Today I decisively concluded that I prefer my Robin Hoods in fox form (with Kevin Costner as a close second). I should tell you that this is not a rash decision—it came after sitting through many long hours of Ridley Scott’s latest version. I am not exaggerating when I say several hours; the movie is close to two and a half hours long. This is about two hours too long for me.
The latest installment of Robin Hood movies stars Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride (the man who would eventually become the film’s namesake). Cate Blanchett plays Marion Loxley, and surprisingly has no scenes on the toilet. The film follows Robin as he takes on Robert of Loxley’s identity and swears to protect the dying man’s land and family. As can be expected, Robin falls in love with Marion and becomes even more involved in the fight to save her land.
I should probably state a disclaimer here: I am really not a Ridley Scott fan. At all. I mean, I genuinely disliked Gladiator, I fricking hated Matchstick Men (bleh!!), thinking about Hannibal gives me nightmares (but not the way it was intended to), and I think my mouth is still agape from watching G.I. Jane ten years ago. Scott is just not my cup of tea, so I am coming in to this review with a severe bias. I also am a huge fan of Disney’s Robin Hood and have a strange fondness towards Kevin Costner’s version (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). Although I realize this is a retelling of the story, I can’t help but compare it to the Robin Hoods that are already out.
First, I must say that this film didn’t have the same charm that the animated or the Costner film did. While I am sure that the actors are more than capable, there didn’t seem to be any onscreen connection or chemistry. I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters, and there was no pizzazz. In Prince of Thieves, I found the villains to be charismatic and the lines quotable (“Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an ax?” “Because it’s dull, you twit, It’ll hurt more.” How many times have you said that at a family function? I know I have lost count). In the 2010 Robin Hood, the most quotable phrase is “Arrrrrrr!!!!” (which I believe they are trying to make into a catch phrase because it is repeated almost constantly throughout the entire film) and the bad guys are forgettable. About an hour into the film, all of the actors started to sound like the adults in Charlie Brown. I don’t know if this was my ears trying to save me from the film or just some funky audio, but it didn’t really help my attitude towards the film.
Although I wasn’t a fan of the charm of the film, I will admit it wasn’t totally horrible. For example, I thought the costumes were really well done. When I watched the film, it made me remember visiting castles in Germany and the attire that was on display there. I also liked that the overall visual tone of the film was dark, thus evoking the feel of medieval times. Finally, this Robin Hood is fiscally friendly and socially responsible. He helps the king’s men hang up his own wanted posters– that is so kind of him. When one of the guards wanted to post this information, the man asked several peasants for a hammer and a nail to hang up the paper. Now the peasants, they did not have the requested items; but Robin Hood heard the guard’s cries for help and shot an arrow through the poster to affix it to the tree. What a nice guy!
When I am not a fan of a film, I often wonder, “what could have been done better?” I think in this case, Christian Slater would have added a lot to the cast. Heck, he could even sing the same song he did in Prince of Thieves (everyone: “There was a rich man from Nottingham who tried to cross the river. What a joke! He tripped on a rope! Now look at him shiver.” Classic). Perhaps the addition of a cute family of talking rabbits dressed in people clothes would have made Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood seem more likeable. Also, would it have hurt for Russell Crowe to dress up like a stork to enter and win an archery contest? I think not.
Overall, I would say this movie is one to pass. It is way too long, and I just didn’t feel any connection at all to the characters. Also, there was no dance number (“Will, how are my seams?” “Perfect.” “Every time!”). It’s often hard to like a film that doesn’t have a well choreographed routine thrown in. It’s how life should be.
Have a wonderful day!
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