Dubrovnik: I blame you for continuing this depraved obsession with Robin Hood movies

by | Mar 10, 2017

Dubrovnik, Croatia is yet again the location for another movie set. It seems like the city council just can’t say “no” to a Hollywood offer. Recent movies and television shows shot in Dubrovnik include Star Wars: Episode VIII, Game of Thrones, a Bollywood flick or two, and assorted pirate movies. No problem so far! Those are all fine! (Especially: The Last Jedi, despite Bloomberg’s report about the filming of Star Wars “ruining” people’s holiday.) But this season, Dubrovnik has been “ruined” with the filming of a lesser quantum of movie. This season, Dubrovnik has been turned into a movie set for the upcoming film Robin Hood: Origins. Not okay.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Dubrovnik. It’s a beautiful city, earning every bit of credit as the so-called “Pearl of the Adriatic.” See my post on 6 cools things (and 3 not so cool things) about Dubrovnik. But, another Robin Hood movie? Why? How? Dubrovnik, this is all your fault.

We all know this is going to be a sub 30% Rotten Tomatoes movie. Why must they mess up the Pearl of the Adriatic for less than 30% on Rotten Tomatoes? Why aren’t they fliming in Nottingham? Was all of England unavailable for the re-filming of this English tale? Dubrovnik is in the Balkans. Dubrovnik instills images of turquoise seas, Venetian architecture, and small islands dotting the horizon. Now compare that to Sherwood Forest, the landlocked home of the merry men. Same same?  No, quite different.

Dubrovnik, you agreed to this. I blame you for continuing this depraved obsession we apparently have with additional Robin Hood movies ad absurdum. I can only assume the city council was unaware of the plethora of existing Robin Hood movies, especially the recent ones. Does anyone really think we need another?

The Stradun, or main street, in the old city, festooned with Robin Hood decor to the annoyance of some locals and tourists.

Maybe you have forgotten the many times you’ve been inculcated into the Robin Hood tale via film. It’s almost as bad as Batman in terms of how many movies have been made. Let’s review some of the highlights, shall we? This litany doesn’t even cover them all:

Early Times (pre-1991):

  • Robin Hood (1922) – Smash hit and one of the most expensive movies made to date.
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn (1938) – The one we all know and old people love.
  • The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946) – Even by 1946, the story was played out. This one focused on the son of Robin Hood.
  • The Prince of Thieves (1948) – Cinecolor flick, so you never see the color green in the movie, which makes little sense.
  • Robin Hood and his Merrie [sic] Men (1952) – Walt Disney’s first film about the famous archer.
  • The Son [sic] of Robin Hood (1952) – With a modern twist, there is an imposter posing as Robin Hood’s son. Once they find the real one, they realize he is a “she.”
  • The Men of Sherwood Forest (1953) – The Brits finally caught the Robin Hood fever with this rendition about men in the forest.
  • Robin Hood Daffy (1958) – Porky Pig is Friar Tuck and Daffy Duck is Robin Hood. If you only see one Robin Hood film . . .
  • Sword [sic!] of Sherwood Forest (1960) – The Brits continue the Robin Hood action with this technicolor film, but possibly forgot that Robin Hood was an archer.
  • A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967) – Still caught up in the RH fever, the Brits (again!) were back to redo their first attempt from seven years earlier.
  • Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood (1969) – Began as a TV series and was turned into a film in 1973. Best part about this one is the title.
  • Robin and Marian (1972) – Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. At least there was that.
  • Walt Disney’s Robin Hood (1973) – Robin is a sly cartoon fox. Indoctrination of Gen X children, but otherwise a good watch.
  • The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1984) – Like the title says. Zany like you wouldn’t believe.

Modern Era (post-1991):

  • Kevin Costner as Robin Hood (1991) – All anyone can remember is that annoying song that you could never get out of your head. (You know.)
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) – Unbelievably, probably the finest Robin Hood film we’ve had in my lifetime.
  • Russel Crowe as Robin Hood (2010) – Annoyingly overt political messaging. Not Ridley Scott’s best.

That list is exhausting, but it’s not even exhaustive of the zany Robin Hood mania we have experienced in film over the last century.

Do we really need another zany green-tighted adventure in the “woods”? Do we really want to know about Robin Hood’s “origins”? Was he from the Adriatic? Was he trained in a secret monastery by R’as al Ghul? Were his parents zany as heck? I’m pretty sure we’re okay without another RH film (see, e.g., Netflix).

 But maybe you missed the other hundred or so Robin Hood movies, and maybe you need a quick plot refresher. In case you do (unusual):    

Robin hood is a skilled swordsman and archer. (Okay, I admit, he had a sword too, but the sword was an afterthought – he was mainly an archer.) He lives in Sherwood Forest with his “band” of “merry men.” He goes around the forest in green yoga pants. In general, he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Sherwood Forest is in Nottingham. Again, Nottingham is in England. England is not on the Adriatic.  Which brings me back to my rant. There are really two parts to my rant: (1) We’re really all okay without another zany RH movie. And, (2) if we must have another zany RH movie, why is it being filmed in Dubrovnik? And during my holiday?

Movies require movie sets. You would think that some old gray-stoned English castle would be a great movie set for a Robin Hood movie. Or maybe some place cold and thickly forested with dark green broadleaf trees all over for the merry men to bandy about in. Instead, the next Robin Hood movie will be set among Dubrovnik’s palm tree-lined streets and yellow-toned buildings, not to mention that big blue oceany-looking thing that you really can’t miss when you’re in Dubrovnik.

Some of Dubrovnik’s paved roads and grassy areas have been covered with dirt for the filming. Dubrovnik is a super clean city! It usually doesn’t have dirt. They had to ship the dirt in! From the forest in England, probably! The locals wonder how they are going to clean it up. Movie sets have been built up against the beautiful stone city walls to mimic shanty towns. Shops along the Stradun (the main street in the old city) have had their windows covered up, or have been forced to close altogether. The movie crew has altered the look of the interior of the city. New visitors to the city can’t quite tell what is real and what is make-believe. If you’re in Dubrovnik right now and you want a chicken burek, you can all but forget about getting that chicken burek in the old city. Once you start hankering for a chicken burek and you can’t even get one, I can assure you: that is not make-believe. That is a real-life problem and there is basically no solution to it if you’re in Dubrovnik right now, thanks to Robin Hood.

The Robin Hood shanty town outside the city walls. The ground is normally a paved road lined with grass.

A sea view of the shanty town, complete with mini-sub. I’m sorry, but the merrie damn men did not have a sea view.

So, Dubrovnik, I blame you. I blame you for being too beautiful a city to shanty-up with Robin Hood zaniness. I blame you for prioritizing the movie guilds dollars above that of the lowly tourist. I blame you for continuing our depraved obsession with Robin Hood movies. Dubrovnik, look into my eyes. You will see. What you mean to me. Search your heart. Search your soul. Next year, perhaps you could be a bit more discerning when it comes to movie filming rights.

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