Bookmark and Share
My Photo

FROM the EDITORS:

  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.

NEW & UPCOMING, available from IGNATIUS PRESS

















































































« Save 20% on books and DVDS about Fatima from Ignatius Press | Main | The Tablet responds to "the Fessio attack" »

Friday, May 14, 2010

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b7c369e2013480c82308970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Greydanus on "Robin Hood": "I’m just so sick of this.":

Comments

Brian J. Schuettler

"No, wait. I’m sorry. I can’t pretend to be objective here.

I’m just so sick of this. This grim, joyless, faux-realist medieval world, with its constant brutality, hypocrisy and debauchery all but unmoved by beauty, serenity and humanity."

At least you admit, Steven, that you are not being objective. If anyone knows, as you do as a professional reviewer, that this is fiction, a movie to entertain, certainly you do.

Please don't review it like it is a work of non-fictional history. It is no different than the unforgivable historical inaccuracies and serious omissions in the movie 13th Day (e.g. absolutely NO MENTION of the important Angel of Portugal (now called the Angel of Fatima, the date of his appearance now being a national holiday in Portugal) appearing to the children (as recorded by Lucia) , his giving them a miraculous Eucharist, as an important prologue to Our Lady's initial apparition. I could name several others but the point here is the goal of the motion picture genre. A possible answer to what I have just said about the Fatima movie is that it's goal was to introduce the miracle and it's message to a new audience and the fact that it wasn't entirely accurate is beside the point. Fine.

However, if the point here is "objectivity" then, with all due respect, every director has a goal, an agenda, if you will, not just Ridley Scott. We should apply faith and reason to all of the endeavors of life. I, for one, thought the latest version of the age old story of Robin Hood was one enjoyable movie!

Ed Peters

I don't get BJS' point. SG is pointing out not that directors have biases, but that, directors seem to have a uniformly nagative bias toward the Middle Ages (=code for Christian) in general and the Catholic Church in particalur, and that such bias shows up routinely and utterly gratuitously in virtually everything Hollywood makes.

I think he's dead on.

Evandro Menezes

And, from what I've seen in trailers, the pathetic myth of maidens adroitly wielding 10lbs swords in long gowns cutting knights in mail left and right.

Brian J. Schuettler

"I’m just so sick of this. This grim, joyless, faux-realist medieval world, with its constant brutality, hypocrisy and debauchery all but unmoved by beauty, serenity and humanity.

I’m sick of movies in this King Arthur / Kingdom of Heaven mold that seem almost entirely lacking in sympathy and affection for their hero’s world. (Isolated moments — Robin’s fellows boisterously harmonizing on the Channel crossing back to England — seem almost to belong to another movie.)

_________________________________________________________

Those are Steven's objections posted in his review. If he made reference to any other director other than Ridley Scott or a discussion of a "general" negative bias toward the Middle Ages by Hollywood in general with or without any implied code, I didn't see it. EP's comment is duly lost on me. I must have missed it. For my own edification, please enlighten me with specifics.

Magister Christianus

I am completely with Greydanus. Everything is so dark these days. The new _Clash of the Titans_ looked to be a dreary affair from the previews. There is certainly a formula in the historical/legendary epics since _Braveheart_. In some ways they are cinematic versions of E! Network's _True Hollywood Stories_. They want to take you behind the scenes, beyond what you thought you knew. From there it is gritty realism all the way...as gritty and realistic as CGI can make it. But where is the true adventure? Where is the true action and plain old fashioned fun and thrill factor? If I want grim reality, I can stay home and watch cable news.

Ed Peters

Yes, EM. Hollywood's disdain for the laws of physics regularly astounds. We watched (actauuly re-watched) a terrific movie yesterday, "Von Ryan's Express". Good stuff. Lots of authentic foreign languages (unusual for Hollywood in any age), but, we laughed several times at how a locomotive was protrayed as reacting to its controls as quickly as a Ford. Oh well, still a fun movie.

T. Shaw

R. Scott also may want to enlighten us on how the wonderful muslims treat their daughters, or the unusual things they do for filmmakers whose 'art' they dislike.

The ignorant idiots' asinine biases and rank cowardice are the main reasons I don't pay to see any movies.

