Folks, I’m a little pissed off.
I’ve been just cruising along, minding my own business, watching TV when I come across the trailer for the new movie Robin Hood. And while I don’t think it’s going to exactly be groundbreaking cinema, it could be a decent movie. I almost never go to theaters anymore, but I’m thinking I’ll catch it on cable or Netflix or something.
But then, BANG. Pissed off. Why? Well, there are a couple of points, but the most egregious one comes at 2:16.
For those who won’t bother to watch the (fairly awesome) trailer, I’ll tell you straight-up: it’s Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian, on horseback, in armor.
The trailer also depicts many instances of Marian being assortedly badass, fomenting dissent against King John, threatening to emasculate Robin with her favorite dagger, etc. No problem there. But sticking her in armor? Having many shots of her awesomely shooting her awesome bow? Wrong.
Every bit as wrong as whatever nutjob decided to make Guinevere a badass warrior-chick in the 2004 King Arthur film.
Photo from IGN Media
(I will say that I had reservations about the badassing-up of Arwen in Peter Jackson’s LOTR films, but after watching the movie I had no criticism. Essentially it was combining the Arwen character with the relatively throwaway character of Glorfindel, and God knows they had tough choices to make about what of Tolkien’s work to cut out, and generally made good ones.)
Ladies, I get it. History, fiction, and cinema haven’t been all that kind for the last, oh, let me check my watch, few thousand years. There were thousands of badass women who never got their due, were swept aside and their stories buried because they didn’t fit the greater narrative that the established order wanted told. It sucks, and that sort of thing should be repaired.
So, when someone wants to make a major motion picture about Boudicca, sign me up. (And don’t even tell me it couldn’t make one hell of a badass movie.) And if you want to revise history to include the women who were typically left out of the story (a Deborah Samson biopic, maybe?), I will stand up and applaud. But really and truly, must we mess around with cherished fiction? Or legend so ancient and unsubstantiated that it might as well be fiction?
I know Marian and Guinevere mostly show up in the old legends as objects to be fought over or admired (or both), but the legends have existed for time out of mind. They’re part of our cultural fabric, and just about every schoolkid knows how the elements play out. God knows I spent many an hour in the late 70s and early 80s pouring over the old Howard Pyle volumes. Rewriting them just to badass-up the heroines to pass feminist muster just seems forced and excessive. It certainly serves as a “Oh no they di’n't!” from my childhood memories.
So, with apologies to my feminist friends, I’m drawing my own personal line, and asking the probably-impossible favor that Hollywood screenwriters a) tell a new story, b) keep political correctness out of the old stories without a damned good reason.
What do you think? Am I way off base, or not? Argue away!
Filed under: A Nice Guy Speaks, Life and other states of existence, sex, War Between the Sexes | Tagged: feminism, film, guinevere, king arthur, maid marian, masculinism, political correctness, robin hood | 8 Comments »