Robin Hood (2010) – Review
“Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions”. I’m not sure from where the quote originated, although many say it is loosely taken from the Bible. Anyways, the words are very powerful, and the quote drew me to the film from the very first trailer… and I’m not a big fan of Robin Hood. I never got into the old Errol Flynn stuff and the Kevin Costner Robin Hood was kind of a joke… fun, but silly on so many levels. On the other hand though, I have a strong love for anything Ridley Scott touches and an often misplaced respect for actor Russell Crowe (great actor, but a bit of an ass). Scott’s Robin Hood is not the tale that comes to mind when talking about the character. The story is an introduction to the characters (all the main characters are well cast and represented) and the world they live in. Unlike most Robin Hood films, this one actually ends with Robin Hood becoming the outlaw and sets it up for a sequel.
Although Robin Hood isn’t going to go down as one of Ridley Scott’s best films ever, it’s still quite enjoyable and not nearly as bad as the “critics” would have you believe. There’s a lot of attention to detail as Scott builds a very believable world, something he’s done very well in most of his movies. From the opening castle siege to the final battle on the beach, the director shows that he knows how to direct epic battle scenes. Although the battles may not be quite as epic as the ones depicted in Gladiator, they are just as satisfying and serve pretty much as book ends to the film. The body of the film focusses on Robin developing the relationships between his men and Marion. It establishes characters from the mythos and sets them up for future use… assuming a sequel does get made. Take for example the Sheriff of Nottingham, a predominant figure in most Robin Hood tales. In this film he is reduced to a couple of bits, only gaining any real presence in one of the last scenes of the movie. The film focusses more on characters becoming who they are meant to be. By no circumstances is Robin Hood meant to be taken as a strong action flic.
Performances across the board are great, but unfortunately some of the characters were underused. I would have liked to see more interaction with Little John and Will Scarlet…. a strengthening of the bond if you will. Russell Crowe delivers an excellent Robin Hood. Although highly criticized for his age and fluttering accent, Crowe has a maturity and intensity that lends well to the character, making him a believable leader of men. He actually looks like a man who’s fought many battles in the crusades. His age didn’t bother me at all. It actually felt more realistic. Marc Strong as Godfrey, a new character to the fold (at least to my knowledge), was what I might have expected from the Sheriff of Nottingham, instead he is tooled as the villain, whose betrayal leads to the French offensive. Even Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley was enjoyable and dispite what critics have said, I found there was some good chemistry between her and Crowe. Although a little dry at times, I still enjoyed her performance.
I read a lot of reviews of movies, and am often left wondering if being a critic is more akin to just looking for the negative in a film…. a successful critic doesn’t seem to look for the positive. Robin Hood is not what you are expecting… not at all. Ridley Scott has taken some liberties with the stories and made this more of an origin flic… for all of the characters. Rather than rip through 2+ hours of action, Scott takes his time masterfully assembling the blocks to what could be an epic sequel. It can get a little slow in the middle, but I allowed myself to be taken by the story, and never once felt bored. I may be one of the few, but to me, this is one of the best Robin Hood films to date!