Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Rated: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content
Movie Released: 2010
As the 2010 summer season kicked off in full force with the release of Iron Man 2, Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up again to keep summer rolling ahead like a steam roller. Of course many people remember 2000’s Gladiator, the Oscar winning picture that propelled Crowe into A- list super stardom, and was also directed by none other than Ridley Scott. Because of the success of Gladiator, the marketing on Robin Hood is playing up the fact that this is the teaming of Scott and Crowe once again- or a return to glory if you will. You see, Robin Hood is the latest collaboration between the actor and the director, but it certainly was not the first since Gladiator. Few remember a 2006 film called, A Good Year in which Crowe and Scott collaborated. The film quickly slunk out of box offices with few people remembering it’s existence. Now back to right their wrongs, Crowe and Scott try to return to the top with Robin Hood.
The story of Robin Hood is that age old tale that everyone knows. Robin Hood is an outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor in the town of Nottingham, a town that is plagued by high taxation, a tyranical king and a villainous sheriff. After, all how many versions of Robin Hood have been made over the years? I had a hard time believing that there was room in the cinematic world for one more version. However, Scott’s Robin Hood takes an old tale and gives it a new fresh twist. Instead of focusing on what everyone knows, Scott tells you how we got there in the first place. In this prequel like story telling of the classic tale, Scott tells the story of how Robin of Loxley becomes the infamous hero, Robin Hood.
Despite the fact the Scott takes some liberties with the original story and characters, he creates a wonderful story that is fun to watch unfold. It was certainly interesting to see Scott’s take on Robin Hood, and you could tell all involved worked very hard to try and create something fresh out of aged material. While audiences think that they know the tale inside out and backwards, this retelling is almost guaranteed to add something new to the mix.
Russell Crowe does a great job as Robin, however in many ways that is to be expected. Love him or hate him, Crowe is a gifted actor, (and if you don’t agree with that statement he just might bludgeon you with a hotel telephone). This epic like tale requires again the Crowe taps into that same acting strength that he showed years ago in Gladiator, and the star does so with ease. However, one man can not carry the entire film on his own. It is the people who surround Crowe that enhance the performance. Cate Blanchett appears as maid Marion, in a role that she hits spot on. And if Blanchett wasn’t enough star power to propel this flick forward, an appearance by Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Rock and Rolla, Body of Lies) as the villainous Godfrey is enough to make you excited about this film.
Now I am the last person in the world who pays attention to sound. I’m not much of an audiophile, so when sound sticks out to me in a film that means it is either doing something very right…or very wrong. In the case of Robin Hood, I felt as though it was the latter. The theater echoed with the pounding of hoof beats, clanking swords and a soundtrack that really seemed to enhance the film from start to finish. In fact, many times it was the soundtrack that sucked you in the moment with greater ease than the performances on the screen.
My biggest issue with Robin Hood was after watching it from start to finish, I realized I really don’t care if I watch it again. This epic film was a popcorn flick cross between Gladiator and Braveheart, and aside from a new twist on an old tale really brought nothing new to the table. I am certainly glad that I have seen it, and even in the days following the screening I find myself suggesting it to people. I think Robin Hood is certainly a great film for a one time viewing, but I don’t feel as though it has much re-watch value. It’s a great 2 hour 20 minute escape from reality but in the end I felt that it was a film that would be only gratifying the first time around. Whether you decide to see Robin Hood in theaters or wait until DVD is up to you. I will say that I had a great time seeing it in the theaters, and personally I think it’s the type of film that was made for a big screen. Audiences that see the film theatrically will really enjoy it, however, the film should still play well on a decent home theater system. Grab your popcorn folks and get ready for Robin Hood.