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As The Crowe's Arrows Fly
On his way back from the crusades with King Richard the Lionheart an unfortunate skirmish has dire consequences for England. Robin Longstride is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Robin Hood is not your typical Robin Hood movie, being Ridley Scott it was never going to be just the traditional story that we all know. It is however set in the same period in history, the time of Richard The Lionheart's crusades and his notoriously bad brother John.
From the trailers I was expecting this to be Gladiator in tights, which would be no bad thing. It's true there are similarities to Gladiator but not as many as I was expecting.
As with all Ridley Scott film, it looks very impressive, not as impressive as some of his other work, Gladiator included but good nonetheless. The sets don't seem as convincing as some other of Scotts historical pieces. The first battle is nice to look at for sure.
The soundtrack won't be winning any awards like it did with Blade Runner and Gladiator, it's just an average classical soundtrack that blends in very well but is not memorable in any way.
I'm not totally convinced at the choice of Russell Crowe as Robin, he seems to be in every other Scott film these days and that's starting to get a bit clichéd now, just like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are. I do like Crowe but there were bound to be comparisons to Gladiator with him in the title role, and I don't think he is convincing enough here.
I wasn't at all convinced by some of the people who would become the merry men, especially Friar Tuck with his strong mancunian accent, I think he was in the terrible (IMHO) Full Monty, he seems to be playing the same role here.
The best performance on show here by far is the excellent Max von Sydow as Marion's father, he steals the scenes he is in.
I couldn't help but notice the Saving Private Ryan styling of the main battle, slow mo underwater shots with arrows killing drowning soldiers. The final battle really had some bizarre moments, you'll have to see it to see what I mean, Scott seems to have forgotten about his usual attention to detail and relative accuracy in that scene for sure. They also seem to have had WWII style landing craft, albeit made out of wood, complete with retractable ramps at the front in Medieval times, I think not.
The biggest problem with Robin Hood is that it feels underdeveloped; the story could have been tightened for sure. The end battle and the ending in general leaves a little to be desired. Having said that, a second viewing helps with the enjoyment with lowered expectations and it's not taxing so is not a bad escapism.
I know Ridley Scott is getting on now and he seems to have a lot of projects on the go, but I think he should take more time in future, he must have at least one more classic in him. This film has prequel written all over it, although there's no sign yet of one.
Main Cast List
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
Directed By : Ridley Scott
Running Time : 140 Mins
Certificate : PG-13
(FILM ONLY REFVIEW)
The legend of Robin Hood who 'steals from the rich to give to the poor' has been rich picking for filmmakers since he very beginning of cinema. From the classic 1920's silent version starring Douglas Fairbanks, the Oscar winning first colour version with Errol Flynn (that some still consider the definitive version) to more recent offerings such as 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' starring the improbably cast Kevin Costner, the legend has fascinated and entertained countless film audiences.
The elements of the story are well known to us and have been essentially the same in over thirty different versions. Most have Robin a loyal knight of King Richard fight against the oppression of the king's younger brother John and help the ordinary people survive tyranny with the help of his band of outlaws hiding deep in Sherwood Forest. Very few of these films have stuck to the original legend, not that the original story of Robin Hood is all that clear and the version we all know today is mostly based on Hollywood's interpretation of it. Some films have tried to focus of different aspects of the story a good example would be 1976 version 'Robin and Marian' starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, which showed us an ageing Robin years after the events in the original story. By contrast this film Ridley Scott's spin on the Robin Hood tale is a sort of a prequel to the familiar story.
We meet Robin as a common bowman in King Richard the Lionheart's army coming back from the crusades, battling and looting their way back through France. In this version Robin is not a nobleman he is simply Robin Longstride and not Robin Locksley the knight as in other films. When the king dies in battle Robin and some of his fellow soldiers Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, return to England. On the way back they come upon a dying knight Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by the traitorous Godfrey who in league with the French king plans on a French invasion of England. Robin promises Robert that he will take his sword back to Nottingham where his father Sir Walter Locksley lives. On meeting Robin, Walter persuades him to impersonate his dead son to prevent his land being confiscated by the new King John. He also has to pretend to be the husband of lady Marian Locksley's widow. Soon enough Robin and his friends become involved in the political machinations of the realm with on one side the warring Barons who are fed up with John's oppression and on the other the threat of invasion from France.
Ridley Scott is a master director of the epic story famously previously collaborating with Russell Crowe on 'Gladiator' and taking on the story of the crusades in 'Kingdom of Heaven'. So the least we can expect from this director is some well choreographed and exciting battle scenes and to this extent we are not disappointed. There are some great moments in the film when the English army is besieging a castle and other battles in the forest and on the beaches. The props and special effects budget has been well spent and the weapons, armour, costumes and dirt all have a naturalistic look. Medieval England is not presented in the classical Hollywood way with rolling green hills, fairy tale castles, noble peasants and chivalrous knight flying colourful banners. Life in this film is bleak for the ordinary people as they are bled dry by the crown's unfair taxes. The landscape is dark and mud splattered, even nobility live in little more than comfortable hovels. I would say that the first hour of the film is excellent in showing us a realistic vision of life at the time with the brutality of war ever-present and the reality of poverty and subjugation for most people. The characters are believable and there is a good chemistry between Robin and Marion. Unfortunately the film cannot sustain this promising beginning.
Russell Crowe is good enough as the gruff Robin and is certainly more believable than Costner ever was. While Costner didn't attempt an accent Crowe does but I'm not sure which part of the country he's aiming for. It does end to change as the film goes on starting with a slight Northern lilt and ending up more Irish meets West Country by the end. Cate Blanchet is good value as the bolshie Marion who matches up to Robin in every way as his lover and fellow warrior. In fact the cast generally is very classy. The great veteran actor Max von Sydow is at his usual compelling best as the elderly knight trying to protect his estate and his people from the excesses of the greedy King John. The ubiquitous Mark Strong makes a great villain as Sir Godfrey ordering defenceless men to be cut down without mercy and their women and children to be burnt alive. Another Hollywood heavyweight (certainly from a few years ago) William Hurt plays the pragmatic William Marshall the brains behind the crown very convincingly. Surprisingly his English accent is certainly better than Crowe's. Leading British character actress Eileen Atkins (is she a Dame yet?) conveys just the right amount of imperiousness as Eleanor of Aquitaine one of the most influential and important characters in European medieval history. The usual mainstays of the Robin Hood story Little john, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett and the evil Sheriff are all slightly in the background since as this is a prequel their parts are not yet central to the story.
As you might gather so far I've been quite complementary about this film so where does it go wrong to only warrant a three star rating?
As I said the first half of the film is pretty good setting up the scenes and fleshing to the characters as well as giving the well know story a new fresh angle, however the plot goes off the rails at about the time when Robin is told about of his forgotten past as a child. The film then tries to change itsellf into an English version of 'Braveheart' with lots of pontificating about the rights of ordinary men and 'Freedom!' It tries to link in the baron's revolt and the signing of the Magna Carta to a universal right for every man to be free at one point Robin actually says "In England, every man's home IS his castle". The whole premise apart from being historically inaccurate is also preposterous. The Magna Carta although a significant event in the shift of power from the crown to the people, only benefitted a small number of wealthy landowners. It would be inconceivable for a common man like Robin to be able to speak to baron's and kings on an equal footing let alone gain their respect of be able to convince them that the rights of the peasants were has important as those of the barons, in reality he would probably have been hung drawn and quartered for simply daring to speak up! This is a pity since the second half of the film never really recovers from this. I suppose we have to blame the writer Brian Helgeland for this misjudgement, which is surprising coming from someone with a very distinguished record having penned scripts for 'LA Confidential' , 'Mystic River' and the fun 'A Knight's Tale'.
The film's final set piece confrontation between the English forces loyal to the crown and the French invaders is also a little bit of a letdown. Without giving anything away at the end of the film the Robin Hood legend has been restored to its traditional place and as we find Robin and his merry men outlaws in Sherwood Forest, a sequel waiting to be made.