I bet R. Scott won't direct a dank historical flick on Muhammed's genocidal wars against the Jews and merchant classes (his competition) of Mecca/Medina; or the Rape of Constaninople in 1457. Or, any of the 58,000-plus massacres the filthy pagans committed to overrun Jerusalm, Bizantine/Roman Middle East and North Africa, Spain, Sicily, southern Italy, Greece, the Balkans, etc.

Sandra Miesel

Alas, after Richard's death, the lad who shot him was flayed alive. His captain didn't feel bound by his generous gesture.

As a medievalist, I have to admit that the Middle Ages were dirty. But that's not all they were. Recent films don't wan to show the bigger picture. I recently watched the good old Flynn ROBIN HOOD and LION IN WINTER, both of which alter things for artistic effect but both of which are terrific entertainment. The Ridley Scott ROBIN is getting savaged by secular critics, too. (See today's WSJ.) It's not getting my obol.

Charles E Flynn

Mr. Greydanus enjoyed Carl's comment:

http://www.decentfilms.com/blog/liwihw-robin-hood

Brian J. Schuettler

Some comments on Richard I known as the "lionheart"

During his life, he was critized by chroniclers (and the clergy) for having taxed the clergy both for the Crusade and for his ransom, wherease the church and the clergy were usually exempt from taxes.- Flori, Jean (1999 (french)), Richard Coeur de Lion: le roi-chevalier, Paris: Biographie Payot

“ The reputation of Richard ... has fluctuated wildly. The Victorians were divided. Many of them admired him as a crusader and man of God, erecting an heroic statue to him outside the Houses of Parliament; Stubbs, on the other hand, thought him ‘a bad son, a bad husband, a selfish ruler, and a vicious man’. Though born in Oxford, he spoke no English. During his ten years' reign, he was in England for no more than six months, and was totally absent for the last five years. ”
—John Gillingham, Kings and Queens of Britain: Richard

It is generally agreed, based on his two public confessions, that Richard was a sodomist.

He is recorded to have promoted pogroms against Engish Jews and generally to have nearly bankrupted England (what the historian Thomas Costain called the "Milch(k) Cow of the Third Crusade".

"Richard had kept 2,700 Muslim prisoners as hostages against Saladin fulfilling all the terms of the surrender of the lands around Acre. Philip, before leaving, had entrusted his prisoners to Conrad, but Richard forced him to hand them over to him. Richard feared his forces being bottled up in Acre, as he believed his campaign could not advance with the prisoners in train. He therefore ordered all the prisoners executed." "Christian" Kings don't do that, do they?

___________________________________________________________________

In the interest of objectivity should Scott have put all of this in the movie? In honesty, I think he toned down the public persona of a Christian "prince of the Middle Ages".

Speaking of Lion In Winter (sequel to the movie Becket), the "lion" was Richard's father, Henry II, who is most famous for instigating the murder of Saint Thomas Becket. Doesn't that "lion" make your Catholic heart glow? But it is was just entertainment. Right, Sandra?

bill912

"It is generally agreed, based on his two public confessions, that Richard was a sodomist."

The accusation that Richard was a sodomist was first made in 1948, about 8 and a half centuries after his death.

Brian J. Schuettler

"The accusation that Richard was a sodomist was first made in 1948, about 8 and a half centuries after his death."

And the dead sea scrolls were discovered about the same time...historical evidence sometimes takes time to be uncovered. That is why they call it a "discovery". What's your point?

MarkAA

I found "King Arthur" particularly disappointing. I like Clive Owen and find the historical research into Arthur in that Late Antique period of Roman History interesting. But that movie's relentless ragging of traditional Catholic Christianity was shrill and tiresome, and the lauding of Pelagius the heretic was over the top. We're honestly supposed to believe Arthur was a Pelagian, and that the treatment of Pelagius as a bona fide heretic by Rome was a bad thing? Absurd. Especially given that 99% of the adventure-movie fans who saw that movie went into it with not one shred of knowledge about Pelagius as a historical figure, but emerged from the movie with the "knowledge" that there was this "other guy" in Christianity who actually knew the "truth" but was condemned for it. So irritating, revisionist history that creates its own version of truth for people who have otherwise no knowledge of the period -- almost as bad as "Da Vinci Code", or perhaps in some ways worse.

