Friday, June 19, 2015

"Robin Hood" (2010) -- Initial Thoughts

Sometimes when a movie bombs, I watch it and wonder, "What is wrong with people?  Why didn't anyone like this?"  Sometimes, I watch it and think, "Yeah, no wonder this wasn't popular."  Sadly, this movie falls into the latter category.

And I do mean "sadly," because this movie has so much potential!  I mean, you've got Russell Crowe looking fit and fearsome as Robin Hood.

You've got Cate Blanchett as a determined, weary Marion (not a maid though -- she's a widow).

You've got Matthew Macfadyen having waaay too much fun playing the sinister Sheriff of Nottingham.

And you've got this ultra-scowly Sheriff's Thug to spice things up!

Oh yes, my friends, that is a young and lunchable Luke Evans right there, making a one-line appearance and scowling so fiercely he makes MY face hurt.  That screencap above is way too dark to be properly appreciated, so here's a closer, lightened up version for you to enjoy.

Okay, so you've got all that amazing talent, you've got wonderful costumes, you've got Ridley Scott directing, and Brian Helgeland writing the screenplay -- how did this go so wrong?!  Actually, I think I know.  This is how:

This is the final words-panel, which pops up before the end credits.  This movie was meant to be the beginning of a series.  And instead of writing a super-actiony Robin Hood retelling, they wrote an origins story that spent 45 minutes getting to Nottingham.  Instead of giving us all the fun stuff we expected, with Robin teasing the Sheriff of Nottingham, the archery tournament, robbing the rich to feed the poor and so on... we got a convoluted origin story.  Which, you know, wouldn't be so bad if this was a TV mini-series and we had more episodes to expound the story with.  Or if this was a prequel to a movie about all the usual fun Robin Hood stuff.  Or even if this movie was called The Origins of Robin Hood or something like that instead.

There's a lot of fun there, even so.  You've got Robin Hood shooting his bow and arrow once in a great while.

You've got Robin Hood riding a horse.  He rides quite well, and I rather wish there had just been 45 minutes of him riding a horse at the beginning instead of all that nonsense about the Crusades and politics.

You've got Robin Hood shirtless.  No explanation necessary.

And you've got this awesomely shot invasion of England that makes this look like the D-DAY landing during WWII, only the attack is coming from the opposite side of the channel.

But what you don't have is a solid Robin Hood story.  It ends right when all the fun should begin, with Robin gathering a following, hiding out in Sherwood Forest, and making a stand against the Sheriff of Nottingham.  If only the rest of the movie had lasted maybe half an hour, and then they'd gone on from there, maybe it wouldn't have flopped.  At the very least, maybe I would have liked it better.

Is this movie family friendly?  NO.  I'm rather shocked it's only got a PG-13 rating.  There's lots of spattery violence, innuendo all over, an attempted rape, and buckets of sexual tension between Robin and Marian, though I was super surprised and excited that they never actually slept together.  Just a lot of desirous glances and so on.


  1. I liked it all right, although I laughed when Marion turned up in armor at the end. Suspended disbelief, much? Does Hollywood know how much armor WEIGHS? And then, they had Robin save her from the bad guy? No. If you're going to make your female butt-kicking, have HER defeat the bad guy. ;)

    1. I have to disagree. Yes, her showing up in armor was a little much, although with all the farming she does, she could maybe pull it off, at least enough to ride on a horse if people helped her up on it. But I actually cheered that she didn't full-on take out the bad guy, cuz that would have been ludicrously unbelievable. She succeeded in knocking him off his horse simply by smashing into him, but if she'd held her own in armed combat with a trained warrior? No way I would believe that, much less her defeating him.

      I don't think she was there to butt-kick so much as just... back up Robin. Throw her fate entirely in with his. Do whatever she could to help instead of sitting idly by. That's the vibe I got, anyway.

    2. Also, okay, I only saw it once, but was she in full armor or just chain mail? I only remember chain mail and a helmet, but I could be wrong. It's 11:30, though, and I should be in bed, so not taking the time to look it up on the DVD right now. I can tomorrow if you want.

    3. Either one still weighs a ton -- do you remember her helping Robin with his chain mail? She couldn't even lift it.

      Oh, well. It's Cate Blanchett. She is forgiven all things.

    4. It's a minor quibble, considering all the real problems the film had :-)

    5. I haven't seen it in awhile, but I remember enjoying the extended edition (the one I own) more. It seemed to flesh out Marion and Robin's relationship better. Ridley Scott either grips me (Gladiator) or he doesn't (everything else). He tends to make his stuff too long without having much emotional resonance to it. But even so, Russell's my favorite actor, and Cate's my favorite actress, so I HAVE to at least like it.

    6. Is that the unrated director's cut? My disc has both, but I watched the theatrical. Should I give the director's cut a try, then? I did like this well enough to keep it (I figure I'll be watching a "good parts version" now and then, lol).

      Cate is not my favorite actress, but I almost always like what she does. I respect her, if that makes sense. I thought she was amazing as Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator" -- my favorite thing about that movie, actually.