CAST & TECHIE THINGS
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
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Brian Helgeland
Runtime: 140mins (which is the one I watched but a director's cut at 159min is also available).
UK certificate 12 A, which is fair enough, not much to worry about for parents.
It's not a bad film with some points to admire, the cast is good and the look of the film is believable. The action sequences are to the standard we have come to expect from a director like Ridley Scott. The fault lies in the script and the need to introduce a political dimension to the story that could not have existed at the time which derails the whole project towards the end. I'd still say it's worth watching and if a sequel does come to fruition it might be even better.
A film which showed much potential but never quite realised it.
Recommended with some reservations.
© Mauri 2011
Robin Hood was a 2010 film starring Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchette directed by Ridley Scott which is in essence a prequel explaining Hood's rise from mercenary soldier into famed outlaw. Robin Longshanks is an archer in the army of Richard I who is suddenly made into an unemployed mercenary when the king is killed fighting in France. Robin must return to England and risk his life in the lands ruled by the malevolent king's younger brother John. With him are Alan A Dale, Will Scarlett and Little John all members of his brigade, as they escape the army they come across the slain bodies of a troop of soldiers carrying the crown back to England, one of them is still alive a man called Robin of Loxley who implores Robin to take his sword back to his father as a final payment for an old argument. Robin Longshanks spots an opportunity and becomes Robin of Loxley and his men masquerade as knights attached to Loxley's retinue.
The scene is now set for the film to begin in earnest, returning to Loxley he meets his supposed wife Marion and his blind father. He is honest with the dealings and tells them that their son and husband is dead and returns the sword. However, Loxley's father persuades Robin to take over the title of his dead son and ward off hungry eyes of neighbouring estates. So Robin Longshanks becomes Robin of Loxley and we are off, the film can begin and the reasons for transmuting into Hood can become apparent.
The film sounds brilliant, it has Russell Crowe doing his best Gladiator style in 12th century England, Cate Blanchette looking appreciatively lovely in tight gowns and severe head sets and we have Ridley Scotts famed love of theatre, grit and darkness to show medieval England off to its best effect. So why does it fall flat? The film is long at 151 minutes and feels longer, visually it is stunning but the viewer starts to find his mind wandering from the plot and that's a sure sign things aren't grabbing your attention.
The main gripe is with the change from swashbuckling outlaw into something akin to a freedom fighter, all grit and brawn and little wit. Crowe gives Hood an accent never heard before a mixture of Irish, Welsh, middle England and once a rather odd East coast accent. This could be deliberate trying to show the heterogeneous population of King Richard's army and therefore the influences exerted on Robin's accent but none of the other members of his band have the same accents and they all sound like Englishmen. I suspect the problem is Russell himself and his lack of ability at languages, strange for a man who did a passable impersonation of Captain Jack Aubrey on Master and Commander.
There are however, bigger much more glaring problems with this film; one is the major historical inaccuracies some are slight and perhaps not too much of an issue but King John fighting on a beach against Prince Louis of France's forces? Hmm that never happened or happened right at the end of John's regime when the baron's were truly sick of him. John also promises to sign a charter of laws but then reneges, is this Magna Carta? Because if it is that all happened 15 years after John becomes king not immediately and he did sign it though chose to try and destroy it immediately the following year.
So that's the historical problems, the film also takes the Robin Hood legends and well ignores most of them, Marion as a married women, not much of a maid there, but the film does have a few lines explaining that Robin Loxley had to leave to join the crusades a week after the marriage so maybe she remained a maid?
The are other issues, why do historical films chose to ignore the need to make a film with interesting dialogue? The film a series of battles, which is connected by Russell Crowe grunting a few weirdly accented lines explaining what's going on, Cate Blanchett looking lovely but not doing much else and on to the next battle. There are also in a film 151 minutes long certain sections where you think you've missed a key scene or something, so Robin and Marion go from cool friendship to a firing relationship in a blink of an eye and Robin goes from local unknown mercenary soldier into the general of the King's army fighting the French. When did that happen? and finally the reason for outlaw status appears little more than a nasty king's moment of spite hardly legendary status.
Overall visually stimulating but after an hour this viewer suddenly had a hankering for the Costner version along with dodgy Texan accent and big hair. Not the best sign for the new interpretation of a legend?
When I first saw the trailer for this film I thought- Oh no , ridley scott and Russel crowe again its going to be like Gladiator 2, but when I saw the film I was surprised how good it was, its not fantatsic mind, but better the I expected.
The main reason fom this is that Scott starts the film from a diferent angle then the story we are used to. Our hero is not Robin of Loxley the nobleman, its Robin Longstride a commoner archer.
Synopsis: Robin Longstride is an archer is King Richard 'the lionshearts' crusades. After decades of fighting in the middle east, Kinrg Richard needs to return to england to raise funds and loyalty. On the way back through europe, he stops and pillages for treasures. In a running battle for a castle on the western coast of france, the king is mortally wounded. Now dead his crusade is over and his crown must be returned to England so that his brother John, a dcadent and irresponsible royal, can be coronated. Robin Longstride and his chums Little John the infantaryman, Allan adayle an archer and musician and Will scarlett the archer decie to mak a run for the coast before the rest fo the army do and the passage to england becomes expensive. On the way back they run into a contingent of french, who , led by a triator english noble, godfrey have ambushed the english envoy with the crown. Godfrey has done a dal with the french king to depose the weak and decadent english throne and desperse the rest of the northern barrons, leaving the country open to french invasion. But as longstrides men takes out the ambushors they return the crown themselves and longstride has to assume to identity of the noble robin of loxley. One John is coronated, longstride goes to nottingham where sir loxley tkaes him in as his son returned from the crusades. But in the knowledge that godfrey hadsd esigns for a french king, longstride joins forces with King John and the barons to depose the french invasion. After the invasion is beaten away, King john renegs on his deal wiht longstride for the rights of his subjects to be increased and eclares longstride an outlaw. This is where the regular robin hood story begins.
Apart his terrible accent , which sounds more west country then middel egnland , Russel crowe is quite good as is cate blacnchet, her accent is less intense and this seems to work. But bless em for trying, Kevin costner didnt. Kevin Durant is excellent as little john, he plays the physical character as usual but his accent is great and hes really coming on from his last films in xmen origins and wildhogs. Scott grimes is great as will scarlet, I think his accent is welsh ! and Matt Macfayden is fantatsic as the gutless bystande sheriff of nottingham, not the violent nucase version alan rickman portrayed. Max von syndow is good as the eccentric blind sir loxley as is william hert as marshal.
The battle scenes filmed in HD digital have the movment and pace of those in gladiator, lots of extras and forward running shots, as well as slow mo action shots. Good CGI was used for some of the effects and a couple of nice aerial shots lik when Godfrey gets it. Some of the dialigue scens are a bit too slow, but the dialogue is interesting enough to keep you engaged. The only problem is that the film is two and a half hous, so Id say its 30 mins too long really.
Costumes and locations were very good, lots of shots through the woods and the costumes dont look too tattered and so a bit ungenuine.
Soundtrack might have been good but the dialigue and soudeffects took the foreground but this might have been the DVD
It's hard to think of a story that has been told as often and in as many ways as that of Robin Hood. It's really an ideal story to be made for entertainment, combining as it does romance and action as well as the feel good nature of someone robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. However, after several TV series, including the recent BBC version and the epic film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (the word "epic" used here to denote how annoying that Bryan Adams song became), Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe have combined for a new version. After making such a sumptuous spectacle of "Gladiator", the two are taking another view of the Robin Hood story here, looking to show how he became the figure of legend.
