Tag Archives: Robin Hood

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Zelena

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In 1939’s The Wizard Of Oz, Margaret Hamilton’s The Wicked Witch Of The West left an indomitable mark on our culture. She was the ultimate baddy, taking Toto from Dorothy and using her monkeys to terrorize the residents of the land of Oz.  In Once Upon A Time, the character of Zelena (Rebecca Mader) appeared to be a direct cut from that same cloth. But in usual Once Upon A Time fashion, there is a twist to the character and the narrative.

Zelena is Regina/The Evil Queen’s (Lana Parilla) older half-sister. Abandoned by their mother and raised without the luxury or the access to the magic that was part and parcel of Regina’s childhood, Zelena grew up to be spiteful and angry. Arriving in Storybrooke, Zelena made it her goal to get back at Regina for everything she never had. She also manipulated Robin Hood to believe that she was his late wife and became pregnant by him.

Giving birth to their daughter (also named Robin) changed Zelena. No longer seeing life in terms of black and white,Zelena  started to change. She became close to her sister, but she fell in love with Hades (Greg Germann), who also fell in love with her, but she chose her sister over Hades. Unfortunately, Robin was lost in the battle.

To sum it up: When a character is written properly, her or she can easily transcend the archetype that is the skeleton of that character. A good writer is able to flesh out a character, giving them dimensions, failings and complications. Zelena may have started out as the archetypal Wicked Witch Of The West, but she grew into a woman who was more than her archetype. As writers, we have to remember that archetypes are fine,  just as long as we remember that the archetype is only the skeleton of the character. We need to add more to the character than just what is expected. If we don’t do that, then the character is just an archetype and frankly, who wants to read about an archetype? I don’t and I’m sure there are other readers who feel the same.

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Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Robin Hood

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the previous seasons.

*I am choosing, for the purpose of this post, to only focus on FTL/Storybrooke Robin, not the AU Robin that appears in the 6th season.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Robin Hood is one of the noblest characters in our culture. He is the selfless hero who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. He always does what is right, without question.

But what if doing what is right was not so easy? This was the question posed by the Once Upon A Time version of Robin Hood. Played briefly by Tom Ellis and then played by Sean Maguire for the remaining seasons, Robin is the soul mate of Regina Mills/ The Evil Queen, teaching her how to love again years after the death of her childhood sweetheart. But there is a catch.  Up until a certain point in the narrative, Robin was presented as a single father grieving the loss of his wife, Marian (Christie Lang). It took some time, but Robin broke down Regina’s walls and it seemed like they were headed for their own happily ever after.

Then Marian returned and Robin had to choose between his family and the woman he loved. But Marian was not Marian, she was Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and she was also pregnant by Robin. In the end, Robin gave his life to save Regina, proving that it is possible to do what is right and follow your heart.

To sum it up: sometimes a character’s journey can be boiled down to the question of what is right or what the heart wants. In life, this is often a murky question. The best writers are able to manipulate this question into a narrative that forces the character to go on the journey to answer that question. That journey, when presented properly to the audience, can not only take them on a ride, but also teach them how to answer what can be a very delicate question.

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Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Regina Mills/The Evil Queen

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one goes through life without heartache.  The question is, do we let the heartache consume us or do we let it fade into memory? In the world of fairy tales and Snow White in particular, The Evil Queen is the female villain we love to hate. Her main goal is to kill Snow White, she will stop at nothing to see Snow White dead. On Once Upon A Time, The Evil Queen or Regina Mills as she is known in Storybrooke, is played by Lana Parilla.

As with the original fairy tale, The Evil Queen hates her stepdaughter, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and will like nothing more than see Snow White in the ground permanently.  But in this version, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills goes beyond the 2D character we think we know.

Regina does not hate Snow for her youth or her beauty, but blames Snow for the death of her first love and her forced marriage to Snow’s widowed father. We are introduced to Regina as she interrupts Snow’s wedding to Charming (Josh Dallas) and curses all of the inhabitants of the realm. Their memories are wiped clean, they remember nothing of their lives before the curse.

But as everyone who watches Once Upon A Time knows, “magic comes with a price”. The price, for Regina is her inability to move forward with her life and not let the past hold her back. She will eventually find love again, with Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), but not before facing her demons and confronting her past. She will also become the mother to Henry (Jared Gilmore) that she was unable to be when she was consumed by anger and grief.

