Newest Review: ... of his other work, Gladiator included but good nonetheless. The sets don't seem as convincing as some other of Scotts historical pieces... more
The hooded man
Robin Hood  (DVD)
Member Name: darren55
Robin Hood  (DVD)
Advantages: Visually stimulating
Disadvantages: Crowe's accent, plot, historical inaccuracies
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?
Summary: Not the best but still watcheable