Monday, 11 July 2011

Robin Hood Review

Most of the tales and legends that come out of Medieval England are just that: tales and legends.  I don't know a whole lot about the story of Robin Hood so I don't know how much of this movie is rooted in fact and how much is pure fiction.  Given Ridley Scott's history of using factual characters in a fictional story (Marcus Aurelius and Commodus in Gladiator) I would think that most of this is fiction.  But, just like Gladiator, who cares?  It's a great story and they do a great job of telling it.

Robin Hood is proof that lightning can strike twice even if the second time around isn't quite as intense.  When I found out that Scott and Russell Crowe were going to reunite for another period piece with some factual background, I was sure it was never going to live up to what Gladiator was.  But, while it may not be quite the quality of the Roman movie, it is a very solid and well done film in its own right.  There is really nothing in the film that is groundbreaking or innovative.  But I found it a joy to watch visually and I chalk that up to great directing and excellent choices of locations.  Scott gives us just enough cool shots and slow motion to make us say, "oh, that's pretty cool" but he never tries to make the movie more than it is.

All around, this movie is very well acted.  And you'd expect that from people like Crowe, Cate Blanchette, William Hurt and Max von Sydow.  But even the supporting cast is well above par.  Matthew MacFadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Mark Strong as Godfrey and Kevin Durand as Little John all bring very solid and believable performances: especially Strong.  You really get the feel of "Evil Traitor" from him.  Even Alan Doyle, a musician by trade, gives a good performance.  The only one I thought was a bit weak was Oscar Isaac as Prince John.  Most of his delivery was cheesy.  The only time I thought he was entertaining was during the climactic battle when he seemed in over his head.

See it.  It isn't a love story like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves but more of a story of defiance and standing up for yourself like Gladiator and Braveheart.  Ultimately, it belongs right alongside those in quality.  It didn't get the attention it deserved when it was released.  That's probably because many people were thinking "been there, done that" with Gladiator.  But, if you like Gladiator and Braveheart, you should like this.

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