Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood (2010)By far the better of the filmic takes on the British legend, whether it’s origins be in Nottingham or Kent is neither here nor there to me. Ridley Scott‘s take on Robin Hood, has rebooted and energized the legend. I feel that Scott being British has allowed him more of a creative licence and time to research the legend before making Robin Hood (2010).

A pleasing re-teaming of Russel Crowe and the epic director of the action genre. Crowe seems more at home on a battlefield than most of his work, which can be seen in Gladiator (2000) the single man, taking on the might of power in a great struggle. With the rewriting, or the beginning of the legend we are shown how he became the outlaw that we celebrate today. Which at first threw me, and probably many other, since The Sheriff of Nottingham has always been the main villain in the legend, he plays a far smaller if not insignificant role until the legend takes its roots at the end.

It was mentioned early on that Robin Hood/Longstride has spent time in Arabia, which was touched upon in Robin Hood: Prince of Theives (1991) where we saw Morgan Freeman introduced into the modern retelling of the legend which was more for audience numbers, as no-one can ignore his presence, but seemed out-of-place in that earlier telling. Scott merely touches on Robin’s time there as one of King Richards archers who was part of his army that went on his ten-year journey.

Already this is a much richer and historically informed version of events, It may seem that it strays from the known man who stole from the rich to give to the poor which seems now be a more contemporary take, in the light of us paying taxes, having a historical release. He may indeed have done all of this, Scott doesn’t deny he didn’t, by the film’s end, he is made an outlaw, which may have forced him to commit crimes.

Turning to Maid Marion/Loxley (Cate Blanchett) brings a level of masculinity that had not been found in the role before, previously more of a standing up to Robin’s advances. She is on the same level as Robin in the film. And much like Crowe she does a convincing English accent for the area, unlike Crowe, that I can’t quite place, still it’s no big deal. Compared to Kevin Costner‘s complete lack of, but made up by the pathos and honor that he brought to the role in his take on the role.

Not half the bloodbath that Gladiator was a decade earlier it is made up for in the ground it covers, going across England, creating a whole new legend for us to digest, and hopefully add to the legend. We see hints of Spielberg’s take on violence when the French Armada arrive on the British beaches (not sure where), in the Normandy landing in Saving Private Ryan  (1999). We can hardly see the use of special effects to create the castles that are visited, and the invasion at the end. There is more an emphasis on the landscape in its rural untouched form of the period, which is a credit to the cinematography and locations chosen for the film.

Lastly it inject a real sense of pride into the legends and the viewer, that Britain is great, seeing off yet another French attack, coming together in an hour of need, even when the strength of the Monarchy is in doubt. I enjoyed seeing us giving the French another good thrashing in battle. With a largely British cast, mostly in supporting roles, the international cast did at least use acceptable accents. It also celebrated the wealth of homegrown acting talent we have on offer on this small island. I finish by saying that I still more than ever want to see one of the earlier takes of the legend by the great Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), which will help me see modern evolution of the Medieval man. It also reflects even though different in content the legend of Wyatt Earp that is celebrated by America, how it evolves over time, when new evidence is found, how they inform what we know, and how cinema interprets that.


3 responses

  1. Good review!

    October 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    • Thank you!

      October 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

  2. I must say that if I was casting a Robin Hood movie, Russel Crowe would not be the first actor that came to mind – despite his having done Gladiator – and his obvious charisma and Acting credentials. Not a bad movie really … have watched it a couple of times, but something seems to be missing? What? The public seems to have felt that way and the movie wasn’t the success that Scott and Crowe hoped for – as it is also evident that they planned for sequels.
    Robin Hood however, like Sherlock Holmes, may not be an easy role to pull off. Like Holmes, it’s been done so many times – so what’s new that you can bring to the Forest? so to speak. This also applies to the other well known characters in the well known yarn: Tuck, Little John, Marion, and the evil Sheriff himself. Ah well, people DO love this story – and it will Sherly be played again.

    January 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm

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