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Robin Hood (2010)


Sorry for such a late entry today. Couldn’t really bring myself to start writing. Anyway, enjoy!

Ridley Scott has directed his fair share of epic films. From Gladiator to Black Hawk Down and Alien, he has always found a way to turn a film genre on its head with amazing visuals and awe-inspiring scenes. With Robin Hood, he tries taking a classic tale, revamping the story and making it brilliant, but ends up biting off a little more than he could chew.

Grade:

If you’re looking for the usual Robin Hood tale, look elsewhere. There is no robbing from the rich and giving to the poor here. This version is actually more of a prequel to the story we all know and love about the bow-and-arrow wielding outlaw. Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride, a magnificent archer for King Richard’s army during the Crusades who, after an ambush, takes on the persona of Sir Robert Loxley, a knight in charge of Nottingham with a lovely wife, Marion (Cate Blanchett). The story of Prince John’s (Oscar Isaac) rise to power and the betrayal of Godfrey (Mark Strong) provide the opposition to Robin’s heroism.

As you may have guessed, the plot gets a little too complex for such a seemingly simply story. Scott and his band of writers and producers start well before Robin becomes the leader of his misfits in Sherwood Forest, and take this as an invitation to fabricate an immense amount of plot. This results in an unnecessarily long and drawn out film (140 min).

About halfway through the film you realize that almost nothing of consequence has happened and nothing has been set up for a climax. I was left wondering what the final “epic” battle would even be about before William Marshal (William Hurt) explained that Godfrey was trying to turn Englishmen against Englishmen while also opening the southern beaches to a French army with King Philip. The opening credits are screens of words in fancy font setting up the opening scenes, which should have been the first clue that I would not be interested in the new story. This is immediately followed by scenes occurring in different small towns of England and France trying to introduce all of the characters.

It’s too much to handle and it becomes obvious Scott is going for epic when the trademark wide, sweeping shots of the British countryside become more frequent. The best parts of the film are the most underused. Friar Tuck (Mark Addy), Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes) and Alan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) provide the comic relief and balancing act to Robin/Crowe’s ultra-serious demeanor. Crowe obviously did not enjoy playing this character, so it was a treat seeing the rest of them having some fun.

In the end, Cate Blanchett/Marion is almost a non-entity in the film and Max von Sydow might as well have not been in the film. The final battle is also incredibly simple for Robin and his friends, but that’s neither here nor there. If you’re looking for something up to Gladiator or any of Scott’s other lofty standards, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Robin Hood drags on an extra twenty-five minutes too long and becomes a highly mediocre film. There’s potential throughout, but not enough to warrant a rewatch or genuine recommendation.

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  1. Its a real shame because this film could have been a decent, mature, serious look at the Robin Hood legend. Writing him as a much more serious, reluctant character than the light-hearted out-and-out hero is an interesting approach but it just felt as if they were writing for a sequel, not actually creating a decent Robin Hood story.

    • Exactly. It all seemed like a precursor to a great movie, but ignored being one itself.

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