In this version of "Robin Hood", Robin Longstride is merely an archer in King Richard's army; a rogue who is seemingly as adept with his mouth as with his bow, a trait which soon puts him in the stocks. Escaping soon after the death of King Richard and fleeing his own army, he comes across an ambush of the soldiers returning the King's remains to England. Routing the invaders, he makes a promise to a dying man that he will see his sword returned home to his father. Returning to the soldier's home in Nottingham, the man's father persuades Robin to live as his returned son in the hope of protecting his lands from thieves and the new King's tax collectors. Finding much to amuse them in Nottingham, Robin's men are happy to stay, although the dead man's wife is less keen on the idea of having a replacement husband forced upon her.
Keen to keep their new townsfolk happy, Robin and his men find a way of ambushing the tax collectors and returning what rightly belongs to them. In the meantime, the political landscape of England is changing, with many of the nobles unhappy about the taxes imposed by the new King. His tax collector, Godfrey, is secretly in league with the French and is hoping to start a civil war between King John and the English nobles so a French invasion force can sneak across the Channel unnoticed.
Whilst it's good to see someone approaching the Robin Hood story from a different angle, with all the similar stories out there, I'm not entirely convinced that it's been a terribly successful attempt. It may well have been successful with someone else at the helm, but Ridley Scott tends to try and do things on a grand scale and that doesn't really work this time around. In addition, he seems to have been distracted by the success of "Gladiator" and has set about replicating many parts of that film here, also to limited success.
The first issue I had with the film was with the story. The different approach is appreciated, but there seem to be about four separate sub-plots all happening at once and it just gets a little messy and confusing at times. Ultimately, the film ends up more or less where you would expect an "origins" style film of Robin Hood to be and most of the characters many of us will know and love from seeing the story told elsewhere are present, but it takes an awfully long route to get where it needs to be. The pacing was horribly done, with battle scenes interspersed with much story building meaning that the film moved quite quickly for a little while and then slowed down for a spell. Despite the big battle scene that opened the film, again in a similar way to "Gladiator", there were relatively few major fight sequences and very little of the skilled archery work we've come to expect from Robin Hood adaptation, apart from right at the end, and even one of those was played mostly for laughs.
The story also doesn't allow for consistency of the characters at points, either. Even ignoring that the story plays a little fast and loose with history, as fact is always the first thing to go if it interferes with a decent story, it still requires a greater suspension of disbelief than usual for a film of this type. The viewer is expected to believe that a group of men would follow and stay loyal to one who they blamed for putting them in the stocks to begin with; we're supposed to believe that Marian would talk to Robin about her marriage less than a day after being totally against their fake union and threatening to sever his manhood; we're supposed to believe that a deserter and someone who is quick to torture an enemy under questioning would have a streak of honour as wide as he seems to. I suppose it's certainly possible, but it's hard to believe and that strains the edges of a story that seems packed to the brim, if not overly full to start with.
Part of the inconsistency here is in the acting talent on display. Russell Crowe stormed off a Radio 4 show when questioned about his accent and accused of making Robin Hood sound Irish and, with good reason. At various points throughout the film, his accent seems to change between his native Australian, Irish, Scottish and several others, often during the same sentence. I've noticed that the hint of Irish in his accent is strongest after a character with an Irish accent has just spoken, but it's even worse than Kevin Costner's distinctly American Robin Hood in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", as at least Costner only had the one accent throughout; the wrong one, admittedly, but he was at least consistently bad, as opposed to Crowe who veers from bad to worse. Cate Blanchett's performance is perhaps surprisingly spotty and she also seemed to have a couple of slightly different accents, as well as a demeanour that put me in mind of Daphne Moon from "Frasier". Her chemistry with Russell Crowe was not at all convincing, especially given how far and how quickly their relationship is supposed to have advanced. She looked more in love with the runaway children of Nottingham than she ever did with Robin Longstride.
Max von Sydow doesn't sound much like he's from Nottingham either, but at least his accent is consistent throughout the film and he does perform quite convincingly as a blind man. Strangely, despite the dreadful performances from the two lead actors, the rest of the cast perform quite well. Mark Addy was the perfect choice for Friar Tuck and hammed it up enjoyably, especially when he was playing drunk. Matthew McFadyen's Sherriff of Nottingham wasn't given much to do, but looked to be enjoying himself. Danny Huston had the same situation, but was hampered slightly with his speaking voice sounding a little too much like Richard Harris' as Marcus Aurelius in "Gladiator", yet another comparison to be drawn between the two films. For me, however, the standout performances were Oliver Strong as Godfrey and Oscar Isaac as Prince and then King John. Strong was entirely believable as the evil Godfrey and Isaac perfect as the weak, yet conniving, John.
The script didn't help too much, being somewhat bland and generic at very points. It helped turn Danny Huston into a pastiche of Marcus Aurelius from "Gladiator" and gave Russell Crowe what should have been a rousing speech, but for his poor accent. The best lines were, as is common in films, saved for when the characters were sniping at each other. Marion Loxley had the most sarcastic lines and Cate Blanchett delivered them passably well. Prince John was either delivering or on the receiving end of most of the insults which were generally good fun and Godfrey got the most menacing lines which, with Mark Strong's performance being the best of all the actors on display, were the best delivered as well. For the most part, however, much of the script was fairly generic and didn't allow many of the characters to fully express themselves.
The music fell into most of the traps of similar films, with stirring orchestral movements for the battle scenes and quieter music for the more emotional scenes. The only really memorable music was the intentional music, the songs sung on the voyage home from France and when the Merry Men were celebrating their return home with the women of Nottingham. Alan Doyle, who plays Allan A'Dayle, is apparently a singer and his voice is very good, sounding like a 12th Century version of Lemmy from Motorhead or Richie Edwards from Stone Gods. The song on the ship was a rousing sea shanty I enjoyed and one around the fire that was interrupted started off sounding very much like a rugby song I used to sing when I was at school. The situational music may have not been up to much, but these moments were the perfect example of how well music can work within a film. Sadly, they were to be about the only decent moments of the film.
There were some decent ideas here, but most of them were buried under Ridley Scott's thinking that if he was going to have a strong hero in a film, he had to make "Gladiator" all over again. The approach to the Robin Hood legend in an origin fashion was a good one and films like "Batman Begins" have shown that this approach can be successful in bringing new life to an old story, but Scott clearly wasn't the right man to be doing that job here, as Christopher Nolan was for Batman. This was a film that had its moments, but they were buried under so much dross and such bad performances from the lead actors that it really didn't work well as a film. The other thing that "Batman Begins" did well that "Robin Hood" doesn't was to fill the screen time well. As is Ridley Scott's way, this is a long film, running to just under 2 ½ hours in the extended DVD version and there really isn't enough here to keep anyone interested for that long and ideally the deleted scenes section on the DVD should have been longer and the film much shorter.
The only extra feature on the DVD version is a collection of deleted scenes which are presented with an introduction and optional commentary from the film's editor, Pietro Scalia. There is a short introduction and 10 deleted scenes, running just over 13 minutes in total. It is quite amusing to hear him say that scenes have been removed to save time and to improve the dynamic of a film that, even without them, runs too long and moves too slowly. These scenes don't add a great deal, although there is a touch of humour in some of them that wouldn't have gone amiss in the film, just to break things up a little. For the most part, the film manages without them and the commentary is largely the editor talking about why they were cut, which isn't interesting after the first run through and which took me a while to figure out how to turn off.
The poor selection and quality of the DVD extras, combined with the poor quality of the film mean that this is a DVD that is in no way worth a purchase. Even at the cheapest price I have found of £1.99 including postage from eBay, it's still not worth the money. This is a film I suspect will soon appear on Sky Movies and be available to view for free and that is really the only money worth paying for it. Even then, it may well be worth setting it to record so you can then skip over the dross and just watch selected scenes But by far the most sensible option would be to not bother at all and skip the whole thing. The Robin Hood story has been told so many times before that a far superior version won't be too difficult to find.
Ever wondered how Robin Hood came to be, well then the recent movie Robin Hood featuring Russell Crowe is just the thing for you. Of course, I'm sure some people will ahve reservations of a New Zealand/Australian actor playing one of the most famous English men of all time but this kind of role is right up his street (think Gladiator) and I quite enjoyed this movie. In fact it was directed by Ridley Scott who also did the Gladiator so even before seeing it you knew it was probably going to be an epic and very good.
