cate Blanchett. ROBIN freakin' HOOD.

How could it go wrong? Seriously.

But it was awful. I mean really really bad.

My partner, Tina is a huge Russell Crowe fan. And I have to admit I loved 'Gladiator,' '3:10 to Yuma' and 'A Beautiful Mind.'

I grew up on various flavors of Robin Hood....from watching the old Fairbanks and Flynn interpretations through to Kevin Costner's really bad accent. I loved Sir Sean Connery's older Robin Hood in 'Robin and Marion.'

Hell, I even giggled at 'Men in Tights.' I guffawed at John Cleese's version in 'Time Bandits.'

Last night T and I went out for our weekly date night and decided to see the latest take on the legend. And I wished I'd rented a movie or watched 'NCIS' reruns instead.

There was no emotion, marginal acting (except for Oscar Isaac who played Prince John--despite the only clip of him screaming 'OutLAAAAAAAW!" you see on the trailer--he was fantastic). I was even bored with the final battle.

I blame the story (See? I'm bringing this all back to writing). It was a lifeless piece of writing by Brian Helgeland....the man who brought us such masterpieces as 'LA Confidential' and 'Green Zone.'

Why was it the story's fault? Well, the movie was supposed to be about how 'Robin Hood' came to be the great criminal living in Sherwood. It was filled with Epic battles, heartache for Marion Locksley (they spell it Loxley in the movie....not sure why they changed it), blah blah blah. It was a mish-mash of ideas that never came together.

See, the ORIGINAL idea for this movie was to tell the story of Robin Hood from the Sheriff of Nottingham's perspective--kind of like 'Wicked' but with bows, arrows and tights and no ruby slippers. That might have been very cool.

But it morphed into this pseudo-epic backstory that was a few good ideas and a lot of bad ones.

What does this all have to do with my writing?

Remember yesterday when I said I was pulling the first act together for book two? Well, I started to do that this morning. And it was CRAP. The two concepts for book two are amazing (I think)....just not together. I mean, not even a little bit. So the prolog'll stay....but the rest? I'll file it away. Maybe it can be salvaged and used later. But the bottom line is, no matter how many good people you have working with it, a bad idea is still BAD. That's why I'm scrapping act one and starting over.

Maybe that's something Russell Crowe and the rest should have considered when they read the script for Robin Hood.


Doreen Alvarez said...

Oooo de lolly! You left out a Robin Hood. ;-) I watched some History Channel Robin Hood thing today that ended up being a movie promo more than a history lesson. My problem with the concept of the new movie is the historical inaccuracies. Russel Crowe was talking about how he wanted the Marion character to be a strong woman. (I thought he was the director the way he was talking.) Historically speaking, Marion never would have been caught with a bow and arrows in her delicate hands. I was pretty sure I was skipping this one. Now it's definite. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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