Charles E Flynn

Leave it to the BBC to concentrate on Russell Crowe's accent:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/37155872/ns/today-entertainment/

Brian J. Schuettler

Another way to look at it, Mark, is to see Arthur as a learning moment. Perhaps the mention of Pelagius encouraged some viewers to research and become informed about what a heretic is and what he believes. The viewer may be given the grace to pursue a quest for Truth. When you first learned of the existence of a priest named Pelagius did that knowledge transform you into a heretic?

Catholics must be especially careful to not appear to be anti-intellectual on one hand and intellectually condescending on the other. Hypocrisy is not a viable choice. The Holy Spirit goes where He will and uses whatever vehicle is available to Him, even the secular media culture.

bill912

"What's your point?"

That the accusation is pure calumny.

AJ Mauldin

The 1938 classic "The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Flynn, deHaviland, Raines and Rathbone is the best - period. Add a wonderful review of the film by the Brothers Judd Here's the link:

http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.moviedetail/movie_id/17

It's faithful to the legends (or pretty close) and it doesn't attack the Church.

Cristina A. Montes

Hollywood's biases against the Crusades is unfortunate, because the history of the Crusades has a lot of potential good movie material.

Brian J. Schuettler

"That the accusation is pure calumny."

Calumny is by definition unjust. Reputable historians have legitimately and, may I say, justly raised the issue and have made statements based on evidence. With all due respect, this is not calumny, especially in reference to Richard, as you said, "about 8 and a half centuries after his death."

bill912

"Calumny is by definition unjust."

Yup.

Brian J. Schuettler

"With all due respect, this is not calumny"

"Yup"

Richard Bruce

It looks like Robin Hood is going to loose a ton of money. It cost over 200 million to produce, and they will not get close to earning that back. The Kingdom of heaven also lost a lot of money. These films do particularly badly in the domestic market, US and Canada.

I have a web site on religious movies that were nominated for the Oscars. You can click on my name to go to the page. I also have web pages on getting these movies, and other Catholic media, even Catholic books, into your public library. Check it out.

Dr John James

Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchett are both leading Australian actors living here in Sydney.
I haven't seen the film and probably wont until it appears on DVD.
I laughed when a recent BBC journalist took Crowe to task for what he described as making this quintessential English hero sound " Irish".
I guess I hoped it was a little Irish payback.
I'm reminded of that great scene in Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart' when the English king, Longshank's, as the two armies confront each other, muses out loud about who he should commit to the battle first.
" Ah, the Irish," he says, " they're expendable".
But as the Irish and Scots race toward each other, they meet in the middle of the battlefield and greet each other like long lost brothers.
As for the Crusades, I'm far from an expert, but I've long admired all I have read about King St Louis,the Lionheart's French comrade.
By all accounts, a finer king or warrior you wont meet this side of Heaven.

MarkAA

Brian, to a degree I do agree with you. The distinction is that when I learned about Pelagius and his heresy, it was with him as a heretic and not someone to be lauded. The tone and framing of "Arthur" was that Pelagius was a hero, and his mistreatment as a heretic by the church officials in Rome was unjust. So the person encountering that name/belief system via the movie is being introduced in the wrong light. I was a journalist for 19 years and came to realize that presentation of "clumps" of facts are neither right nor wrong; the bias a story contained usually was most powerful in the framing and tone of the story than in the specific facts it contained (although omission or minimization of certain key facts one side might consider vital to the story often played a part in creating that biased frame). Same thing in movies. But I appreciate your point of view and am glad you mentioned it; definitely not a good thing to become a proponent of a humorless or thin-blooded faith!

Brian J. Schuettler

Thanks, Mark...and your comments based on your life as a journalist were very interesting.

Sandra Miesel

Dr. James, St. Louis IX, King of France, wasn't Richard the Lionhearted's comrade on the Third Crusade, inasmuch as he was the grandson of Richard's actual (hostile)colleague, Philip II Augustus. St. Louis was an exemplary medieval king who unfortunately made a hash of his two crusading ventures. Louis's first cousin, St. Ferdinand of Castile, excelled in both domestic and military spheres.

