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A new take on an old legend
Robin Hood  (DVD)
Member Name: pixie1965
Robin Hood  (DVD)
Advantages: Explosive action that's not over-played
Disadvantages: Not out on DVD yet
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)
Summary: Great actors doing doing their stuff