Intro: I haven’t seen Rogue One yet. It’s driving me crazy because it came out almost a month ago. There was a time in my life where I would have gladly accepted the fact that I have no excuse for not seeing it. That time in my life came to an end at 9:30 am on August 5th, 2010. That was the moment my eldest child Liam was born. Since that day, my family has added 2 more children, Owen aged 4 and Josephine aged 2, as well as 6 nephews and 1 niece (side point: yes, Josephine and Sadie are a little spoiled and infallible, but they’re the only 2 girls so they get away with it).
I love being a dad and as my dad did for me growing up, there are some things I love that I can’t wait introducing to my children when they get older. This list is the 25 that I am the most excited about. Some of them have already happened and some we have to wait for because they aren’t old enough, which is the reason why I didn’t take my sweet and sensitive 6 year old to go see Rogue One when he and I had a free Friday. Anyway, on to number 25…
- Errol Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood: One of the oldest entries on this list comes in last. This movie survives as the prototype for all other Robin Hood adventures. They are either an homage to it or a deconstruction of it. Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood is the benchmark for the outlaw from Sherwood. I love adventure stories and historical films and this fills with me with a sense of adventure every time I see it. It hits almost all of the basics of the Robin legend: his love for Maid Marian, his first encounters with Little John and Friar Tuck and the desire to restore King Richard to the throne.
Fun Historical aside: King Richard was actually a terrible king. He reigned for ten years and only lived in England for about 6 months. He was more concerned with advancing his family interests in France. He had inherited these interests from his mother’s side of the family and by the time of Richard’s ascension to the throne, England controlled almost half of France. He viewed England as his piggy bank to raise funds to fight wars in France and also to eventually embark on the Third Crusade, which proved ultimately unsuccessful. On his way home he was captured, and the taxes raised by Prince John were for his ransom. So if Robin Hood hadn’t been stealing all the taxes, Richard might have been home sooner. Sadly, the other fact that every Robin Hood movie doesn’t bring up, except for Ridley Scott’s version which I really enjoy, is that since Richard spent all of his time campaigning, he never produced an heir and John become king anyway. He proves to be such an inept king that his barons make him sign the Magna Carta which the basis for modern representative government in the west. I suppose if you live in a democracy that means this all turns out for the best. John also has one of my favorite all time historical deaths, he dies after eating a meal of peaches and beer.
Back to the movie, it is pure fun. It was one of the first movies that captured my imagination for a different time. It led my brother and me to endless hours of Robin Hood battles with our Legos. Oddly enough, growing up those are some of my favorite memories because they were the longest uninterrupted periods of playing together. We would spend a chunk of time building up a huge castle, make sure that all of our knights and merry men were prepared, then we would tear it all down. I don’t ever remember it being a competition, it was just us sitting together, telling the story of Robin Hood saving Maid Marian from Prince John and his minions.
That leads me to my last little point about this movie, it doesn’t feature the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood’s arch nemesis is instead Sir Guy of Gisborne, played by Basil Rathbone, the first great screen Sherlock Holmes (that is a career, being in the definitive Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes). John and Guy are the schemers and villains and they are marvelous. It is just odd that in the stories and every other movie version, there is at least some version of the sheriff present.
Have I shared this with my kids? Yes, we watched it over Christmas break. They liked it but didn’t love it. For me, it was fun to watch again, and I think we might give it a go in a couple years when they are older. The boys had a little difficulty following what was going on but they enjoyed the colors and the pageantry. They laughed whenever the good guys laughed (and this movie has a bunch of “laugh because the boss is laughing” scenes) and they showed concern for Maid Marian and Robin. They kept trying to compare scenes with the animated Disney Robin Hood, and I think that just made this a little too much for them. Anyway, not a bad start to this list, but it will definitely get better.
Outro: as for Rogue One, I was going to see it over Christmas break with my wife. I had a surprise baby sitter and free movie tickets all lined up. Then life intervened. My wife had to go to Seattle for a family emergency and that scuttled all of our plans over the New Year’s portion of the break. Never fear, my mother in law arrives for a 2 week visit in approximately 72 hours, which means that I will be watching Rogue One in a movie theater in approximately 72 and half hours. Let’s be honest, she isn’t flying from Seattle to Kansas city and then driving to Wichita to see me, it’s her daughter and her grand-kids, and that’s fine.