Release Date: May 12th, 2010
Click here for the Robin Hood Trailer.
Late in the 12th Century, Robin Longstride is a common archer fighting in the Third Crusade under King Richard the Lionheart(Danny Huston). In the last battle of the war, Robin, along with his nephew Will Scarlet(Scott Grimes), friend Allan A'Dayle(Alan Doyle) and fellow soldier Little John(Kevin Durand) are put in stockades following a brawl the injured the king. After Richard's death, the men escape and plan to return home to England after 10 years of fighting. While headed for the fairy, Robin and his men come across the kings royal guard who had been ambushed by Sir Godfrey(Mark Strong), an English Knight with French lineage and allegiance. The only Knight still alive is Sir Robert Locksley of Nottingham, who wishes Robin to return his sword to his father.
Robin finds the King's crown and sees an easy attempt home. Robin and his men assume the identities of the Knights and proceed to return the crown to England. Upon arrival they witness the crowning of the new king, King John(Oscar Isaac), Richard's younger brother. John immediately imposes harsh taxes on the kingdom and sends out sir Godfrey to collect them, not knowing of the knight's true allegiance. Godfrey uses his power to try and stir up Civil War in the kingdom, which would allow the French King to easily take over England.
Robin obeys the wishes of the deceased Sir Robert and returns to Nottingham where he delivers the sword to the Knight's father, Walter(Max Von Sydow) and Sir Robert's wife, Lady Marion(Cate Blanchett). As Godfrey continues to create unrest in the kingdom and the French King and his army move closer to the coast, Robin must unite the people of England to fight under the newly appointed King John or face an imminent take over by France.
Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott team up for the fifth time to bring you a story of how a man became a legend and how a common archer became the most wanted outlaw in all of England. This film is a different, and refreshing, take on the traditional story of Robin Hood. As opposed to being a refurbished story of the typical outlaw adventures of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, this story seeks to tell you how and why Robin Hood became an outlaw.
I love how this film took a step away from the traditional story. I mean, how many times can you watch the same story over and over again? It was good to see how the character we have come to love over so many years became who he is. Origin stories are always interesting to me because most of the time we do not think about how our favorite characters in film and literature got to where they are.
Scott was definitely trying to go for a more realistic approach to the classic tale. There was much more action and story than there was romance as we have seen in previous Robin Hood films (for example Kevin Costner's take). They also didn't try to glam up the characters. Both Blanchett and Crowe looked like common people which, you could tell, was supposed to represent the Crusade's take on Robin and the poor living conditions of the people in England. For me it made everything appear as it may have in those times.
I thought the cast of the film was fantastic. Crowe played an excellent Robin. We already know that Crowe has action prowess from his films like Gladiator, 3:10 to Yuma and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Blanchett was a very different Lady Marion. In the past, Marion is typically striking beautiful and elegant. However, Blanchett's Marion was gritty, real and was shown as more of a commoner than someone of higher class society. I actually prefer Blanchett's Marion to any other I have seen. Mark Strong and Oscar Isaac were both dubious villains. Strong was a clear villain throughout the entire film which gave you a nice character to hate. Isaac's character was sort on the fence at times. At first he was a spoiled prince, then he was the harsh king, followed by a king uniting his kingdom to fight the french and then finally going back to the villain King John.
I liked the co-characters of Will Scarlett, Little John and Friar Tuck, played by Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand and Mark Addy respectively. There parts were not major, which I was disappointed in, but nonetheless they did add to the fantasy of the film. Should Scott ever decide to throw out a sequel to this film these roles would be greatly increased and would do very well.
The action of the film was pretty good. There wasn't a total onslaught of fighting, just some good battles speckled throughout the film leading up to a climactic battle on the south coast of England against the French. I am a sucker for archers. I love archery and I love seeing it in films. The archery in this film, along with the other fight scenes were done really well though I thought there could have been more, especially in the end battle. While the end battle was good, it was slightly short and didn't feel as epic as it should have.
Overall, Robin Hood was a good. It was a great, new insight into the legend and it was awesome seeing how the outlaw came to be. A top notch cast performed great and director Ridley Scott made a film worthy of holding the Robin Hood title. If you are a fan of other Robin Hood movies then this one is definitely for you but it also has an appeal that will draw in all sorts of audiences. Do not expect to get tied up on the romance between Robin and Marion or the outlaw adventures but be prepared to see why all of that is the way it is.
I give Robin Hood 9 Merry Men in Tights out of 10.
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