 

 

To sum it up:  The reason that fans have latched onto Regina’s character arc over the first six seasons is because despite the world she lives in, we can relate to her. No one is all good or all bad. A good writer is able to flesh out a character in such a way that both the good parts and the bad parts of the character’s makeup are given the chance to be in the spotlight. While Regina has done some bad things in her life and made some mistakes (and truth be told, haven’t we all?), she has proved to be loyal and loving to those who knew her best. That is why we love her and that is why we remember her.

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Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Life, Once Upon A Time, Television

Flashback Friday-Robin Hood (2010)

Hollywood likes reinvention. So much so, that every few years, an old story is recycled into a new adaptation that the film makers will be successful at the box office.

Hollywood’s most recent reinvention of Robin Hood occurred in 2010. Stepping into the shoes of the legendary outlaw was Russell Crowe.  In this movie, Robin Hood starts with the name of Robin Longstride. Maid Marian, Robin’s love interest, played by Cate Blanchett was reinvented as the widow of an aristocrat.  Marion’s father in law, Sir Walter Loxley (Max Von Sydow) convinces Robin to impersonate his son, at least long enough to prevent the crown from confiscating his land. While Robin and Marian are pretending to live in wedded bliss, Godfrey (Mark Strong), a member of court who secretly helping the French plan an invasion of England.  Robin is soon drawn into the dangerous mix of politics, secret aspirations and the threat of war.

Robin Hood has been done to death by Hollywood. Every generation has had it’s own Robin Hood.

But what I liked about this adaptation is that the filmmakers attempted to ground the story into history of the period, instead of relying purely on the myth.  Another factor that appealed to me is that Marian was rewritten from the standard aristocratic damsel in distress to a strong, capable woman who stands up for what she believes in.

I recommend it.

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)-Dracula-Dead And Loving It (1995)

Hollywood and science have a lot in common. When an experiment or a movie is a success, they repeat the formula and hope that the success will be repeated.  Sometimes, the experiment or movie is not as successful as it is hoped to be.

Mel Brooks has developed a reputation over the years to have a unique comedic sense. Not quite politically correct, but insightful, satirical and for the most part, entertaining.

His success in satirizing classics such as Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein, 1974) and Robin Hood (Robin Hood: Men In Tights, 1993) did not extend with the same success to Dracula-Dead And Loving It (1995).

When Dracula (Leslie Nielsen) starts to terrorize London, Harker (Steven Weber) must work with Dr. Seward (Harvery Korman) and Professor Van Helsing (Mel Brooks) to kill the vampire and save his fiance, Mina (Amy Yasbeck).

Were the critics wrong? I hate to say it, but no, they were right.  As much as I adore Mel Brooks as a comedian and a filmmaker, this movie is just not good.

Do I recommend it? No.

 

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Flashback Friday-Robin Hood Triple Feature-Robin And Marian (1976), Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991) & Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993)

Robin Hood is the immortal outsider. A former aristocrat who returns from the Crusades to find that his family is dead, his lands have been confiscated and the woman he left behind, Maid Marian may have moved on with her life.

His story has been immortalized on screen multiple times over.

In 1976, audiences were introduced to a middle aged Robin and Marian in a movie of the same name. Years after the original story ends, fate has again separated our lovers. Robin (Sean Connery) returned to the Crusades to find that Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is now the abbess of a priory. It seems that she is content to live out the rest of her days as a nun. But when the Sheriff Of Nottingham tries to arrest Marian on religious grounds, Robin must step in and fight for the love of his youth.

I like this movie. But then again, I always like when we see old, familiar characters in new situations and in different places in their lives. Another quality that makes this movie an excellent film is the two leads, who are age appropriate and have excellent chemistry.

Fifteen years later, in 1991, a traditional film of adaption of Robin Hood premiered. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves starred Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

I like this movie. There is something about the traditional re-telling of a familiar story that never gets old, no matter how many times one has read the story or seen the movie. And of course, there is the Bryan Adams song that gets stuck in your head, no matter how many times you try to get rid of it.

Finally, in 1993, Mel Brooks, as he always does, put his own spin on the Robin Hood story in Robin Hood: Men In Tights. This time, Cary Elwes stepped into the role of Robin Hood with Amy Yasbeck as Marian and Roger Rees as his longtime nemesis, The Sheriff of Rottingham.

This movie is a solid Mel Brooks production. As he did with Young Frankenstein, he lovingly satirized and altered the story of Robin Hood. And like most Mel Brooks movies, this movie is incredibly funny and quotable.

I recommend all three.

 

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