What I really liked about this movie was actually the story. It's not often that I generally like the story in these types of movies, of course the action is good as are the costumes, the scenery etc but the story is generally a bit lacking for me but I really enjoyed this story and wanted to know what happened next all the way through. What with the Robin Hood series on the television and other movies about this subject I think sometimes we can feel like we've seen it all before but what I really liked about the story was that it was something new and told us how Robin Hood came to be loved by the poor!
The trailer for this DVD says, "Discover the untold story of the man behind the legend as Robin, a heroic warrior, turns outlaw when he assembles a band of skilled marauders to confront injustice and lead an uprising against a weak and corrupt English king. When the rebellious hero falls for the spirited Lady Marion he must first save her village and then confront a growing storm of threats from near and afar if he is to win her heart. As Robin and his men answer a call to ever-greater adventure, these unlikely heroes set off to battle for their country and return England to glory...and ride into legend."
I liked Russel Crowe as Robin, I have to admit it was probably looking at this body that made him quite good but still I think he did the famous role justice. The storyline between him and Lady MArion was really good. Although Maid Marion generally features in all Robin Hood stories she doesn't always have a big part but she played quite a big part in this movie which I liked, there was quite a lot of love story in this movie which is something, as a girl I really like. Saying that though I didn't really like CAte Blanchett in this role. I think she looked too old and I picture Marion as a younger, prettier girl somehow and can't really see how Robin would fall for her but that's just my opinion.
This film was released in 2010 and according to an article I read, as of August 5, 2010, the film has grossed $105,257,055 in the United States and Canada (33.9%) and grossed $205,366,063 in other countries (66.1%), totaling $310,623,118 worldwide.
The DVD was just recently released and can be bought with a Director's Cut which includes 16 extra minutes not seen in cinemas and 10 bonus deleted scenes. The film is rated 12 as it contains moderate violence and sex references.
There has been more version of Robin Hood in the past 20 years than any other character that I can think of, the film with Kevin Costner, the TV series on BBC1 that lasted longer than expected and now we have a new film with Russell Crowe. At first I was sceptical about watching this as I believed it was going to be another run of the mill film, in fact the legend of Robin Hood has been told in so many different variations that I think the basis is actually lost somewhere in amongst all the story and plot and yet the film feels very original and also a story that in my opinion has actually broken the mould in the same way that Batman Begins or Star Trek actually achieved with there reboots.
Robin Longstride returns from the Crusades, fighting in France alongside King Richard. He is a common archer that fights for his King and Country. After the King is murdered an opportunity to escape the French is taken by Robin and his men to get back to England, on their journey they come across an ambush taking place upon the Knights returning the Crown back to England, the French were tipped off on the route the Knights would take to get to a boat bound for England. Robin and his men dive into the ambush and defeat the French with the ringleader receiving a nasty gash as one of Robin's arrows score his face. Upon discovering the Crown the men take the identity of the mudered Knights and return to England, Robin has been requested by a dying Knight at the scene of the ambush that he returns his sword back to his Father in Nottingham, the Knight was called Sir Robert of Loxley. This is the twist as the common soldier has entered the story as more of a con man rather than hero and he has to prove his worth while winging the situations that he has placed himself in.
The character of Robin Longstride, played by Russell Crowe, is far darker and deeper than he previous incarnations. In fact the character has a number of unresolved issues around the death of his Father and his childhood that is later addressed. Crowe plays the character as a tough and moody man, however the ruckus that was made by the press about his accent is well overhyped as the accent does change, but then I would expect that as a man who has been around the world would. At least he didn't have an American accent like Costner did. Crowes portrayal marks him with a Midlands accent.
Crowe is backed up by a fine cast, Cate Blanchett pulls out all the stops as Marion, she is far more action orientated rather than being the damsel in distress the character is in on everything and plays an important part in the story. Also appearing is Mark Addy as Friar Tuck, Addy appears in the Tesco adverts, but as Tuck he brings a fleshed out character that is at peace with the world and shows that in certain times that he can react well with desired intent to overcome an assailant, he also plays a part as the formed army of the merry Men, although that name is never mentioned given the down to earth reality of the film itself.
One character that stands out as well is the character of William Marshall. Played by William Hurt, Marshall is a man that is fired as Chancellor by the newly appointed King John and decides that he has had enough of the way the country will be run and acts as an instigator in making things happen in a certain manner to his benefit. Add in Mark Strong who seems to be on a career high at the moment as he has had a number of leading parts in Sherlock Holmes and will be in the new Green Lantern film then the cast has an extraordinary scope of talent that can carry the highly polished script to the extent that the story grows at a manageable rate rather than concluding with an explosion rather than a bang. Also included are Danny Houston and Max Von Sydow who both plays integral parts in the story. I had to check the credits as it was a case that some of the well known actors such as William Hurt were unrecognisable with full beard and wigs being worn.
The film does tend to sag in the middle and after the revelations and battles the momentum is started to be rebuilt again with a gear change towards the end that brings on the epic scenes that strangely don't take place in Sherwood Forest at all and has a new location for a Robin Hood film.
It's nice to think that all the characters have depth and as a watcher of the film, you have some idea of what the characters are capable of. The film also has a number of sub-plots, some of these are escalated to the next level and are addressed as necessary as the film evolves and grows. With a film that is strongly based in reality the opportunity to add some necessary gore has been taken and this is something that shows what the Archer and his Bow are capable of doing as the battle scenes depict a messy and bloody battle that strongly emphasises the casualties counting up. These scenes are full on, especially at the beginning of the film sets the tone of the film. Interestingly it's the same places as where Gladiator, so I think its safe to say that Ridley Scott knew what challenges he was going to have when he filmed this segment.
The ending is blatantly left open for a sequel and with the manner of the way the film ends it is a place that the sequel can easily pick up from and continue. I personally look forward to this as the rotations and turns of the story begin to ravel together and place the characters in the correct place for where they should be and I am looking forward to the next instalment.
As this is a Blu-Ray release you get a crystal clear picture that shows in some detail the costumes and the surroundings, you also get a nice bundle of extras, firstly the Directors Cut which is about a further 20 minutes longer than the theatrical release and clocks in at a massive 2 hours and 40 minutes. The remainder of the Extras are a delightful mix of documentaries about the making of the film that includes the art of the film as well as the film from the Directors point of view. Throughout theses, the actors all say a piece and add their views. The Deleted Scenes show what a good decision it was to remove them were from the final print as they tend to slow the film down where it isn't necessary. TV Spots are included and these are just the 30 second ads that you see on TV and although these are a good addition they don't really show the film as it should. That's left to the trailers which can also be found as part of the bundle.
Like Sherlock Holmes the music has been dumbed down considerably and this is used at the right places and never missed at all when all you hear in a scene is the local birds chirping. The animations that run over the end titles depict scenes from the film in a highlighted fashion in a kind of abstract way that I haven't seen before with just splashes of colour and pencil lines.
Overall the film has been produced on a vastly epic scale and this gives the film a grittiness value that shows that all is not well in the land of England in the 12th Century. Like most epics there is a lot happening in the thread and sub plots of the script that cause a reaction further down, however given the fact that this is an "origin" story and the fact that the well known characteristics of Robin Hood has been completely blown out of the water and put back together with a fresh aspect then this is an intelligent film that has been made and an extremely enjoyable on that thoroughly entertains.
Forget Costner's version!
Robin Longstride is fighting in the Crusades when it King Richard is killed so he and his few followers decide to head back to England. They are making their way to the coast when they spot an ambush and discover that they were carrying the crown to return it to England and announce the death of King Richard. Robin finds one of the men still alive and discovers that it is Robin of Locksley. Robin agree to return the mans sword to his father just before he dies.
