Movie Review: Robin Hood

A little late in coming, but here you go:

Quick!  Look around.  Have you stumbled into Gladiator?  No?  How about the beginning of Wolverine?  No again?  Then you must be watching Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.

Yes, this movie has a lot of actors from the previously mentioned movies.  Especially with regards to Gladiator, you begin to wonder if Ridley Scott ever picks new actors.  That being said, there’s a reason the director sticks with his favorites.

I went into Robin Hood not knowing what to expect.  After seeing trailers for it, I wasn’t convinced.  Certainly, it would have that quality Ridley-Scott-epic-battle flair to it, but that’s not how I remember Robin Hood.  My memories and knowledge of Robin Hood evoked images of small bands in the woods, firing arrows, and engaging in small conflicts — not defending a country from a full-scale invasion.  These images had me curious, but not excited.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  It was not the Robin Hood I expected, but it did justice to the material.  Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is essentially the backstory (or the origins) behind the man.  As such, we spend some time learning of Robin’s actions in the crusades and how he finds his homeland after returning.  Though it has a few plot holes here and there (would no one in that whole crowd recognize the son of a supposedly famous knight??), the story flows well and is engaging throughout.  The key thing to remember while watching the movie is that it is the backstory – this isn’t the Robin Hood with his merry men shooting an arrow and hitting the target many miles away.  A journey has to take us to that point.  Thankfully, the movie does just that, and at the very end of the movie, we can see how the legend of Robin Hood comes to be.

"If you call me 'Maximus' again, this arrow is going through your throat."

As for the actors in the movie, it tends to be hit or miss.  Russel Crowe once again is the lead actor for Ridley Scott’s movie, and, on the whole, he does a good job.  He does, however, tend to get just a bit somber and act a bit more like his Gladiator counterpart than a true Robin Hood (though he does have his moments).  Little John was played remarkably well by Kevin Durand.  Initially, I couldn’t see him as Little John (I’ve watched too much LOST and still saw him as a villain), but his performance eventually won me over.  Mark Addy as Friar Tuck is also very amusing.  Really, the only character I had a problem with (besides the fact that every villain in a medieval war movie seems to be a whiny, spoiled, king) was, regrettably, Cate Blanchett as Marion.  No disrespect intended, but she’s just a bit old for the part.  Granted, she did play it well and she put a lot of spark in what could’ve been a boring character.  For this, it was well played.  My major issue was with her participating in the final battle of the movie.  It adds some emotion (however little) to the final battle, but it was, not only unnecessary, but unrealistic.  Back when the movie supposedly took place, this just simply wouldn’t happen.  It seemed more like a product of our current culture (with an emphasis on gender equality) than a reflection of the past one.

Aside from these minor quibbles, Robin Hood was, on the whole, an entertaining movie.  The action was, not surprisingly, very well done, and the plot was, for the most part, engaging enough to keep watching (despite a few convenient plot devices).  It’s not Ridley Scott’s best movie, but it’s certainly not his worst either.  If you don’t read too much into it, you can find a lot to enjoy in this origin story of one of England’s greatest legends.


~ by digitallysmitten on June 20, 2010.

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