      Russell Crowe... should be on my "favorite actor" lists, and I seem to kind of forget about him, but I have never ever not enjoyed a performance of his, and I think he's one of the most talented actors we have today. Not to mention fearsomely attractive. When I was watching this with DKoren, we discussed the fact that, although the body type I almost always go for is tall, broad-shouldered, and lean (think David Boreanaz or Hugh Jackman), I find Russell Crowe so attractive. And of all the actors I can think of, he's got the closest body type to Cowboy's. Cowboy doesn't have the muscle definition Russell has here, except his arms, but he's got that same sturdy, stalwart, nothing's-getting-through-me build. Barrel-chested, I like to call him.

      Okay, um, anyway... what're your favorite Russell Crowe movies and roles, then?

    7. Yes, that's the one. Far as I remember, there's nothing in it that makes it worse, content-wise than the other one, but there's more character development.

      I've loved Cate ever since I saw her for the first time in An Ideal Husband, with Jeremy Northam. But yes, she was incredible as Katherine Hepburn. Looked nothing like her, but dead on with the performance. That Oscar was well deserved.

      Russell Crowe is indeed attractive, although for me I think his voice is a big part of it. I just have a thing for voices and his is lovely and deep. My favorite movie with him in it (and maybe my favorite movie, period) is "Gladiator," although I also love "3:10 to Yuma." (I like dark, tragic movies. It's sad.) His character is just ... great in that film. I also liked his Javert, though no one else did. =P

    8. Aha! Cool beans. I'll give it a try next time, then.

      Voices. Voices are hugely important when it comes to whether I think a man (or woman, for that matter) is attractive. I love deep, gravelly voices the most. Anything thin and reedy is a pretty instant turn-off.

      Anyway, I quite liked Russell Crowe as Javert! Though I admit when I first heard that he and Hugh Jackman had been cast in the movie, but not what parts, I instantly thought RC would be Valjean, what with all the feats of strength he does, and that HJ would be Javert, the sort of lean and insatiable bloodhound. I was rather shocked to learn it was the reverse. But I've never understood why people thought he wasn't a good Javert, because I found him quite effective. It's not his fault the staging for "Stars" was so weird.

      I don't like his "3:10 to Yuma," though. I find his change of heart at the end too sudden to be believable. Here he's been cold and ruthless and even cruel through the whole film, and suddenly he turns on his men, gives up his chance at freedom? I didn't feel it. He did a lovely job in the movie, and seeing him in a western again was pure deliciousness, but in the end, I just couldn't buy that ending. (Have you ever seen the Glenn Ford version?)

      My favorite RC movie is "Master and Commander," but my favorite role of his is probably Cort in "The Quick and the Dead." Although when I'm watching "LA Confidential," I always change my mind and say nope, Bud White is my favorite of his roles. Bud White makes me cry the most.

    9. In fairness to all the actors, Les Mis' scoring for the movie was weird. They strained all the actors' voices with their choice not to adapt to the actor's capabilities. Even Hugh Jackman had problems with it.

      His character in Yuma finally finds someone he can admire, who actually sticks by his word. In an endless sea of people without morals, he saw one man who would rather die than betray his honor. That impressed him. So yes, he got on that train. And he'll go to jail. And in two weeks when he gets bored, he'll break out and go back to his life of crime. Heh.

      No, I haven't seen the older version. I know you like it, though. :)

    10. YES! I kept thinking, "Why didn't they lower this song like two notes?" Why on earth would you hire famous (and expensive) actors who really can sing, and then not adapt your music to their ranges? Heck, when I was in musicals in college, they would adapt things a little sometimes to fit a performer's range.

      I get what's supposed to be going on in 3:10 -- I just don't buy it.

    11. (RANDOM! "One Day More" just came on my "morning mix" CD as I was writing that.)

  2. When it comes to Robin Hood adaptations I tend to lean towards the Disney version,it's the one from my childhood. But I am partial to the BBC Mini series that started in 2006, it made Robin and Marian slightly younger than most Robin version. I also enjoyed Princess of Thieves the whole what if Robin and Marian had a child, and it was a daughter instead of a son.It was actually pretty good.

    1. Well, yes, the Disney animated and live-action versions are hard to beat. And they're also what I grew up with, so I love them best. I really love the Errol Flynn version too. And there was a phase in my teen years when I was kinda obsessed with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

      I'm having a Year of Robin Hood right now, though I got kind of sidelined by my Little Women read-along and haven't read or watched as much as I'd hoped so far. But I'm back on track now, so expect to see more movie and book versions reviewed in the future :-D I actually just bought a copy of Princess of Thieves recently, but haven't watched it yet. Looking forward to it!

      The BBC series is entertaining, but so far I don't love it. Mostly because Robin himself is somehow too erratic or something for me to wholeheartedly love him. But it's a fun show, and I've enjoyed the 6 or 7 eps I've seen.

  3. Was that really Matthew Macfadyen??? Hard to recognize him without his top hat and cravat!!!

    1. Yes indeed, that's Matthew Macfadyen! And he is having an absolute blast in the role -- he looks positively gleeful the whole time, underneath whatever emotion he's supposed to have.

  4. I saw this movie in theaters and I remember getting upset at it right from the beginning. =P

    1. I wasn't upset, just disappointed. Now that I know what to expect of it, I think I'll like it better a second time around.


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