So How Is The CW’s Arrow as an Archer?

Geek Culture

TV network The CW recently announced that they have picked up the new series Arrow for next season; based on the DC Comic Green Arrow, the show tells the story of young Oliver Queen, millionaire playboy by day, archery-themed vigilante by night. Today a teaser trailer was released.

I suppose I had it coming. Ever since I wrote those critiques of the archery in Brave, Hunger Games, and most infamously, the two about Hawkeye in The Avengers, I’ve had lots of people ask me my opinion of the archery in a great many movies and TV shows past and present. Arrow is just the latest, and I’m only writing this so people will stop asking about it.

So what do we have here?

The actual archery isn’t bad; he’s got a decent form, though he might want to work on rotating that elbow away from the bow a bit. The big fail here is the equipment. Starting with the dusty old crate: who stores their bow in a big wooden crate? Why not a regular bow case? Second, of course, is the fact that the bow has been stored still strung; nobody who knows anything about archery would ever do that. It’s bad for the bow, and can result in a bow that shatters at some point down the line. Third, what kind of bow is that? To me, it looks like a modern take-down recurve that somebody has stuck a bunch of pseudo-steampunk brass fiddly bits onto for no good reason. More importantly, it looks like a child’s bow, maybe 46″ long or so. A bow of that size is suitable for a kid up to about age 10 or four-and-a-half feet tall, whichever comes first. For an adult, it’s much too small. It looks like they put a shorter string on it to give it a deeper profile, but that doesn’t help anyone either.

Unless you’re using exotic gear such as a Mongolian Horseman’s bow, the bow should be at least another 16-20 inches taller than the one we see here. Most likely this is a case of either the director or the prop-master going for a bow that they thought “looked cool,” probably over the objections of an archery expert they hired to ignore. It’s quite possible that somebody involved picked up an old copy of Green Arrow Secret Files & Origins from 2005, which describes Ollie’s bow as being 46″ long (I demolished that nonsense at the Suspension of Disbelief blog years ago), and decided that it was the right bow to use, because that’s what the comics said. The actor does the best he can with ill-fitting equipment, and aside from a lack of follow-through (he drops the bow as soon as he releases the arrow, which is sloppy), he looks pretty good in his shooting, but he’d have better arm extension if they let him use a grown-up’s bow.

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