The movie Robin Hood and pondering fighting and dying for

May 19, 2010 | By wickley wickley

I went to see the new movie “Robin Hood” this week. It was good—I felt carried away into the time portrayed in the film, which for me is the best part of seeing a movie at a theater. But I left the theater feeling uneasy.

At first I thought it was the violence—there is a pretty graphic war scene towards the end of the film when the French try to land on England’s coast, which is very similar to scenes of WWII battles I have seen throughout my life. Of course, I hate war and it’s consequences, and always have difficulty enjoying films about war. But I love Robin Hood. Including this incarnation. So I reflected on the film, and realized that what had been bothering me happened at the beginning. The movie starts after the Crusades have ended, and King Richard is bringing his men back to England, pillaging in Europe as they go. In this scene, they are attacking a castle so

that they can take the food and wealth of those who live within. Right before they force their way through the castle gate, a woman brings a bucket of soup to the men fighting on the turrets. She tells the men that they should take a break and come eat. Just then, the aggressors are successful. They gain entrance, and go in with swords cutting people down. And as I saw this–people risking their lives, so many on both sides dying in the attack—I thought, ‘Why are they doing this?’

They were doing it for STUFF.

They were risking their own lives, and taking the lives of those who lived in the Castle—for stuff. Even if they were starving, by taking the food from those who lived in the Castle they were condemning the survivors to starvation.

This is no comment on history—I know that the movie wasn’t totally historically accurate. But I thought about all the wars that have been fought, and that are currently being fought, and wondered how often we, as people, have convinced ourselves that it is worth dying—and killing—for stuff.

I’m going to write more about this, and about the consequences for children who live in these countries. But for now, I want to think a bit more about why we would value stuff more than lives.