Robin and his men decide that to secure their safe passage home they will put on the Knights cloths the dead men are wearing and he will pose as Robin of Locksley. When they return it is his task to return the crown and try to convince the Royalty awaiting him that he is Robin of Locksley. Things go well and soon Robin is making his way to Nottingham to return the sword but once here he receives a proposition from Sir Walter Loxley that seems too good to be true. Will Robin accept this offer and just how can England survive now King John has imposed taxes and he has a traitor in his camp?
I was so looking forward to seeing this film to see the new take on the old classic film but I have to say all I knew about the Robin Hood story was completely different to what we saw. There was no resemblance to the original films and it was only at the end of the film did we discover that this was sort of set before Robin became the outlaw we know him as. I personally thought the film and story was very good as long as you took it for what it was and that does not include the Robin Hood story of old. This is a great stand alone film and I don't think it should have the title it has. The story which we got was very good and simple enough to follow and I loved how mixed it was with the fighting and the Crusades to the normal struggle of day to day life. I have only given a very brief outline of the story to the film but there is a lot more to discover and happening right from the start of the film but I just feel this is best left to be discovered by watching the film.
The acting was super and I thought Russell Crowe did a super job in his role. It was good to see him back to his fitness level from the Gladiator film as he did put on a lot of weight through the years. He suited the role and he had the rough and rugged look which fitted excellently. He should his strength in the fights and also managed to show a softer side when he was with Marion and his friends. I liked how he was not a flat character who we only got to see fight and be hard. He delivered all of his lines with ease and he worked well with the weapons and animals and made his character completely believable.
We had a whole variety of support characters and the man one was that of Marion, she was played by Cate Blanchett and she too did a great job. She showed strength and determination and never let people walk over her. I found the chemistry between her and Robin to be good, it was strained at first but it became more relaxed over time and this suited the story very well. Other stand out performances came from Max Von Sydow, William Hurt and Mark Strong, they were a very mixed and varied bunch and this made for some good viewing.
The scenery which we got to see was lovely and made the film a little bit more enjoyable for me. We got to see some magnificent castles and countryside and I loved how all of this was shown. The locations for the villages and towns were very good and I loved how we got to see the basic living conditions and how people got on with life before the invention of all the latest gadgets and televisions. The costumes were also super and looked great. I did notice how grey and dull everything looked ad I would have liked a bit more colour in the clothing especially from the King and the Royalty as this would have made them seem more regal.
There were so many special effects in this film right from the very start and they were excellent and all looked very authentic. There were a few moments when the back drops looked a little poor and this was mainly when the characters were on the boats but I did manage to over look this as the rest of the effects were so good. The fighting and hand to hand combat scenes were good and looked so realistic and quite brutal at times. The music was also very good and n keeping with the storyline. It worked well at getting the emotions and feelings right and I think Marc Streitenfeld deserves some credit for his work on the soundtrack.
The DVD does have some bonus features which include 10 deleted scenes and we also have the Directors Cut DVD which includes an extra 16 minutes of footage which was not seen in the cinema. I did not watch this at the cinema so cannot comment on the extra footage and I have not watched the deleted scenes either.
The running time of the film is 2 hours and 29 minutes and before it started thought it seemed very long but once I got into the film I lost track of all time and found that the story moved at a very good pace from start to finish so I did not mind the length. The film has a 12 rate so it does contain moderate violence and sex references and I do agree with this. I paid the shocking price of £14 for my DVD from Tesco as I was desperate to see the film but I do think this is very expensive and would advise waiting for the price to drop before buying.
I would love to be able to give this the full 5 stars but I have to be honest and award it 4. I think it is false advertising calling the film Robin Hood as it bears no resemblance to the story we all know but it is still a very enjoyable and entertaining film which has super acting and special effects.
Russell Crowe seems to be back in my good books after watching this film on the plane from Kuala Lumper to Heathrow.
With support from Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion Robin Hood comes to life. I liked the fact that Robin wasnt too serious a character all the time. He managed to come across as a rouge with a cheeky edge. He was tough and fearless and didnt really care about anything until he meets Maid Marions father in law.
The story is full of battles, danger, pilaging by king Richard and the people working under him. Some parts were a bit tricky to follow but generally the film was flowing although a bit overlong. At over 2 hours long this is a real saga and you have to stick with it.
The best parts are the battles, with some great effects and scenery on the British coast line.
If you like action films with a bit of good feeling with good people working against the bad then you will love this film. I havent seen a good film with Russell in it for ages and I really think he is back to his best like he was in Gladiator. His thick furrowed brow and mean sounding voice make him come alive as Robin Hood. Although after all the disney films I still imagine Robin Hood to be a fox and little John to be a bear!
One of the first things I heard about this latest 'blockbuster' featuring Robin Hood was that it takes a different slant on the film, and this rather intrigued me. I went in to the film not really sure of what to expect, knowing only that an impressive lineup, including the tried and tested actor/director combination of Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott, could surely only add to my enjoyment of the legendary who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
You don't often hear whether people are familiar with the truth element of Richard the Lionheart. He wasn't King of England for very long, and the majority of the time he was away fighting the Crusades, but he most definitely was King. The film takes this and starts off abroad, with Richard an aggressive fighter whose men adored him. Among his archers we meet Robin Longstride, humble archer, nothing more and nothing less. Chance events lead to Richard's death, as well as that of Robert Loxley, a Knight who makes Robin promise to return his sword back to his father in England.
This is where the link comes into things with the legend that we know well. The quirky change is that we don't have Robin of Loxley as the main character, but Random Robin (as I like to know him) who meets the true heir of Loxley and pledges to fulfill his dying wish. Back in England, a sort of second plot element takes over, as the evil and vicious 'Godfrey', who is English/French 'when it suits me' plans to overthrow the English throne by setting everyone against each other. Naturally, there's only one man who can unite the people and fight the impending French invasion.
The rest of the historical side is a bit of a blur to me, so I hesitate in including any other 'facts' I may think I know. The film certainly made sense from start to finish, aside from one minor element featuring a tenuous link that made me shake my head, muttering, 'As if!' It hardly impacts on the film, though, which has a strong plot.
The acting is very good, but a nod must go to the casting director as much as the actors themselves. Crowe is on fine form as Random Robin, with a generous dose of Gladiator's Maximus about him to help the proceedings. His Northern accent has moments of brilliance, with the occasional Australian twang - to be expected. Support from Cate Blanchett is brilliant, as is that of Max Von Sydow, Mark Addy (brilliant casting as Friar Tuck), Kevin Durand and William Hurt. Mark Strong must take a bow as Godfrey. If ever an evil villain there was, Strong's your man to play it, as he's making himself a brilliant little niche that should have offers flooding through his door.
Scott's direction is flamboyant but appropriate, as you'd expect. Nothing goes too far over the top, and there is some good fight choreography. At times, you think he almost lets things run away from him in terms of making it realistic, but I was impressed with how basic he actually kept things. I expected perhaps a touch more of the complicated elements, but mainly he relied on clever camera angles, a brilliantly cast group of actors, and some well created visual effects.
The special effects, in particular the fast moving scenes and arrow trajectory filming, were very good indeed. At no point did I wonder whether something had been altered by a computer, and if it wasn't, then hats off to all involved.
The film won't be everyone's cup of tea, as it doesn't hold any great depth in terms of characterisation or plot. What it does do, though, is establish familiar ground with the Robin Hood tale, and is almost like a precursor to most films that have been made featuring the archer. I liked Scott's take on proceedings, and expect a sequel to be on the horizon. I highly recommend it - well worth watching.
Robin Hood 2010 - FILM ONLY REVIEW - CINEMA SHOWING
This hasn't been released on dvd yet !!! So only cinema / film reviews can be covered on this Movie at present, just a note to bear in mind before you hit the unhelpful in wrong category mode! I will also let you know this is a very long review (my longest yet and taken nearly 2 days to write -so I hope you don't get bored and do find it interesting)
DVD & Blu-Ray release date for this film is 23rd September 2010.
There may be some confusion with another Robin Hood film (Beyond Sherwood Forest) that was released recently and is available at Amazon now.
