Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: Robin Hood

Grade: A-

Robin Longstride is an expert archer serving in King Richard the Lion Heart’s army fighting against the French for ten years. When King Richard is killed in battle, Robin thinks of self preservation and he and his men escape. When they come across a band of knights who were ambushed, Robin and his men decide to disguise themselves as the knights, who were bringing the crown back to the castle. One of the knights, Robert Loxley, asked Longstride to return his sword to his father in Nottingham, a town suffering from the corrupt town Sheriff and Prince John’s heavy taxing. Sir Walter Loxley asks Longstride to pose as the fallen Robert Loxley to raise morale in the town and in return he would teach Robin about his own past.

This is another case of horrible advertising for a movie. The trailers for this movie make it look too similar to Gladiator and make it seem like it is going to tell the same Robin Hood story that has been told a dozen times already on film. That just isn’t the case with this movie. First, I would like to say that this movie truly is a part of the Robin Hood story that I’ve never seen or heard. This story, in essence, acts as a precursor to the Robin Hood story we all know and love. It makes me want to research the actual story of Robin Hood to see how much of this is accurate. Many people will probably be disappointed by the movie because it’s showing how Robin Longstride became Robin Hood, in other words, he only steals from the rich to give to the poor once and there’s not much archery.

Director Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Black Hawk Down) did an amazing job with this movie. I again mention that the trailers make it look like he was trying to recreate his masterpiece, Gladiator, but in medieval times. Not at all the case, this movie has its own unique look and feel to it and it is a beautifully done movie. Granted, I still wish that he had made the movie he originally pitched, but nonetheless he managed to make a whole new Robin Hood that really surprised me and I liked a lot more than I originally thought I would.

Russell Crowe (State of Play, 3:10 to Yuma) plays Robin Longstride, the man who becomes Robin Hood. Crowe did a spectacular job with the role and really helped make this movie. I will admit though, I feel that Crowe is almost too old for the role as I have always been under the impression that Robin Hood was fairly young. Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) plays the role of Robin Hood’s love interest, Marion Loxley. Blanchett did a really good job with her role too but I have the same concern about her age as I do Crowe’s. Mark Strong (Kick-Ass, RocknRolla) plays the role of Godfrey, a close friend of Prince John’s who is actually French and plotting to kill the new king. Strong just keeps getting better and better in everything I see him in, he definitely made this role. The movie also features great performances by Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Kevin Durand, Oscar Issac, Mark Addy, Danny Huston, Matthew Macfadyen, Lea Seydoux and more.

Robin Hood is a surprisingly good movie that is extremely enjoyable. I have to say once again, you need to keep an open mind while watching it because it’s not really the action movie the trailers are portraying it to be. The story, though, is very well told and a lot of fun once it gets into it.

Great quote: “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”

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