JT Film Review

90 – Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood REVIEW

3/5 stars

Director – Ridley Scott

Cast – Russel Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Danny Huston, Oscar Isaac

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Robin Hood is a traditional Hollywood figure, whose story is regularly adapted  into feature films, from Errol Flynn’s classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) to Kevin Costner’s The Prince of Thieves (1991). Most versions tend to keep to the same rough story, but Ridley Scott wanted to, as the buzzword goes, reboot the story, and take it a different route. When the movie was first announced, rumors said that the story would feature Russel Crowe as both Robin Hood and the antagonist, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Apparently this was changed, as the story now is about Robin Hood (or Robin Longstride as he’s known here) before he is outlawed. Essentially this movie is Robin Hood, Batman Begins style.

Now many people had a problem with this revisionist style. I personally did not, and I actually really liked it. In fact the beginning sequence, with Robin and the English army (led by Richard the Lionheart) attacking a French castle, was quite exhilarating in a messy, grimy sort of way. What got me about the movie was its draggy, dreary, and unfocused feeling. As the movie progresses many plot points of the movie are not presented clearly, and motivations for some characters are muddy. In other words, we see people doing things, then doing other things, without a clear explanation for why they changed their mind or even their allegiance.

The movie does start off well, very well in fact. Russel Crowe looks perfectly at home in a medieval time period, and the supporting cast is decent to very good. William Hurt has always been a capable actor, and Oscar Isaacs as an oily but still surprisingly sympathetic Prince John performs very well also. Cate Blanchett is tough and hardened as Marion, and Mark Strong is a perfect villain. The problem is that most of these characters aren’t utilized very well. This could be because of the size of the supporting cast and the attention each character receives. The characters are stretched too thin, as each fights for more screen time. This merely results in everyone receiving less screen time, and thus, less development.

The second half of the movie features Robin Hood presenting to King John a charter which would guarantee every Englishman rights and freedoms (an obvious nod to the Magna Carta, which the actual King John was forced to sign by his knights years later.) Personally I found this a bit ridiculous, especially as right after this Robin apparently coins the phrase “An Englishmen’s home is his castle.” Why didn’t they have him inventing tea and crumpets and whistling ‘Rule Britannia” while looking over the plans for London Bridge while they’re at it? It felt like Scott was pandering to his audience here, as he was with the final battle also. Rarely have I seen a more clichéd collection of stereotypical battle sequences.

What I truly don’t understand is how Ridley Scott, the director of such good (even great) and unique films as Alien, Blade Runner, Matchstick Men, even Gladiator, can turn out a purely mediocre, and in some ways formulaic, film like this. Has he lost his touch? Does he rely on Russel Crowe too much? This is their 5th movie together, after all…

OVERALL

Robin Hood is a capable enough medieval movie, and starts of well, but soon loses points with its lack of clarity and its dreariness. The cast performs admirably, but cannot fight the directors seeming tiredness. This could have been quite good, but unfortunately barely rises above an average action flick. Then again, it’s better than Prince of Thieves.

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TRAILER

“Robin Hood” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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May 17, 2010 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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