So confusion over and ensuring all reading this review know it is just a film / cinema based review - lets begin.
This film isn't showing in every cinema in the country - I heard that Vue Cinemas however, were showing the film. Choosing the 21:05 showing on Fri night my friend and I set off with our £7.80 for tickets in the hope that we were going to be entertained for the evening.
Producer - Ridley Scott (director of Gladiator)
Running Time - 140 mins
Language - English
Genre - Action & Adventure
Through the (shortened) cast list - I shall give some further info on the actors and why their part in this film influenced my decision to travel to a cinema 15 miles from my home to see the film.
***Russell Crowe*** - Robin Longstride (AKA Robin Hood) - His role in the Gladiator was good but in my opinion over-rated. I have really enjoyed his role in A Good Year so wanted to see which aspect of these 2 very different roles (if any) would be reflected in this new film.
***Cate Blanchett*** - Marion Loxley - Cate's roles in Elizabeth and Lord of the Rings were both very regal and extremely well played so I really thought the casting here was a good one and wanted to see if I was right.
***Mark Strong*** - Godfrey - I was bowled over by his performance in Guy Ritchie's - RocknRolla. He had such a powerful presence on screen so I really wanted to find out whether this presence would be with him in Robin Hood.
***William Hurt*** - William Marshal - Hurt's role as President Aston in Vantage Point was I believe a brilliantly played role that added a calm but strong aura to his scenes - would the same be of his role in this one was what I wanted to see.
*** Mark Addy*** - Friar Tuck - well who better than him to play this part?! Those of you who have seen Addy play Roland in a Knight's Tale or his brilliant role in The Full Monty will probably agree with me - he is one of the funniest British actors about who could carry this part off well.
*** Max Von Sydow*** - Sir Walter Loxley - I haven't seen many of his films but as soon as I saw him face I remembered him from my favourite child hood film Heidi, he played Uncle Alp. I just wanted to see how he would come over in a movie that was extremely different to his role in Heidi. He has also starred in Shutter Island.
There are many other famous faces and very talented actors in this newest Robin Hood version of the famous leg end - sorry legend - but I'm not going to use up precious writing time on listing something you can go look up yourself.
~~~ So why this 2010 Robin Hood version and not the 'Beyond Sherwood Forest' adaptation? ~~~
The Robin Hood 2010 had a trailer that attracted me more than the sci-fi version because of the historical references. History has always been of a great interest to me - especially when based on legends or historical facts. The thought of the Sheriff of Nottingham releasing a flying beast to find his enemy didn't appeal to me one bit!
When looking at the facts about this film, however, I do want to include these following observations that you will need to over-look when watching the 2010 movie.
~~~ The History facts / fiction bit ~~~
FACT - The Normans did invade our shores on the 28th September 1066 (date ring a bell any-one?) on the shores of Pevensey to be exact.
The film is strongly linked to this invasion - however there a bit of a time difference - 89 years to be precise - so when I first saw our 'hero' thought he's looking hot for his age.
FACT - King Richard was not a legend he ruled England for 10years (1189-1199) however he only spent 6 months of his reign in England. So some time differences with the movie here (hey that's Hollywood for you)
FACT - King Richard was known as Richard the Lion Heart - the film refers to him as Coeur de Lion and famous for his escapades during the crusades - well done Universal for getting the translation correct and his part in battles abroad.
So conclusion of the facts & fiction - An Historical fact based movie don't sell big at the box office honey!! Therefore enter the big movie stars and script that makes everything look like a down-trodden England.
Ok I've put down my history tutor hat and put on my 'entertain me' hat - Quiet please and turn off your mobile the feature film is about to start. (why do I always get the bloody 'know-it all with the rustling sweet wrapper', seating in front of me?)
During this review I will be talking about the film and parts of the characters roles with the odd quote, however, I won't give too much of the plot away. So you should be able to get good information and personal opinion about the movie.
~~~ Opening scenes~~~
Ancient scrolls giving a basic introduction to setting our scene are quickly followed by a dark forest with men running and horses riding through the mist towards an old English village. We catch our first glimpse of our Lady Loxley within minutes of this event as she orders a flaming arrow shot towards intruders., followed by a not so 'lady-like' "I see you - you little bastards". Not the regal performance of Elizabeth but a fitting and strong message leaving me thinking - she's a girl not to be messed with.
Back to France for our introduction of Robin and a battle in full swing. Robin and his men enter a clearing with a castle under siege in the background. Handing over their kill from a hunt, the men join King Richards's army in the battle. I was impressed with the realism of weapons and shields. The following battles scenes are dramatic and bloody and I believe enhanced by the soundtrack of violins building in volume to reflect the advancing soldiers, descending tar and explosive attacks.
We leave this scene to enter a bedroom, the camera angles following the Queen to give the effect of being next to her, as she approaches the bed finding her son in a position that mum's shouldn't find their offspring in !!! The conversation mother and son engage in sets the sub-plot on its way and gives us a brilliant insight into the devious nature of the prince.
Back to Robin and his evening entertainment with friends - drinking and dancing with a bit of fisty cuffs - broken up by the King you throws them into the stocks.
One of Mark Strong's first appearances was impressive. A quiet evening by a lake talking battle tactics. All seems normal and he gives the impression of being a regular type of soldier until the building tension created through the soundtrack leaves you feeling every-thing is not all it seems. His dark eyes and bald head accompanied with a cold stare sent a shiver down my spine.
During the continuing battle at the castle the king receives a fatal wound and dies.
The film seems to be a constant journey of battles at the moment with the odd interruption of conversations between characters that take the story into yet another battle. I wouldn't normally sit through a movie with such a high content of fighting scenes, however the inter-twinning of sub plots and film style kept my bum in the seat.
There is a really good scene when Robin finding Lord Loxley's son dieing and promises to carry out the dieing man's last request of "Take this sword to my father..." Think we can all predict how that's going to end up, can't we.
The soundtrack changes to an upbeat heavy drumming with an almost Chinese style as we are taken to a church with Friar Tuck and Lady Loxley.
My first glimpse of Mark Addy as Friar Tuck - funny how he seems to suit the costume not too sure about the haircut though!! He has a quiet role at first but I loved his line about the questioning of his bee keeping "I keep them and they keep me" - a very plain statement that has a glint of tongue in cheek feel. This comes to light later in the film when meeting the tired soldiers of Richard's army when he asks "Have you tried honey liquored mead?" Let the festivities begin.
We then see him 'dancing' and enjoying the feast with not quite the finesse as a Full Monty strip but just as funny. So in the space of a few scenes my opinion of Addy's role is a positive one. He acts very well in this fairly small role I would give him a 7/10.
When hero and heroine first meet the sound track moves into a complete contrast to anything heard so far. The haunting yet gentle female solo gives an evocative sense of the meeting of two soul mates. Their eye contact brief but striking. Nice scene for the ladies here whist our Lady Loxley relieves Robin of his battle gear in order to bathe - hmm nice body.
The scenes inside the castle looked authentic with the wooden furniture, abundance of candles and huge roaring fire. The somber brown colours of the rooms and costumes compliment each other very well.
I really liked the manner in which Robin's conversations about his father with Lord Loxley provoked child-hood flash backs. It gave a really good insight into the passion that was driving him.
~~~ The Plot Thickens~~~
So the arrival of Godfrey and his dark conversation with Sir Walter Loxley made me sit up and listen - wow the lines impact a hard and cold message. Quote
GODFREY "I've come looking for Robert Loxley"
SIR LOXLEY " My son has not returned".
GODFREY " That is the truth because he's lying in a French ditch".
A worried looking LOXLEY ask " Who are you? "
The deadly reply "I'm the one who killed him"
Loxley looks and acts brilliantly as he blindly tries to slay the murder before him.
I'm not going to go into to much detail here because it will spoil it for readers wanting to see the film.
