I went into the latest Russell Crowe-Ridley Scott film, Robin Hood, knowing relatively little about what kind of movie it was going to be, considering it is, after all, a “blockbuster”.
What I can say is that while Robin Hood is pretty good, it’s certainly no Gladiator.
I had heard that this new depiction of the iconic hero was panned for “pretending” to be historically accurate when it wasn’t, and the film had eschewed all the merriness that made Robin and his men were famous for. Accordingly, compared to previous renditions of Robin Hood, this one was dull and lacking in fun.
I don’t agree with that. Frankly, I couldn’t care less how historically accurate this new Robin Hood is, as long as it is compelling and entertaining to watch. And why must all Robin Hood films be confined to merry men in tights who sing and dance all day? Ridley Scott decided to deliver a more serious, gritty and “realistic” vision of the folktale hero, and I don’t have a problem with that. He can do whatever he wants as long as the result is a good movie.
However, that’s not to say Scott and Crowe hit the bulls-eye with Robin Hood. Don’t get me wrong, the film does have its positives, namely, the performances and the action.
Russell Crowe brings his Maximus charm and brooding presence to Robin Longstride (aka Hood), making him a sound hero; Cate Blanchett was fantastic was Lady Marion, as was Max Von Sydow as her father-in-law, Walter Loxley; Mark Strong shows once again that he can be a superb villain, and Oscar Isaac does a fine job as the surprising King John.
The action sequences are also done very well, with the best moments coming during the initial siege scene and the final climatic battle. It’s not quite Lord of the Rings, but Scott manages to capture that epic scale battle feeling (for the most part) by thrusting you into the middle of the action.
Having said that, it still felt like something was missing. The film is I suppose a prequel to the Robin Hood legend, in the same way that Batman Begins was for Bruce Wayne. But with this Robin Hood, it didn’t feel like there was any character transformation — at the start he was a good archer and an honest man who believed in justice. By the end, he was essentially still the same guy, just with different surrounding circumstances.
Furthermore, while the film didn’t feel particularly long at 140 minutes, I felt as though not a whole lot happened during the running time. I suppose that means I wanted more.
3.5 stars out of 5!
[PS: I don’t get all the hoopla about Russell’s accent. Is it really that big of a deal? Come one, at least he tried, unlike some other Robin Hoods of the past, cough cough Mr Costner…I’d much rather everyone talk about the feral kids in the movie — what the heck was the deal with that?]