Sunday, January 05, 2014

Nostalgia Theater: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Steals My Heart

I channel-surfed across a TV broadcast of 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the other day, and that got me time warping back to the days when Kevin Costner was such a huge star that he didn't even need to attempt an English accent for global auds to implicitly buy him as a legendary (and legendarily British) do-gooder from Sherwood Forest. In addition to our American-accented Robin, Prince of Thieves also gave us an even rarer movie creation: a bad ass Muslim hero (Azeem, played by Morgan Freeman). For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, here's the the trailer:

As with any blockbuster summer release, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was also expected to carry its weight in marketing and merchandising opportunities. To that end, enter our old reliable toymaker friend Kenner, which, true to form, crafted an array of action figures and accessories all expressly designed to transport kiddies back to the poverty-stricken, plague-infested environs of the film (which begins, lest we forget, with a torture scene in a Moorish prison, and ends with the villain trying forcibly to have his way with the leading lady). Check out a TV spot below for the Kenner figures:

All told, there were eight figures on offer. A couple of Robin Hoods, plus the usual folks you'd expect: the Sheriff of Nottingham (played in the film with wall-chomping glee by Alan Rickman), Little John, Friar Tuck, my man Azeem, etc. (I picked up a few in the remaindered bins in early '92, so I'll assume they didn't do particularly well at retail). Also of note, Kenner scavenged arms, legs, torsos, etc. from past Star Wars and Super Powers assortments, and with very few cosmetic tweaks, turned the "Ewok Playset" from 1983's Return of the Jedi line into the "Sherwood Forest" playset. Voila!

All that said, I gotta say, I love this flick. I really do. To me, Prince of Thieves is the quintessential summer entertainment, and given the era during which it was released (mere weeks before yet another formative summer movie experience also hit theaters), it's so tied up with the neurons juicing my nostalgic sweet spot that there's simply no talking me off that ledge. Heck, just watching the toy commercial above has me wanting to hit up eBay as I type this. Don't even try to point out any so-called "flaws" to me, because I'm just as likely to toss them in your face while laughing haughtily as I am to shoot an arrow at you.

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