As the final battle approaches and men are being persuaded by the King to join forces against the French - I couldn't help but think there is one line that our earlier members of parliament and bankers could have listened to and adhered to - "WITHOUT LOYALTY THERE IS NO KINGDOM" maybe our kingdom wouldn't be on its knees if they had been more loyal to their tax payers.
The final battle on the beaches reminded me of recent footage I've seen about Dunkirk and the Normandy landings. The filming was brilliant and the actors great. The lines were short and meaningful - I was pleased we didn't have the long drawn out over-played finale that is often present in Hollywood blockbusters.
~~~ Were my questions answered?~~~
*** Russell Crow - Gladiator similarities? A few yes but the character's mannerism and way Crow deliveries his personality very different. I was impressed with his performance. He didn't seem to dominate the set as one may have thought. He seemed to carry a dignified and respectful attitude towards all cast members. 9/10.
*** Cate Blanchett - A Regal performance? Absolutely! Her role and performance was subtle and powerful. Her acting very good enhanced by her body language and facial expressions. 9/10.
*** Mark Strong - A powerful presence? Hmm his bald head was a bit of a shock to see after being so use to seeing him with a full head of thick dark locks - but yes I have to say I was really impressed with his screen presence. He gave the character of Godfrey a deadly charisma that should be honored with an Oscar. The lack of locks worked so well and heightened his character's role. His whole performance oozed betrayal and evilness through his unnerving eye contact and cold tone of voice.
One quote that sums up Strong's character in this movie is when he's asked "Your English?!" His reply "When it suits me!" Wow what a hot baddie. 10/10
*** William Hurt - calm but strong aura? His role of William Marshal is very well cast. This was reflected through his facial expressions and body language. His lines were delivered with a professionalism that only a truly talented actor could achieve. 8/10
*** Mark Addy - comedy side-kick? His costume and haircut did him proud (haha) in true keeping of a friar. His wit and lines within the role were unleashed onto soldiers when under attack he throws his beloved bee hives accompanied with occupants - listen out for the line - is it good. 8/10
***Max Von Sydow - a far cry from the alps of my child-hood memories. His performance was mind-blowing. He held a proud and powerful presence even with the disability he suffered. 8/10
There are some stunning views that dominate some opening scenes. One of my favourites is the view across the cliff tops as the invaders ships approach the shores of England. The panoramic shot is so clear and detailed - and shot from a horse riders angle - that you feel as if you are there, on a horse sitting next to Robin. Stunningly beautiful.
I was also really impressed with the authentic looking scenes of the medieval looking village, with thatched roofs, situated in the foreground of the towering majestic castle. The whole scene looked as if you had stepped back in time. This scene was shot at the Hampton Estate near Guildford.
The film looks as if it has been shot in some really good locations around Britain (and some in France) and was a major plus for me.
The sound track to this film was very good - there was a great combination of tracks that really added to the suspense of the building action scenes and haunting songs that reflected the emotions of characters. This really added to how the characters were reacting to their surroundings and events as they unfolded before them. I was impressed with how the deep orchestral movements exploded as key points highlighting the drama and tension.
For example as Robin and his army race to the landing invaders the soundtrack builds with every hoof beat then descends quickly into an almost deafening silence as they stop and first see the ships over the cliff tops. Brilliant.
~~~ Conclusion ~~~
A pretty good, explosive combination of directing and acting - a new take on an old legend. Although it was a great movie that had me engrossed at many points I do think that you should wait until the DVD comes out if your not really a Hood or American-based take on an English legend fan. There were a few aspects that reminded me of Gladiator but not enough to say that this film should stand on its own as a very good movie.
Yes the fight scenes were good, effects and lighting very well produced. I did slightly feel at one point the plot didn't completely live up to my expectations but not enough to spoil it. There were some brilliant lines between main characters and many from the side-kicks.
I would recommend this version of the legend of Robin Hood over Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Simply because the plot has more meat to get your teeth into and satisfy an 'entertain me' need.
All things considered I would give this film a 4 stars just based on the actors performances, stunning scenery and delivery of some mouth-dropping lines.
I hope you have enjoyed the review and found the detail interesting.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the information and personal opinions.
X hev (on dooyou and ciao)
Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) is somewhat different to your typical expectations of a Robin Hood film. Instead of the usual taking from the rich and giving to the poor, it instead focuses on 'the rising' of Robin Longstride into Robin the Hood. The story begins with the English attempting to take a French castle under the command of Richard the Lionheart. As events unfold, things turn out very badly for the English. Seizing their opportunity, Robin and other soldiers flee the army and set off for England. By chance, they stumble across a very valuable item and things start to become much more complicated for the band of soldiers!
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I was expecting the usual storyline, so it was nice to see that they had taken a fresh approach. The action scenes were decent, nothing too out of the ordinary. It was also amusing in parts and the story was very easy to follow (Although of course all Robin Hood stories twist or, in some cases, completely fabricate the historical truth). In that respect, I enjoyed this film.
But, in truth there wasn't anything special about it. The fight scenes were pretty average. As an accomplished bowman you'd atleast expect some more long range arrow shots from Robin, but there wasnt much of that. There has been criticism of Russell Crowes accent too (He stormed off a radio show when questioned about it), personally I noticed he changed his accent a few times within the first 20minutes (Couldn't decide whether he was Scottish or a Jordie), but after that I forgot to take notice, so it can't have been that bad.
This is the type of film you should watch, but perhaps wait until someone else buys it rather than yourself!
note: also appears on my review website, TheFilmBlogger.com
Given its production schedule - surely one of the most troubled and hectic in recent blockbuster history - it has been hard to train an eye on quite what Ridley Scott's reimagining of the Robin Hood legacy was trying to achieve. Initially touted as a revisionist take, wherein the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood essentially swapped good guy-bad guy roles, the final product is decidedly less daring, but still watchable if not up to the high standards of either Scott or his frequent collaborator, Russell Crowe, who plays the titular hero.
Above all else, Robin Hood is a reminder of Ridley Scott's skill as a sheer craftsman, for though much of the picture is sullen and talky, it is at all times a magnificently staged affair, boasting slick production design and solid direction from Scott as always. Those expecting an action epic on the scale and breadth of his Gladiator should beware, though; Robin Hood is neither as poignant or as entertaining as Scott's Best Picture winner, and falls a fair few notches short of its potential.
Though the marketing implies that this Hood is an action-packed swords-and-shields epic, it is in fact a more sedate affair for the most part, delving with surprising depth into the politics of 12th century England, where the arrogant playboy Prince John (Oscar Isaac) is waiting on tenterhooks for his brother, King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston), to die and thus leave the throne to him. Scott is also sure to observe the social status of time and place, with Maid Marian (Cate Blanchett) in one scene decrying the Church for sending a corn yield all the way from Nottingham to York when it is still urgently needed in Nottingham. Scott's attention-to-detail is certainly impressive, and the rather brisk characterisation of previous Hood iterations seems meagre by comparison. Though Scott's attempt is ultimately bloated and overlong, the writing is for its better part succinct, and the characters have greater depth than you'd reasonably expect.
However, the film's main flaw is simply that it's in no hurry to tell the story. Thankfully, things remain mildly interesting at even the worst of times, and the attempt to tell a lengthy prologue story to the more familiar tale is at least admirable, but its engorged 140 minute runtime is not entirely justified by what occurs on screen. It is certainly hard to characterise the film as boring even in its most blatantly expository moments, but the wait for that epic final battle is quite a painstaking one. Scott teases us with two or three scuffles of extreme brevity early on, only to wait us out to the two-hour mark before the final fight kicks off, which itself ends before it's barely begun.
It goes without saying that actors of this calibre slip into their roles well, with Crowe expectedly leading the pack, sporting a strong accent and grand physical presence, while allowing enough room for the charm of his merry men - particularly Kevin Durand as the oafish Little John - to shine through. Little-known actor Oscar Isaac also does well for himself as King John, alternating the character's comic and more sinister facets with sure vigour, while painting him as a perfect picture of incompetence. Max von Sydow is as welcome as ever, playing the blind father of one of Robin's deceased comrades, delivering in his stead the film's one truly heartbreaking scene. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong are solid in less-challenging roles, respectively playing Maid Marion and the evil Sir Godfrey.
