Directed by: Ridley Scott
Premise: A retelling of the story of the English folk hero. An archer absconds from Richard the Lionheart’s army while returning home from fighting the Crusades. Upon reaching England, he finds political turmoil threatening to tear England apart.
What Works: The middle of Robin Hood is its strongest point, especially the relationship between Robin (Russell Crowe), Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), and Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow). The relationship between Robin and Marion is nicely done and this middle portion of the picture has a lot of humor, which is a nice antidote to the darker and more serious opening and closing to the film. Cate Blanchett in particular is fun to watch as she brings intelligence and sassiness to the role of Marion. This version of Robin Hood also stands out in its original approach to the subject. With its incorporation of political schemes, grandiose battles, and a historical style, this Robin Hood is unlike any other take on the legend filmed before.
What Doesn’t: Although it has some originality in its retelling of the Robin Hood story, the film suffers from a very uninspired approach to its genre. A lot of scenes and visuals of Robin Hood are familiar or just plain ripped off from other movies including Pathfinder, King Arthur, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Master and Commander, The Patriot, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Ridley Scott’s own Kingdom of Heaven, most of which are better films. The story telling is very choppy and the film plays like a shortened version of a much longer and much better movie. The political subplots suffer the most as they are all cut short and the beginnings of political machinations are constantly undermined by bursts of action. None of the supporting roles are all that interesting and Robin Hood’s band of fellow outlaws are all interchangeable lackeys. The casting in the primary roles isn’t very good either, especially Russell Crowe who is miscast as Robin Hood. His typically moody presence does not fit very well with the role and his accent constantly shifts.
Bottom Line: At the very least, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is an original take on a familiar story. Beyond that, its flat characters and pedestrian approach to the genre makes Robin Hood a very tedious film.
Episode: #289 (May 23, 2010)