Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Summary: Robin Longstride is an archer in King Richard the Lionheart’s army. On their way back home from the Crusades Robin finds himself making a promise to a dying soldier. Unbeknownst to Robin his promise takes him to Nottingham where he discovers the truth about his past. Now that Robin has found his identity he takes part in the fight to save his country from a French invasion.
Plot (C+): I honestly had no clue that this movie was going to be an origin story. Since establishing this blog I try not to read any reviews or spoilers before seeing a film. I only go by the trailers. This way I can form my opinions on films. Robin Hood was much different then I had anticipated and I don’t mean that in a negative way. If anyone was expecting to see the classic Robin Hood story I’m sorry to say this isn’t it. As a historian, I will tell you that there are no conclusive records on who Robin Hood was exactly, which is why there are so many different tales. More specifically, the legend of Robin Hood stems from English folklore. With that said, the story which was presented did keep me interested. Many of the classic Robin Hood virtues are present in this film but he doesn’t rob from the rich and give to the poor. While I did find the movie to be interesting I wasn’t fully captivated by the story. The film lacked a sense of energy. Also, it was definitely too long and slow to develop. Certain scenes could have been cut out and just added to the DVD. Usually I like movies to be long but I felt that the lengthy time factor worked against it.
Action (B): Action movies that are set in ancient or medieval times have always caught my interest mainly due to my love for history. When I see those types of movies the battle scenes and fighting styles have to be accurate. If they are not, you can expect people, myself included, to get pissed and call it bullshit. Movies like Gladiator, 300, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven correctly displayed the battle techniques used during those periods thus adding to the films authenticity. While Robin Hood’s plot may have not been the strongest I did like the battle scenes. The combination of archers, cavalry, and infantry proved to be England’s greatest strength during times of war. There was a decent amount of action throughout the story however I felt that battle scene at the end of the film was too short and anticlimactic. I don’t need a 25 minutes battle scene, but something a little more than 7 minutes works for me.
Acting and Dialogue (B-): It goes without saying that Russell Crowe is a very good actor. His dedication to this role is clearly seen throughout the film. From his accent to his skill with the bow and arrow one must applaud his effort. Does Crowe have the same impact as he did in Gladiator? Certainly not. However, he correctly portrays a man who holds his morals very high. Cate Blanchett appropriately fitted the role of Marion: strong, stubborn, loyal, and a tender loving heart. I expected much more from Mark Strong. After seeing his villainous role as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes I was confident that he would deliver as Godfrey, the Englishman who betrayed his country for France, however that was not the case. He came off a bit dull in my eyes but I think that was just his character. He probably would have been better for the role of King John although that would have meant even less screen time for him. Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Constant Gardener) who played King Richard was a delight to see. His acting was entertaining and properly gave life to man who has been dead for 811 years. What I thought was really funny about him was the way he looked. Huston looked extremely similar to the Lion from The Wizard of Oz after he got that makeover in palace…no joke. He sported long curly hair and thick beard. How appropriate if you think about it.
Sex Appeal: N/A
Director (B): Every time I watch a new Ridley Scott movie I know I’m in for some type of treat. His films range from being elaborately beautiful to simplistic and bloody. No matter what direction he decides to go in you can rest assure a good story will be told. Here’s a man who directed a variety of classics such as: Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, and Gladiator. These are only a fraction of the quality movies he has directed in his time and I feel ashamed not to mention them (I HIGHLY recommend Matchstick Men with Nicholas Cage…HIGHLY). As usual Scott incorporated the same style of directing as he always does in these dramatic action films. The camera is up close and personal with the actors to provide a deeper connection with the audience. The battle scenes are properly filmed with a combination of wide aerial and ground shots. Due to my vast amount knowledge I did spot a carbon copy action scene from Gladiator and I felt that was a cop out. (If you care to know what it is just ask) As I mentioned earlier the film was a bit long…2 ½ hours to be exact. Still, Scott should be praised for his efforts.