Friday, May 14, 2010


ROBIN HOOD (English/PG13)

Genre: Action/Drama
Release Date: 13 May 2010
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 141 minutes
Director: Ridley Scott
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe
Writers: Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris
Casts: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Danny Huston, Mark Strong, Max von Sydow, Oscar Isaac
Plot: Russell Crowe plays Robin of Loxley in an origin story of Robin Hood that reportedly hews close to historical facts of the period. Abandoned as a child, he finds community with the common people of Nottingham. Robin's abandonment and trust issues hamper his ability to fall in love. He meets his match in Marion (Cate Blanchett), a strong independent woman.


Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions; one of the famous quotes to be repeatedly uttered throughout the movie by the not-so-young looking Robin Longstride to commemorate the establishment of democracy in England. Robin who you ask? It was Robin the Hood, an iconic figure of justice that forged a center swashbuckling and bow-arrow romance that for years become an acceptable legend. Thought of Kevin Costner’s play as Robin Hood in this film? No, this version of Robin Hood by Ridley Scott is rather unusual, different and deserves some lamb-slaughtering status. Teaming up with Russell Crowe for yet again – after box office hits like Gladiator and American Gangster, the pair makes the Robin Hood unlike what you may have thought.

Ridley Scott’s version takes audience back in the late 12th century where Robin Hood was part of the Crusader army under King Richard, retreating back from the Holy Land and en-route back to England while slamming and looting the properties of King Philips of France. When he was travelling back to England, he found a severely injured knight, Sir Robert Loxley and made a promise to bring his sword back to his father, Sir Walter Loxley. However, King Richard died during the war leaving the flamboyant and inexperienced John to become the new monarch. Unrealized that a greater plan of seizing the throne of England from the enemy in within the palace, Robin Hood led the Northern allies to defend the soil of England from unwanted invasion.

The previous paragraph roughly details you the story and tell me which part sounds familiar to you? Yes, there is none that sounds like what you have always knew about – Robin Hood the bandit thief from Nottingham that steals from the rich and gives to the poor, but the undying fact that with endless strings of prequel done by the Hollywood; Robin Hood is one of the decent movies that I have seen over the years. The prequel goes way before Robin got to be a folklore hero. If you are still insisting to see Robin Hood steals some gold vase from some rich ass and gives it to the poor, let me assure you that you won’t get one. Instead, you got one decent looking medieval war epic, mixed around with the taste during the early days of the Merry Band, Lady Marion and Robin Longstride. For this, I have no doubt that many will be disappointed with the result of going to something unfamiliar!

I love how the whole movie feels – the 80% seriousness and anger, added in 10% merry-go-round with his Merry Men and another 10% of political chaotic infused, the whole mixture sort of giving the much deserved story telling that uniquely introduces who Robin Hood was. I have to say it wasn’t the best film that was made by Ridley Scott but it definitely gives a lot of positive impact and aura when you watch it. Like I have said, some may not agree with me because of how unfamiliar things had done by Ridley Scott.

The first part of the movie, implicating the war of rages and how Robin Hood returning back to England set a standard of high quality actions, particularly does have some resemblance with the loud opening of the fantastic Saving Private Ryan. This one did just the same, throwing some pebbles and arrows around, you get one entertaining affair. The middle part goes the tone down a bit – talks about politics. It’s a bit boring for the non-endurance audiences, but surprisingly Ridley Scott managed to muscle in great details of plot talk and interesting intervention timing between some chuckles of humor and some serious stuff. The last 40 minutes were perhaps the highlight again with swashbuckling and arrow actions are back into the business. The final battle highlights why Robin Hood deserved to be the iconic English hero – leading a marching army to defend the invading French, ala the landing Normandy styles. Truly epic and truly exhilarating!

Russell Crowe’s outing as Robin Hood did not take off as smooth as I thought. This could be one of the time when I have to say Russell Crowe gave a similar performance like General Maximus Decimus Meridius; angry and serious for most of the time. Perhaps this Ridley Scott’s version is far too dark and you will probably miss the funny side on the character itself. Another character that suffers the same weird circumstances was Lady Marion (noted that it is not called Maid Marion after all) by Cate Blanchett. She misfires by taking up the armor and goes for war too in the end aside from talking vocally about politics too. There is little but ample screen time for other characters of the Merry Men. Since this is a prequel and Ridley Scott attempted for a different direction, these disfiguring can be forgiven! As far as the casting concerned, the only thing that matter is the deviation of the characters we have all known. Mark Strong is yet again having a strong performance as another villain. I have lost count but I have figured out that he has been as one for three times now in the last six months.

Truly, there is a lot of love or hate going on for this movie. For me, as far as I concerned, I love this movie and I love how they have take this movie into a different direction, different approach and different setting. It rather looks decent rather a useless piece of mindless actions. It could have gone wrong for more, but I have to say that Ridley Scott did make a great job on this one. A decent movie script, appealing star power that differs from usual, good action choreography and a terrific emotion and setting display, it all sums up to say that Robin Hood is indeed good.

Story - 4.0 stars
Casts - 3.5 stars
Cinematography - 4.0 stars
Effects - 3.5 stars
OVERALL - 3.5 stars