Dir: Sir Ridley Scott
After we'd been in to see 'Kingdom of Heaven' in 2005, Oleg, Tracey and I were walking back through the city on a pleasant warm evening. I remarked, "All we need now is for Ridley Scott to do Robin Hood... ", my reference being to our first true skirmish campaigns. Robin Hood and Robin Hood II.
2010 and hey presto; Sir Ridley (a.k.a. The Last God of Cinematography) has answered my prayer and given us yet another precious historical movie set in one of my favourite historical periods. Granted this is not an accurate portrayal of the history of that period, but given what else is on offer, I am more than happy to accept this gift from an aging director with a great many projects planned, and precious few years to accomplish them all. Not even an itchy eye ball could keep me away!
Okay, so now I've gotten that off my chest; what was wrong with this film? The main problem I felt was the rushed story. I didn't mind the premise of who Robin Hood was in this film (half the time it didn't actually feel like a story about Robin Hood at all but rather some other bloke who'd been confused for Robin Hood) but I felt the story telling was a bit glossed over in parts, perhaps due to time constraints. Its possible that like 'The Kingdom of Heaven', this film will see an extended directors cut in a few years time that will rectify the problem of the rushed story telling, and I can live in hope until then; certainly the DC of TKOH is a far better film than the the cinematic release.
Some people have said that this film is superfluous, that essentially is not about Robin Hood at all, but how Robin Hood came to be Robin Hood and for some reason this invalidates the premise of the film. I disagree with that entirely. As Oleg pointed out, what is the true story of Robin Hood? A man with a bow, in Sherwood Forest?
I found remarkably few things to whine about. I liked what I saw. Certainly there were a few jarring details, such as the D Day style (and totally fictitious) French invasion, and Robin's father being hinted as being the architect of Magna Carta, but these were minor abstractions, not worthy of irritation when considered beside the humour, good acting and generally excellent cinematography and art direction.
And then there was the ambiance! Not quite, truly medieval (not a hose in sight) but closer than just about any one else has ever come, with a decent budget, I think. Some of the hovels were a bit dodgy, a bit too fantastic, but on the whole, the film looked like a Robin Hood film ought to look, like a fine balance between realism and fiction. Here are a few behind the scenes pictures regarding buildings.
The acting was not brilliant, but it was well delivered and often humorous. Crowe and Blanchett both carried their roles well (in fact I think this is the best I've ever seen from Blanchett since she played Queen Elizabeth, the first time around). It was funny to see two Aussies smooching as English folk hero's.
The best played parts, as I felt, were by Oscar Issac as a very insecure, but essentially manipulative King John and good old Max Von Sydow as the blind Sir William Loxley.
'Robin Hood' gets five stars because it is what it is. Because this is a film I wanted. Because it looked good even if it wasn't fantastic, and because life is too short to stare gift horses in the mouth!
'Gladiator' was released in 2000, 'The Kingdom of Heaven' in 2005 and now 'Robin Hood' in 2010... Sir Ridley is 72 years old now... dare I ask for a film about 'The Battle of Lepanto' in 2015? There's no harm in asking I suppose so...
P L E A S E ! ! ! ! ! !