All Robin Hood all the time — Princess of Thieves

June 11, 2020

I don’t remember now how I discovered Princess of Thieves, a 2001 Disney TV movie starring a teenage Keira Knightly as Robin Hood’s daughter, Gwyn. An offhand comment on an offhand post somewhere. But I did, and having just now released my own story about Robin Hood’s daughter, I was intensely interested in this one.

A friend found it on DVD, and I finally watched it. Purely out of professional interest of course.

It’s fun, it’s sweet. It’s a “girl disguises herself as a boy so she can go have adventures” story. The main of the plot involves protecting King Richard’s illegitimate son Philip so he can inherit the throne instead of John, and this is so alt-history it’s a little breathtaking. Like, the entire point of THE GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD is John, Robin Hood’s worst enemy, really actually becomes king of England and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  Princess of Thieves is just like, nope, we do not accept that, off we go.  I spent most of the movie thinking, Waaaahhhh????

I have perhaps over saturated on the research into this particular era.

Malcolm McDowell is a surprisingly understated Sheriff of Nottingham. Will Scarlet is on hand but not Little John for some reason. And I swear Keira Knightly has barely aged at all in 20 years. Gwyn and Philip fall for each other, Gwyn and Robin reconcile, all is well.

My biggest complaint is that this is yet another example of the Disney dead mother thing. Marian is dead. Why is Marian dead? We don’t know. It’s just really important that the main character’s mother be dead. It’s like these people can’t even comprehend what it might be like to have a story with a mother in it. This is a very tiresome trope.

Marian is very alive in THE GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD. She’s one of the viewpoint characters. She’s the only person who is able to tell Robin, Stop it, you’re being unreasonable. And he actually listens. It was very important to me, having both Robin and Marian in the story.

My second biggest complaint with Princess of Thieves is that it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, not even a little, which goes back to my usual ongoing bit of commentary where if you’re going to do such a good job writing a strong woman protagonist, it would support your argument a little better if she were not the only woman in the entire story. (To be fair, there’s one other named woman character, a French matron in league with the Sheriff. But that’s it. To think, all they had to do was have Marian not be dead.)

Shockingly, this isn’t on Disney+. It seems like a natural for Disney+. Maybe at some point? Because it is worth seeing, even with all its late 90’s early 00’s storytelling conventions.


2 Responses to “All Robin Hood all the time — Princess of Thieves”

  1. Josh Gentry Says:

    I like that you are still blogging. The blog is dead, long live the blog!

  2. howardbrazee Says:

    I’ve read different books that have explored what happens if Richard had lived. They seemed to see England as being better off. But without the Magna Carta, its monarchy may have gone the way France’s did.

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