Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ridley Scott's Robin Hood

Of myths and legends, there are many (hundreds... thousands, even) I love. Regarding mythologies, I can safely claim that the Greek Mythos is my favorite. Regarding legends... well, that favorite would have to be Robin Hood.

Robin Hood, to me, has them all beat. King Arthur included. Maybe it's because I favor archery to swordplay, or maybe it's because Robin Hood has more successfully blended himself with factual history than has King Arthur. I guess I don't really know why, but good ol' Sherwood is just more attractive to me than the Round Table.

From N.C. Wyeth's fabulous oil paintings to Louis Rhead's amalgamation/interpretation of the overall legend; from Errol Flynn to a Disney-animated fox; from Sean Connery to Kevin Costner; from supporting roles in Ivanhoe to cameo appearances in Defender of the Crown... I just love Robin Hood.

So, by now it should be no surprise that I eagerly awaited the latest film adaption of the tale. One directed by an outstanding filmmaker (and a personal favorite), Ridley Scott, and starring one of the better actors of the current generation, Russell Crowe. I mean, these guys did Gladiator together. There was no doubt in my mind that this Robin Hood was just going to be a kick-ass film.

And then I watched it. It was definitely kick-ass. But, somehow, it was also very disappointing.

Before I continue, let's clear this up: Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is a good movie. Not as good as Gladiator (or even Kingdom of Heaven), but it's still very, very good.

But it wasn't Robin Hood.

Oh, sure, the names were the same, the era of history was the same, etc. But it wasn't Robin Hood. It was... it was... hmm... it was simply another "historical war movie." I have to apologize, as I'm really at a loss to explain this. The film just wasn't Robin Hood.

Now, Ridley Scott did a fine job tying the legend in with history (a much better job than Antoine Fuqua did with that King Arthur movie a few years ago) and really did put together a wonderful film... but the "Robin Hood" part of Robin Hood seemed absent (I apologize again, as I'm now repeating myself).

And... and... Russell Crowe was a very good titular character. Many complained about his casting, but like Michael Keaton as Batman, it worked. Not only that, Russell Crowe looks a bit like he could be a wrestler, and anyone familiar with the literary Robin Hood knows that the outlaw is only good at two things: archery and (voila!) wrestling. So Crowe was fine for me.

And Mark Strong rocked as the villain (as he always does, it seems).

But it just wasn't Robin Hood.

All that stated, go see it, for it is a good movie. And it sets itself up for a sequel which (probably unsurprisingly) looks like it will be "Robin Hood." I won't explain more... the film deserves a view.


  1. Jeff, thanks for the heads-up. I need to check out the trailers to see if it's for kids, or go see it sans kids... I do love what the Pre-Raphaelites did with mythos and legends. -J

  2. Haven't seen it, but I have to ask - What did you think of the BBC Robin Hood that aired here as well? I liked it.

  3. I like this review, it was very understandable, and considering you were expressing what you couldn't seem to put into words, you did an excellent job of putting it into words!

    I like the Keaton Batman reference as well, that is right on the mark.

  4. I said the same thing after I saw the trailer. Looks like a great movie, but not Robin Hood. N. C. Wyeth? Now you're talkin'.

  5. somehow i just have no desire in the least to see it. maybe as a rental...if i want to watch Crowe i'll just stick Master and Commander in the dvd player--why don't they continue that series?

  6. We're going on Saturday. I can't even believe I've held out this long. Robin Hood junkie that I am.

    oh and @ Tom - have you READ that series?!? Because I have and I don't see how they could do it. Not in today's Hollywood, anyway...

  7. I was pretty sure that Russell Crowe would be a lousy Robin Hood, and I was right. Of course, this movie was so unlike Robin Hood, I'm not sure RC ever really had a chance. I was so bored.