Greenwood became the outlaw's friend, orphan boys welcome, there was no tax, no tides, no rich, no poor, fair trades at the table, many wrongs to be righted in the country of King John.
Ridley Scott's adaptation of the classic tale Robin Hood was, to say the least, not well received. Its bout at the box office, while formidable, was nothing epic, and its reception with critics and audiences alike was certainly not something to brag about. And, amidst all the yea's and nay's surrounding this film, there seeped from beneath this film an audible "Meh." But as strangely miscalculated and off beat as this film plays out to be for the major first part, Robin Hood indeed leads this film to a glorious victory that I can't deny.
Robin Hood is not the average Hood tale. This project, in fact, had quite the evolution during all phases of production. In its conception phase, it was called Nottingham and boasted Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and the alter-persona the Sheriff of Nottingham. This script was eventually scripted, along with several other innovative ideas, until they came to this strange Robin Hood origin story based on an imaginary reality.
We are men of the hood. Merry now at your expense.
As is, the tale shows us Robin Longstride (Crowe) as a courageous and gifted archer fighting for the crusading army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). When the king dies, the king's head knight, Sir Robert Loxley, is sent to deliver the crown to the king's brother, Prince John (Oscar Isaac). Robin, turned vigilante, finds himself in front of Sir Loxley and his band who were ambushed by the conspiring Godfrey (Mark Strong) and Longstride is given the task of taking Loxley's sword to his father Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow). As Longstride completes, he finds himself in a position to take on the persona of Loxley, live in his home, and even commune with his wife, the fair Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett). As he lives among them, he begins to become Robin Loxley, to be one of them, to be an outlaw, to be a wise warrior that will help England to fight off the French invasion brought on by the double-crossing Prince's right hand man, Godfrey.
The story is quite involved and, while interesting on the face, the screenplay just falls flat here. It's really a shame how this film just doesn't flow. I attribute it to the writing and editing, mainly, but I can't deny the weakness in direction. The acting is just fine, the cinematography is epic, the sets, the costumes… and Cate Blanchett playing a strong woman role again… its all there. It's just not a solid film. But something strange happens at the last half hour. The film takes a full 180 and we finally experience that feeling. We can sense the scope, smell the intensity, and feel the emotion. When Robin Longstride becomes Robin Hood is when Ridley Scott's tale truly takes its form and becomes what its entirety should have been.
I keep the bees, and the bees keep me.
- Crowe is a good choice for Robin Hood and he plays it well. Definitely better than Kevin Costner.
- The story is infinitely puzzling and strange. It rubs you the wrong way because its our favorite childhood tales run amuck. But when you actually consider it, this all ends up being a really cool new way to tell the story in a more "historical" setting. It even gives more meaning to Hood: why he is the way he is, what motivates him, and what he fights for and who.
- Poor Mark Strong is typecast as the bad guy now, but he does a great job. He gives you the heeby jeebies.
- Danny Huston has a minuscule part in this movie, but he is rocking my world these days. Ever since The Proposition he can't be missed.
- Mark Addy is a perfect Friar Tuck. The character is so distorted from the one we commonly know, but I love the creativity they put into this piece.
- Any film with Max von Sydow (aka Doctor Kynes from Dune) deserves an extra star. And Mark Addy (see Red Riding Trilogy). Maybe that's why I give this 4 instead of 3.
- The screenplay is just altogether miscalculated. I can't really pinpoint it, but everything just feels off. Like they didn't really know what they were doing.
- The music felt off and uninspired (not to mention uninspiring). Oddly enough, this was also something that changed in the latter portion of the film.
- The Sheriff of Nottingham's part is nothing more than a bit and really doesn't get explained at all.
- Prince/King John is annoying. I don't mean that he is just an overall annoying person, but he is written in an annoying manner. Because he does see reason at the end, beyond his mindless and puffed up bantering. He understands and is inspired. But all of a sudden he will change without any reason or rhyme. This is where you know the script went horribly wrong.
As miscalculated as this is, this film does take risks. Scott has a lot of guts trying to change, give life and explanation to, and otherwise reboot one of the most classic of tales. Looking with an open mind, these rewrites are all great additions. Very creative and definitely thought out. Unfortunately, that script, the editing, and even the music for the first majority of the film could (and did) ruin it for audiences. I believe that all problems with this film will all but disappear in a sequel and I for one would be eager to see it.
Henceforth I declare you to be an outlaw.