SDG

Wow! Such an animated discussion my review touched off.

"At least you admit, Steven, that you are not being objective."

Of course I admit it, as any good critic would. All critical judgments are subjective, including yours. My "admission" was for dramatic effect.

"If anyone knows, as you do as a professional reviewer, that this is fiction, a movie to entertain, certainly you do. Please don't review it like it is a work of non-fictional history. "

Where did I do that? What I am saying is that for a fiction to entertain, it is helpful for the filmmakers to enjoy and to appreciate what is enjoyable in their subject matter. Medieval romance has its pleasures, medieval history has other ones. The film is free to offer its own vision, but if it dispenses with the pleasures of romance and history, what does it substitute in their place? A world dreary in its venality, a world lacking in recognizable humanity.

"I, for one, thought the latest version of the age old story of Robin Hood was one enjoyable movie!"

That is your privilege, though I note you don't say what specifically you enjoyed, as my review articulates what I didn't enjoy.

"If he made reference to any other director other than Ridley Scott or a discussion of a "general" negative bias toward the Middle Ages by Hollywood in general with or without any implied code, I didn't see it."

Well, I did refer to King Arthur by way of gesturing toward a recognizable pattern. One can also see what could be called anti-medieval stereotyping in the medieval trappings of post-medieval films from Elizabeth: The Golden Age to The Da Vinci Code.

Please note, incidentally, that my Richard anecdote from Wikipedia was not intended to celebrate Richard as a hero or an admirable figure; rather, it was to provide a note of intriguing humanity and complexity in a film sorely lacking them.

That said, Sandra Miesel, your historical note makes me sad. At the same time, it makes the story even better (which I find the facts almost always do). Thanks.

Brian J. Schuettler

"ALL critical judgments are subjective"

Really? All? This is very interesting.

You do not accept the possibility of logical, analytical, critically OBJECTIVE judgments?

SDG

"You do not accept the possibility of logical, analytical, critically OBJECTIVE judgments?"

No, I don't say that. I think I would rather say that objectivity and subjectivity seldom exist in chemically pure states, certainly with respect to the kind of critical judgments I was talking about: the kind of judgments film critics make about the goodness or badness of films.

I don't say that there is no objective truth about whether King Arthur, Citizen Kane or The Last Temptation of Christ are, or are not, good films. Nor do I say that our individual judgments about the goodness or badness of these films can't be meaningfully related to that objective truth. I doubt that our judgments are ever sufficiently free of subjective influences to permit us the kind of certitude that we normally associate with phrases like "logical, analytical, critically OBJECTIVE judgments."

Also, I think that acknowledging that element of subjectivity brings us a step nearer to objectivity, not further from it. The danger of subjective distortion is seldom greater than when we are absolutely certain that we have objective access to pure truth.

John Herreid

Brian, I don't think Steven was saying that all judgments are subjective. He's saying critical judgments are subjective. Obviously subjective matters of taste are going to come into play when it comes to judging works of art, even if one is informed of the objective standards of beauty.

Brian J. Schuettler

I am just going to let this go and accept I am not going to get a straight answer.

"ALL critical judgments are subjective"

"I think I would rather say that objectivity and subjectivity seldom exist in chemically pure states, certainly with respect to the kind of critical judgments I was talking about: the kind of judgments film critics make about the goodness or badness of films."

"I think that acknowledging that element of subjectivity brings us a step nearer to objectivity, not further from it. The danger of subjective distortion is seldom greater than when we are absolutely certain that we have objective access to pure truth."

These are quotes from Deepak Chopra???

SDG

A moment ago you thought it was "very interesting." Now you're so convinced you're "not going to get a straight answer" that you might as well "let it go." I wonder how "objective" you consider these judgments of yours to be.

Vince

Brian -

Your troll-like behavior towards Greydanus is sad. Your knowledge of the debate about the possibility of Richard I engaging in homosexual activity is shallow. John Gillingham, who you quoted and whose books on Richard you probably haven't read, has discussed this question in some detail. [See his book Richard I (Yale, 1999), pp. 263-265.] These claims have rested on very thin evidence: Richard getting married later and two lines from the contemporary chronicler Roger of Howden that aren't really that suggestive when understood in their context.

