Review - Robin Hood
Robin Hood (2010), PG-13, 140 minutes - The latest Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe collaboration is not the Robin Hood story we've all grown up with. Instead it's an alt continuity story of how Robin Hood became the outlaw that robs from the rich and steals from the poor that we are all familiar with. When you get right down to it, Ridley Scott's version is a prequel that mixes up character's histories while they still filling the same roles within the story.
Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride. That's right, Longstride. Not Loxley as in previous incarnations. Longstride actually poses as Robert Loxley at Sir Walter Loxley's (Robert's father) request after Robert and his fellow knights were killed in an ambush as they attempted to return the recently deceased King Richard's crown back to the palace (he was killed in battle). It seems like an odd request, but Sir Walter (Max von Sydow) knows that if news of his son's death reaches the public, there will be nothing to keep his land and wealth in his daughter in law's (Lady Marion played by Cate Blanchett) possession when he passes away. Longstride agrees to this as Sir Walter claims that he can hep Robin learn about his past (he lost his father at a young age and was an orphan).
At first Marion - who has the most drastic overhaul compared to the classic tale - is not happy with the situation, but realizes that Sir Walter law is right and that it is the best for the family estate. As Robin becomes part of Nottingham's community - he and his 'merry' men even hijack the church's shipment of seed to London so that the town can plant crops - she realizes that he is a good man in his own right and is posing as her dead husband for everyone's good, as opposed to his own personal gain. He and his men began as archers in King Richard's army and broke laws by posing as the knights that returned the crown to it's rightful home.
Robin's heritage, as relayed to him by Sir Walter, leads him to uniting the English under (the now) King John against the invading French. The French had been mounting a campaign to split England apart by ransacking villages in the name of King John. These French units are led by the duplicitous Sir Godfrey (King John's right hand man) who is played by jack of all villains Mark Strong.
The battle scenes, which aren't as frequent as I might have guessed, are very Gladiator-esque. Of course, this should come as no surprise given that Ridley Scott directs the film. Does anyone else do epic time pieces as well as he does?
Many of the reviews for Robin Hood that I have read over the past couple of days have complained about how this isn't the light hearted, 'merry' Robin Hood we all grew up with. Well, that's the point. Why tell the same story over and over again? Is it the best story ever? Probably not. Is it as campy and fun as some previous versions? No. But what this Robin Hood is, is an entertaining alternate take on the tale that leads it's characters in the direction of the forest dwelling, robbing from the rich, giving to the poor, merry men confounding a corrupted, tax hoarding King and Sheriff story that we all know and love.