Posts Tagged ‘Robin Hood’

Review: Robin Hood

13 May, 2010
Tackling the story of Robin Hood was always going to be a challenge for director Ridley Scott. The much loved tale of Nottingham’s most infamous resident was always at risk of upsetting fans of the legend, and taking on the fable by way of the ‘untold story’ has proved a mixed success for the famous talent.
The new film tells the story of how Robin – referred to here as Robin Longstride – initially ended up in the 13th century town of Nottingham after fighting alongside King Richard in France on the army’s return from the crusades.
Following the King’s death Robin (Russel Crowe) finds himself fleeing the shambolic army, taking on the identity of a dead knight, Robert Loxley, to get home to England under the pretence of returning the former king’s crown.
But having granting the knight’s dying wish to return his sword to his father in Nottingham, Robin finds himself embroiled in a fight to fend off the French army and reunite the nobles of the north – who are suffering from the heavy taxation and ineffective rule of the newly crowned king John.
It is difficult not to draw comparisons between this new Robin Hood and the director/actor team’s previous partnership on historical epic Gladiator. And it has to be said that the new film pales in comparison to their earlier efforts.
Director Ridley Scott does a good job of directing the film throughout, with slick, snappy editing and a firm display of his ability to direct with the best of them.
There are moments, however, where the action is all too familiar – a scene where Crowe rides his horse behind a row of archers and is thrown a weapon mid stride is almost identical to a like-for-like sequence in Gladiator, and Crowe’s Maximus-a-like gruff voice seems to be used more often than not to camouflage his wandering accent than to enhance it.
The battle scenes throughout the film also feel fairly boring and empty and fans of the director’s previous films will be disappointed not to see the relentless, all-out action of Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven.
The scale and excitement seems to have taken a back seat, perhaps in order to preserve the family-friendly 12A certificate, but the overall impression is that of watching a poor man’s version of a familiar blockbuster template.
The decision to take the story back to it’s origins was clearly a clever move, not only does it follow in the footsteps of hit prequel story films Batman Begins and Casino Royale, but it also gives the film a good chance to stand out from the age old story – and avoid any risks of Men in Tights parallels.
And although the back history to how this legend came about is interesting, the seemingly simple narrative does end up becoming tiresome and a little unbelievable at times, particularly the obscure flashbacks to Robin’s inexplicably absent childhood memories which conveniently make him the perfect candidate to unite the country’s noblemen.
The choice to make Robin a Yorkshire man with the home town of Barnsdale will also be sure to aggrieve some more patriotic Nottinghamshire viewers looking to celebrate the heritage of their home county.
With filming taking place only partly in Robin’s Sherwood Forest home, Crowe has taken it upon himself to contribute the majority of the wood to the film with a dull portrayal of what is clearly a far more interesting Character.For a role so close to ones he has excelled in previously it is hard to understand why there is such a lack of enthusiasm and passion here.
Elsewhere Cate Blanchett puts in a solid turn as the begrudged but empowered Marion Loxley, while British actor Mark Strong does a good job of appearing brooding and sinister despite his lack of dialogue.
The real star of the film however is Oscar Isaac as the naive and arrogant Prince John, toying with the character’s vulgar confidence as he turns from disgruntled prince to ardent but completely inept king. Every second of screen time seems to be made entirely his own and it is hard not be captivated by his ‘bad guy you love to hate’ performance, opting for his sleazy king above the slightly overlooked Sheriff of Nottingham.
Ridley Scott’s latest take on Robin Hood clearly showed ambition, and outlined what could have been a fantastic film and the first of this summer’s true blockbusters.
Unfortunately although the film clearly has its merits the end result is something which does no justice to Scott as a director, Crowe as a leading man, or the legend of Robin Hood.
2/5
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Ridley’s Robin Arrives

15 December, 2009

It has been trapped in development hell for years – mainly due to an intricate casting system which seemed to involve getting into a punch-up with anyone and everyone who may have been unfortunate enough to have auditioned – but the first glimpse of Ridley Scott’s Robin hood has finally arrived on the internet.

Set for release in 2010 (providing you will believe absolutely anything you are told), the Russel Crowe led biopic claims to set our the ‘true’ story of the infamous outlaw and his rise to notoriety.

Now seemingly settled on the title of Robin Hood after seemingly trying out every possible combination of words in the English language, the film also stars Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian and the not-at-all-menacing-looking Matthew Macfayden as The Sheriff of Nottingham.

To be honest, the trailer looks like a more British version of the opening battle scenes of Gladiator, but then that is probably not all bad. Crowe gets to husky grumble a bit in his trademark style, although it’s have any idea if he is attempting an accent having upped the gruff-factor to 11. Clearly Crowe feels Christian Bale needs a run for his money following the last two Batman films.

The trailer looks much darker than I think most people were anticipating, and it certainly shows all the hallmarks of the historical action epic exhibited in Gladiator, Braveheart et al, but I’m reserving judgement until we get more than a minute and a half of moody looking shots in the dark.

You can watch the trailer over at comingsoon.net here.

The jury is out on whether or not this Dylan-esque ditty will be included in the update:

New Robin Hood details out

9 June, 2009

More news has emerged on Russel Crowe and Ridley Scott’s much troubled Robin Hood Film.

After being known as Nottingham since day one angry Aussie Crowe has revealed in a radio interview that the film will now be released under the startlingly innovative moniker of Robin Hood. Quite how they came up at that off-the-wall idea I doubt we will ever know.

Director Scott has also binned his original idea of focussing the story on the Sheriff of Nottingham as the hero, and having Robin Hood as the film’s villain. Clearly this was interesting, so Scott has decided to ditch the plan in favor of a more familiar platform – with Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Last month a few more photos were leaked of angry men in armour running about in fields after this shot of Crowe in action, so it would seem that hugely delayed production is now up and running.

robin-hood-russell-crowe

You can listen to the ten minute interview with Crowe on the film’s set courtesy of livenews.com.au here.

Let me know what you think of Robin Hood by leaving a comment below, is this project back on target or just far wide of the mark?