Reviewed by: Ethan Samuel Rodgers
|Featuring:||Russell Crowe (Robin Longstride), Cate Blanchett (Marion Loxley), Max von Sydow (Sir Walter Loxley), William Hurt (William Marshal), Mark Strong (Godfrey), Oscar Isaac (Prince John), Danny Huston (King Richard The Lionheart), Eileen Atkins (Eleanor of Aquitaine), Mark Addy (Friar Tuck), Matthew Macfadyen (Sheriff of Nottingham), Kevin Durand (Little John), Scott Grimes (Will Scarlet), Alan Doyle (Allan A'Dayle), Douglas Hodge (Sir Robert Loxley), Léa Seydoux (Isabella of Angoulême), See all »|
|Producer:||Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Relativity Media, Scott Free Productions, Russell Crowe, Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott, See all »|
“Before Sherwood Forest, there was an adventure that made him a legend.”
I reasoned with myself recently that a film directed by Ridley Scott couldn’t possibly be terrible, especially with the star power of Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett backing the ticket. This reviewer is surprised to say that, although it wasn’t terrible, “Robin Hood” is certainly no “Gladiator,” and it has its fair share of flaws.
For starters, this film is not about Robin Hood. The film is not about the rogue who steals from the rich, gives to the poor, and out-duels King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham with his cohorts Little John and Friar Tuck. A more appropriate title would have been “The Origins of Robin Hood” or “The Legend of Robin Hood,” as this film deals strictly with Robin’s past and how he became the myth and hero of his time.
As for the story itself, it is obvious that there were three writers who put this together. The story lacks direction and purpose and felt disjointed. This, along with the almost countless historical inaccuracies that ranged from simple cultural and social errors to a completely fabricated battle, made for a tedious and monotonous narrative.
This, however, was redeemed in many ways by the outstanding battle scenes, particularly those toward the beginning of the film. This made for a promising premise and a thrilling introduction, but a disappointing conclusion.
Violence is heavy but kept in check, and there’s no gore, but there are some intense battle sequences, including people struck by arrows, death by spears, swords, and stabbing, and an attempted rape. Profanity is unusually low, but includes 4 uses of “Christ” or “God.” Perhaps the most unfortunate parts of the script are some very suggestive and sexual one-liners that are, for the most part, inappropriate. The innuendo may be humorous, but only distracts from the “epic tone” I believe Scott was shooting for. Jokes range from dealing with sexual performance to encounters with farm animals, and none are particularly necessary. There’s also a scene in which King John is in bed with a woman, and his mother walks in, and they are, obviously, naked.
Other problems involve character development. Crowe’s chemistry with Blanchett is uncomfortable in places, and their romance is bland, while Oscar Isaac plays a King John character that is largely undefined (like other characters in the film), and King John is, surprisingly, not the antagonist in the film. Robin Hood’s posse may be one of the brightest spots in the film, though, as they are playful, fun and enjoyable to watch on screen.
The score is a bit of a misfire, in my opinion, as well. It doesn’t flow well with the script or the actors, and there are far too many “dance and drink and be merry” scenes.
For whatever reason, Scott and company thought it was necessary to try and add to the story of Robin Hood and to explain his origins and essentially rewrite history. In the process, they jam-pack years of history into 2 hours of inaccurate tedium that I think misses the point. Although the concept is interesting, and the action is stellar, Robin Hood, unfortunately, never comes into his own to become the character we’ve come to know and love over the past 70 years in American cinema. As history gets its arm twisted, you’ll likely wonder why the writers chose this story to tell instead of the myth and legend of Robin Hood, as Ridley Scott’s take on “Robin Hood” is, in contrast, long, inconceivable, and, to be blunt, kind of boring.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.