Film Reviews

ROBIN HOOD

By • May 14th, 2010 •

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The cast, production and costumes are terrific. The story is so muddled and lousy it stains GLADIATOR. Crowe was right to fight – as rumored – with Scott. He looks great.

The New York Post’s Page Six revealed last year that Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott, who were teaming up for the fifth time on ROBIN HOOD, “were not talking to each other, costing the $175 million production millions of dollars.” On June 9, 2009 Page Six said that “Crowe no longer wanted to work with Scott, whom he blamed for their disastrous fourth collaboration, BODY OF LIES.

Then, in January, Page Six reported how the Oscar-winning Crowe “ordered producers to get a new director and demanded script rewrites that devoted more of the plot to him.” Page Six continued: “The delays caused Sienna Miller to drop out, and Crowe had to go on a crash diet to drop 35 pounds because, as one producer noted, “We can’t have Robin Hood looking more like Friar Tuck.”

Crowe looks fabulous and even takes his shirt off! After watching the film, I have to side with Crowe if indeed he refused to talk to Scott and demanded script changes – the movie is just lousy and a big disappointment.

Why did Crowe agree to do another bedroom scene between Robin Hood and old patriarch Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) so identical to the GLADIATOR scene between Maximus and old patriarch Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris)?

How many times is Ridley Scott going to re-play this scene? What does this scene mean in his life? What problem is 73 year old Scott still working on with his father?* I first saw it in BLADE RUNNER (1982) – the bedroom scene between Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) and his creator Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel).

The old guy always dies in the opulent bedroom. Creepy, huh?

Even the score by Marc Streitenfeld sounds eerily like GLADIATOR’s. Of course, the gladiators – Thank God – didn’t sing! There is too much singing by Robin’s men. They keep breaking into song!

In this prequel to the legend, Robin Hood (Crowe) has nothing to do with the confused and forgettable Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen). His band of Merry Men numbers three (Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand and Alan Doyle). Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett) is a warrior and tough as nails. Remember “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor”? Not here. Robin could care less about the poor, starving peasants of England.

Maybe the whole forest of Merry Men led by the outlaw Robin Hood looked too gay.

Robin Longstride isn’t even a thief! He’s an archer in Richard (Danny Huston) the Lionheart’s army. After a bloody defeat, Robin and his buddies steal the clothes of dead knights, assume their identities, and escape the battlefield.

A dying soldier asks Robin to take his sword back to his father in Nottingham. It so happens that the man’s old father is Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow). The man married Marion and then immediately – even that night – went to war for ten years. Lady Marion is almost a 35 year-old virgin! (Hence the name change from “Maid Marian” to Lady Marion?)

Sir Walter has a nutty plan to pretend that Robin is his long-lost son so his 5,000 acres does not go back to the king on his death, which he thinks is imminent. He’s on “death watch”. And, to boot, Sir Walter knows the real story of Robin’s late father. He was a hero!

There is lots of political intrigue and royal flirting as petulant Prince John (Oscar Isaac) becomes king after Richard the Lionheart’s death and tries to gain control over the war with France. Instead of the infamous villain, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin’s rival is very mean Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong).

I would have liked more seduction between Robin and Marion. Crowe and Blanchett have chemistry and should do another movie together not directed by Scott. If someone mocked Crowe into losing his BODY OF LIES weight (supposedly Crowe intentionally gained 63 pounds for the part just like De Niro did for RAGING BULL), it worked. He looks powerful and back in peak sexy form.

I loved the entire production, which looked authentic. Castle life never looked like this! And Lady Marion milks cows and cleans horse droppings! She also knows how to kill with a bow.

The battle scenes are where Scott excels but you know that with Crowe sulking in his trailer and screaming at the producers, Scott had time to indulge his passion for cruel deaths and warcraft.

*According to Wikipedia.org, “Ridley Scott was born in South Shields, in Tyne and Wear, England, Ridley Scott grew up in an Army family, meaning that for most of his early life, his father – an officer in the Royal Engineers – was absent.”

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