The first is an episode where a hermit tells Richard to "remember the destruction of Sodom and abstain from illicit acts, for if you do not God will punish you in a fitting manner." Some have interpreted this as suggesting sodomy, but the 'Sodom' reference is more accurately understood as describing the type of punishment that would occur - not what offenses he was guilty of.

The second bit from Roger of Howden is even flimsier as it refers to Richard and Philip Augustus sharing a bed. The reference is clearly conveying a political, not sexual, bond/relationship.

Richard may have been homosexually inclined or engaged in such acts, but evidence from the period does not reflect this.

Brian J. Schuettler

"Your troll-like behavior towards Greydanus is sad"

Sorry, that is a subjective judgment and I subjectively reject it. I would like to be objective about this but I am told that there are no "objective" judgments.

You obviously have done your homework. It is true that I am a troll on my mother's side and I sometimes sound or act "troll like" but my TSG (Troll Support Group) has been a big help in helping overcome troll habits e.g. capturing, killing and eating humans and other species. Unfortunately, comments like yours tend to bring the "troll out in me" so don't go over any bridges alone tonight, Vince. BTW, I may be bringing hate speech charges against you for anti-troll bias.

Now, if you meant internet troll behavior, please disregard the above.

Keith

This was certainly an interesting exchange in this arena where there are many interesting exchanges. Thank you Vince for your comments about the comments by Brian S. My impression is that Brian is a "sneering" academic who delights in a world that is shades of darkness, not of various intensities of light. Academics are OK but the "sneering" ones should be avoided.

Brian J. Schuettler

"My impression is that Brian is a "sneering" academic who delights in a world that is shades of darkness, not of various intensities of light"

You are just so silly, Keith. But I suspect you are just a silly guy.:-) In the middle of this whole thing it is so cute reading your little private exchange with the Vincemeister. I have to hand it to you, you are so perceptive. I am indeed an academic...well, not really. I am a chief financial officer for a large construction firm in NYC...not even close, Keith. But I do sneer...do you sense me sneering at you right now? I hope it doesn't upset or scare you.

Oh, Vince, your dedication to Richard is touching and I certainly do not want to trigger a hissy fit but I did not say that Gillingham was the only one to comment upon Richard as probably being a practitioner of anal sex. James Reston’s book Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade also makes the point very strongly as do many others, if you research it. Does Richard's well documented murder of women and children concern you at all? Or isn't human life as important as defending a very vicious man to just happened to be a, shall I say it?...gay? No,I won't. Gay is a nice word, it is a positive, happy word. I will just stick with the unnatural, deathly sinful word: sodomite.

Was that sneering? Sometimes the truth can appear that way to those who do not want to hear it.

Carl E. Olson

Gents: I'm as much a supporter of open and honest debate as anyone, but I sense we are pushing the limits of civility here. I'll leave the thread open, but please stick to arguments and facts and resist the urge to engage in personal attacks. Thanks!

Vince

Brian -

I hate to disappoint, but neither Richard I nor his sexual activities and proclivities are of much interest to me. On the whole, he seems to have been a rather hot-tempered jackass.

Your pretense at intelligently expounding on this issue, though, prompted me to provide the actual data this question rests on, since you seemed so amusingly unaware of the specifics of the debate. James Reston jr. is a journalist who enjoys occasionally masquerading as a hack historian. I guess I see why you might feel some kinship with Reston. However, those interested in the historical Richard would be better served reading one of the various works by John Gillingham, an actual expert on that English monarch.

Brian J. Schuettler

Vince,

Can you just debate this without personally attacking me? Please. You don't even know me but presciently know what I have studied or read. Your attacks are personal. I started as a teenager reading about the Plantagenet kings of England. I mentioned James Reston as an example, I didn't associate myself with him. You say something and it is remarkable. I say something and it is pretentious. Please stop.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight

Twitter


Ignatius Press


Catholic World Report


WORTHY OF ATTENTION:




















Blogs & Sites We Like

December 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Blog powered by Typepad