There are two truly surprising things about Robin Hood, aside from it actually being half-decent; firstly, that it's funny, and secondly, that it's not as keen to moralise in the black-and-white tones as the previous incarnations of the legend were. Indeed, Hood is a genuinely rather funny film. Blanchett's incredulous Maid Marian is especially good, dryly shaking off Robin's advances while being absolutely drawn to him, in a way that must be informed by Blanchett and Crowe's seemingly very real chemistry. To the second point, while the long-held "steal from the rich, give to the poor" politics are present here, Scott does well not to paint King John as an out-and-out moustache-twirling baddie; he is instead an altogether more complex character, resentful towards his brother for his failures as a King, and a man simply trying to rule in the way he knows best - even if it means robbing the poor. Late-day scenes as Robin convinces John to lead his country against the French are genuinely inspiring, but the final scenes still have enough edge not to paint John as having turned an entire 180.
It goes without saying that Robin Hood isn't the action-packed epic it should have been, and the action crowd will probably come out rather underwhelmed, a situation unided by the meek 12A rating. Indeed, there is as much, if not more, sizzle compared to steak, but when it comes to crunch time, Scott can knock this material out of the park in his sleep, and the result here is a gorgeously presented origin story with fine performances, offsetting the dry, methodical presentation. Given how everything ends in flux, there's definite potential for a better sequel.
Many directors express a strong preference for the actor who will take the lead role in their films, and with Ridley Scott, the actor in question is without doubt Russell Crowe. The pair have teamed up four times in the past, and they forge their fifth working relationship on the set of the new Robin Hood movie. Forget everything you have learned about Robin Hood in the past, as here we see a very different incarnation of the man dubbed the 'Prince of Thieves'. This Robin doesn't dash around dandily with a feather in his cap - and neither does he dress up in garish green tights.
As the story begins, we join Robin (full name: Robin Longstride) as an archer in Richard the Lionheart's army, storming a French castle as part of The Crusades. As the battle reaches its climax, Robin meets the dying Robert of Locksley who asks our eponymous hero to return his sword to his father in Nottingham. Back in blighty, Robin seems to be enjoying his new life in Nottingham, and takes up residence with the lovely Marion (Cate Blanchett). However, all isn't as peachy as it may sound, as the dastardly 'Godfrey' (Mark Strong) is assembling a band of French soldiers to extort money from the locals - will Robin be able to keep the townsfolk safe?
From the off it's instantly apparent that this re-envisioning of Robin Hood is more thoughtful and considered than some of the Robin Hood movies from the past. Here the politics of the age are fully fleshed out, and parliamentary wranglings form a large part of the film's plot. This undoubtedly makes for a movie experience which falls more into the 'serious' camp, and the fun (shenaningans in the forest) elements are all but missing. The end result is a believable film which aims for gritty realism. What the film does do well, is utilize some great battle sequences (a bit of a trademark for Ridley Scott), which culminate in a rather epic and visually impressive set-piece on the beach at the movie's conclusion - great stuff.
From an acting perspective I found the entire production to be of a high standard. You may have heard recently that Russell Crowe stormed out of a Radio Interview when Mark Lawson mentioned the fact that Robin Hood's accent sounded a little Irish. Crowe subsequently muttered something about Lawson having "dead ears" before leaving the building with a few choice words thrown into the mix for good measure. And yes, when watching the film, the first thing I noticed was an Irish twang to Russell Crowe's voice. Apparently, Crowe based his accent on Michael Parkinson - and whilst there were vast swathes of the movie where he did sound like a proper Yorkshireman, there were also parts where he sounded more like Michael O' Parkinson. Nevertheless, Crowe certainly has a commanding presence in the film (very Gladiator-esque), and whether or not his accent was up to scratch, I would describe it as a very decent effort.
Cate Blanchett performs well opposite Crowe as Marion, although I would say that a certain amount of chemistry is missing between the pair. Marion is a feistier incarnation of Hood's missus than has been seen in the past (that is discounting Marion from 'Maid Marion and Her Merry Men'), and for the most part this works particularly well. Unfortunately, however believeable and impressive Marion is as a character, having her pop-up as warrior type individual who is able to dispatch fully grown men on the battlefield, is a little bit ridiculous. For me, this pushed the realms of unbelievably a little too far, and was one of only a handful of weaknesses.
Being cast as the bad-guy in seemingly EVERYTHING at the moment, Mark Strong does a decent enough job as the sly and meddling Godfrey - however, the film's real menace comes from Oscar Isaac as Prince John, who works wonderfully as the untrustworthy King-to-be. Mark Addy is similarly good as the bee-keeping Friar Tuck, and is responsible for a few of the movie's lighter moments. All in all, I enjoyed Robin Hood as a thoughtful and well made big reworking of a classic tale. Similarly, I'm glad Robin Hood is now British again (albeit with an accidental slight Irish twang) after Kevin Costner's American-voiced prince of Sherwood. Although it has been getting generally average ratings here on dooyoo, I personally found the film to be better than expected, and definitely one to watch.
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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
Mark Addy - Friar Tuck
Matthew Macfadyen - Sheriff of Nottingham
We went to see this last night. It has only just been released at cinemas so please note that this is a film only review as it is not yet available on DVD. I wasn't sure if I wanted to see this, its not my usual type of film but I hoped it would be worth a go. The cinema was packed which I was quite surprised about as it was quite late on a Tuesday night.
The film begins by introducing us to a number of characters including the royal family. At the time, England are at war with France and a great deal of soldiers are being killed. During the war, the King gets killed in France. Robin Longstride, an English archer returns to England with some other troops and along the way they come across a dying man named Robert who has one last dying wish - to return his fathers sword which he took without his consent.
Robin takes it upon himself to return the sword to Robert's father and therefore begins the long journey to Nottingham. He encounters a great deal of problems along the way and also a number of issues when he reaches Nottingham aswell.
I did enjoy this film. To begin with, I was sceptical if I would enjoy it because I knew it would involve an awful lot of fighting and this is not my usual scene! There are a great deal of fighting scenes in the film but I thought that these were done very well and considering there were often a lot of men dying, it was not too gory. The special effects used in the fighting scenes were very good and made the appearance of the film great.
I did like the plot of the film, my partner commented that he found it really interesting to see what happened before Robin got to the forest, as most adaptations start after the place where this particular film ended. I thought the plot flowed well and was interesting. There was plenty to keep up with and I felt that there was something for everyone to watch and focus on. The plot flowed well and I didn't find myself looking at my watch too often. The film is very long (well over 2 hours) and I personally felt this was a little too long. I'm not sure whether this was just because it was late at night and I wanted my bed but I felt that a few of the scenes could be compacted a bit just to cut the length a little.
The acting in the film was superb. I loved watching Russell Crowe as Robin and also Cate Blanchett as Marion. I thought the acting was very strong and really enjoyed watching them both. The chemistry between them was amazing and I found their relationship very realistic and nice to watch throughout the film. Russell Crowe was brilliant as Robin and I found myself warming to him and backing him throughout the film.
I liked the scenery of the film. It was nice to see the setting of Britain and I also liked a British actor starring in the main role because we tend to be seeing less and less of this these days. Special effects were often used in the fighting scenes and these were done very well and looked realistic.
Overall, I did enjoy this film. I'll be honest I did find myself lost in places however I think this is because my mind kept drifting off elsewhere. I enjoyed the plot and think it flowed well throughout most of the film. I was tiring a little towards the end, as I think the majority of other people were in the cinema (3 men actually got up and walked out about half an hour before the end). It was a good film I just think it was a little bit too long.
The film was released in cinemas in May 2010.
It is rated a 12A in the UK.
It runs for 140 minutes.
It stars Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt and Mark Strong.
Recommended, but it is a little too long for me.