Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Movie version of Robin Hood

On Monday evening I saw Ridley Scott's adaption of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. When the film was announced a few years ago, I was delighted one of my favorite directors was taking on one of my favorite legends. After all this is the man who brought us Blade Runner, Legend, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and A Good Year. As production news leaked into the press the story and the cast changed. For awhile the film was going to have the Sheriff of Nottingham as the hero. Then for the blink of an eye Sienna Miller was cast as Maid Marion. From the beginning, one casting decision never changed, Russell Crowe was going to star.

A few years ago I introduced my Kid to the cult classic British television series Robin of Sherwood. I was obsessed with the show when it aired in the US from 1984-1986 and thrilled when it was finally released on DVD decades later. My son and I have watched every episode and he loves them as much as I do. We often have Robin of Sherwood TV marathons. The show remains beloved to this day and it's easy to find Yahoo groups and fan sites on the web.

Because of our fondness for Robin Hood including some of the other films (who can forget the hilarity that was Kevin Costner's campy 1991 version) we were both excited to see the latest big screen adaption. Bottom line: the hype was better than the film. Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is terrible. How such an esteemed director could create such complete crap is a mystery. Maybe it's the story...we are after all talking about a legend. Scott shows us his version of Robin Hood before he became Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest. Here Crowe is a soldier fighting the French and then through a deliberate impersonation of Robert Loxley he ends up fighting for the British poor and romancing the dead Robert's widow (Marion played by the frozen face of Cate Blanchett). Toss in a few Merry Men such as Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett and Little John and Scott must have thought he had the makings of a new version of the legend. Ummm no. I'm not even sure where to start. Crowe and Blanchett are WAY too old to portray these characters, the movie is one battle after another and usually not on English soil, the real characters of Richard the Lionheart and his brother King John are tossed in with such inaccurate histories as to make it laugh out loud funny. As long as Scott was trying to throw in some English history maybe he could have tried to get something right like Richard the Lionheart's death or the real age of King John's wife who in reality was a 12 year old little girl but in the film was substituted with a lusty adult french actress. Maybe even remaining true to a large part of the legend would have been a start, that Robin was an archer, but as my friend Diana pointed out he only picked up his bow maybe 2 times in the film (and once was probably to get the promotional shot in the movie poster above). Sigh...

So if you are a fan of Robin Hood, skip this movie, it's really bad, not even Ridley Scott's lush settings, war scenes and imagery can save it. Watch Robin of Sherwood on DVD and enjoy the fun, the legend, the 80's bad but charming special effects and the amazing music by Clannad.

No comments: