Robin Hood (Movie – 2010)
Welcome, ye merry men and women! Tis but another installment of ye old MWR. What ho? A review of the latest Robin Hood flick, me thinks.
Okay, that’s enough of that …
We all know the story of Sir Robin of Loxley: A nobleman becomes disenfranchised with the class system of feudal Europe and decides to fight the man by stealing from the wealthy and giving to the po. Along the way he finds love (Lady Marian) , a nemesis (Sherriff of Nottingham), and bromance (Merry Men).
Over the years there have been many, many iterations of this story. A few come to mind: Errol Flynn’s gaunt tight-clad heroism; Prince Costner’s aged rouge with charm; Mel Brooks’ hysterical Manly Men in Tights. I’ve enjoyed them all.
When it came to the latest installment, I had but one question: Could they bring something to this story that hadn’t already been done? On paper, I was hopeful. The cast looked top notch (Russell Crowe & Cate Blanchett as Robin and Marian respectively), the director had street cred (Ridley Scott of Gladiator, Alien, and Blade Runner fame), and the scope looked epic (this was going to Robin Hood Supersized). Why then, was I left wishing for merrier days?
First things first, this is not the Robin Hood you know. This Robin (Crowe) is not a nobleman, and is in fact not Robin of Loxley at all. He is a somewhat lowly archer in King Richard the Lion Heart’s army. The King is busy trying to conquer lands (not in the Crusades, btw), and is portrayed as a somewhat less than desirable fellow (somewhat true). When the King is killed in battle (sort of really happened), the real Robin of Loxley (the King’s right-hand man) is tasked with taking the crown back to England. Unfortunately, Robin of L is bushwhacked on the way by the French (damn the French!), but before they can make off with the crown the other Robin/Crowe intervenes. Crowe runs off the French and agrees to the dying Robin of L’s last wish: he will take the crown back to England and also take his sword back to his father.
Crowe is accompanied by a group of fellow archers/warriors who really only seek their freedom. You see, before they scared off the Frenchies, Crowe-Robin and these boys had been locked up by the King for disorderly conduct. During the chaos that ensued after the King’s death, they escaped. Now that they have been tasked with returning the crown they decide to disguise themselves as the nobles who had been escorting the crown in the first place.
Confused? So was I. This is perhaps the first place in the movie that the plot goes all wonky. It's a sign of things to come.
Plowing right ahead, Crowe-Robin does in fact return the crown to an even less-savory new King. Crowe-Robin then takes the real Robin’s sword back to the father of Loxley. Once in Loxley, he finds Dame Marian tending to the family land while her husband’s away at war. After breaking the news to her about dead Robin, Crowe-Robin takes the sword to Daddy Loxley only to find that the Old Man is blind and a little crazy. Papa Loxley, realizing that the King will likely take their land once he’s gone as there is no male ere, convinces Crowe-Robin and Marion to ‘pretend’ that Crowe-Robin is the REAL Robin of Loxley.
See what they did there? Yeah, I thought it was thin as well. Suffice to say, the rest of the story follows the same flimsy pattern, so we’re going to skip ahead …
The French are secretly planning to overthrow England (when are the French not secretly planning to do something despicable?), and it’s up to Crowe-Robin to convince the new buffoon King that it’s not the poor who are trying to destroy him.
Crowe (other Robin) and Blanchett (Marian) are the glue that holds this movie together. I found their chemistry to be genuine, and their acting to be excellent. Blanchett provides a grounded, almost earthly, version of Marian that seems very at home in the squalid medieval England. Crowe is not the charming Robin of past films, but is just dynamic enough to balance his inherent tough-guyness.
The rest of the cast perform well, but mostly take a very big backseat to Crowe and Blanchett. There is no Morgan Freeman this time around, and the character of the Sherriff of Nottingham might as well not have been there at all.
How was the Movie?
Disappointing. There were so many things that could have gone right for this movie. However, I was underwhelmed by the majority of it. The cast wasn’t deep enough, the music not inspiring, the scenery (while beautiful) nothing that hasn’t been seen before, and the story was all over the place. I’m neglecting to mention major plot points so as not to spoil it, but there is something revealed at the end of the movie that should have been shown in the first scene. It wasn’t, and as a result I spent the entire movie trying to fit this Robin Hood into what I knew about the story coming in. I was distracted from the start.
It isn’t awful, but I’m confident in saying it won’t be what you’re expecting. This one should probably be a rental.