Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt, Danny Huston & Max Von Sydow.
Written by Brian Helgeland.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Yep, I’m a fan of Ridley Scott. I like his style, even though I haven’t enjoyed each and every one of the films he has made in his 30-year career. And I’ll say this: Ridley’s Robin Hood looks great. Production is first-rate – costumes and sets are flawless; the photography is slick and embedded with Ridley’s trademark silvery, dark sheen. But I’ll also say this about Ridley’s Robin Hood: It’s rubbish. And here’s why my friends.
1. Too damn long. Hey Ridley, have you forgotten how to use the knife? In attempting to make Robin Hood an epic tale about a torn England on the scale of Gladiator or Kingdom Of Heaven, the filmmakers have shown what a tiny and somewhat insignificant story Robin Hood actually is. The story expounded here could very easily have been a mere ten-minute prologue at the beginning of a typical Robin Hood tale. Even still, cutting a chunk of change from the film would have little effect, considering…
2. Brian Helgeland’s script is so boring. More than a decade since his phenomenal work on L.A. Confidential, Helgeland has delivered a clichéd pile of Nottingham waste, with more than three films’ share of useless exposition. There are more effective methods of progressing a story than having characters explain their every move. That’s called having contempt for your audience, Brian (although perhaps a legion of script doctors deserve some blame too).
3. Russell looks quite hefty for a guy eking an existence as a “lowly archer” in medieval France. You have to wonder what’s on the menu ‘round the campfire outside Chalus Castle. I thought you were dedicated to your craft, Russ? If Bale can starve himself for The Machinist, then how about you step up, buddy?
4. A crapload of supporting characters and typical medieval scheming does not an epic make. So many “big” movies make the mistake of thinking that having many subplots and a multitude of characters alone gives the impression of “scale”. But it matters little if these subplots are tiresome and the characters so thin.
5. If you’re going to layer make-up on Cate Blanchett so that she appears ten years younger than she actually is, why not just use an actress ten years younger than Cate Blanchett?
The truth is – does anyone really give a flying one as to how Robin of Locksley became Robin the Hood? What the audience for this type of film is interested in are the antics of the Merry Men and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, pumped up for the modern age. Give me Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman any day. Hell, give me Patrick Bergin as Robin. Just don’t subject me to half-assed epics that don’t deserve the name.
by Wadrick Jones