Load up on arrows and bring your friends to the latest edition of "He Said - She Said ..." which puts Robin Hood under the TSR microscope. This week it's Morrow "I thought Russell Crowe was sexy as all hell" McLaughlin and myself, Nick "... Did I lock the door to my apartment?" Allen sparring off (but mostly agreeing) about just how good the new film from Ridley Scott really is. Did we like it? Love it? Hate it? Find out below. As always, spoilers are fair game. Jeff Bayer's Robin Hood TSR - 5/10
PLOT: Robin Longstride (Crowe) is an archer in Richard the Lionheart’s English army around 1200 A.D. He’s mistaken for a man from Nottingham and learns his true destiny. Meanwhile the English are under threat from a French invasion.
Half way through the semi-slow experience of the semi-fun new version of Robin Hood, I began to wonder whether we even needed another Robin Hood in the first place. Granted, it's been a few years since the last note-worthy re-telling of the classic character of Robin Hood, but this movie didn't do much to go against my argument, similar to how The Wolfman felt irrelevant. But, whether it was necessary or not, I sat through Robin Hood, and I enjoyed bits and pieces of it, (any large-scale action scene was enjoyable to watch) but I found the movie to be playing things very safe. You've got Good Guy - Robin Hood, and Bad Guy - Godfrey (Mark Strong). I wouldn't say it was formulaic but I'd say the movie was carefully structured to appease the mainstream audience that Robin Hood is giving back to. But will summer moviegoers even care for a 13th century bow and arrow war hero movie?
You know, despite my protestations to the contrary, I didn't mind it too terribly. It was definitely slow in parts and you're dead right when you say they played it safe. It was almost...Hallmark-cardish. It was pretty to look at and pleasing in a very forgettable way. And, weirdly, I thought Russell Crowe was sexy as all hell and usually he vexes the sh*t out of me. I thought it was too bad that he and Cate didn't get to make any on-screen whoopee, since their chemistry was fairly spot-on.
Here are my two biggest gripes: the movie was way too slow in parts, and the wild boys at the end rode Shetland ponies during the big battle. The filmmakers consciously decided to have them riding miniature horses during a major skirmish, which...why? Because it's cute to see children on little horsies riding into battle? I honestly wouldn't have minded their involvement if they'd been riding normal-sized horses, because it wouldn't have been such a weird combination of "awwww" and disturbia.
In Bayer's review he says there's not enough bows and arrows, and I disagree. I thought there was a goodly amount of arrow-centric action, or maybe I was just so relieved that something exciting was happening. And Crowe should pose naked with a strategically placed bow...just an idea...granted he's managed to keep the weight off.
It's too bad you couldn't have seen the movie with Bayer and I, Nick. A group of nerds in terrible, make-shift costumes got up with a microphone and tried to give the audience a history lesson. The audience, in turn, talked louder to drown out said history lesson, and so the nerds talked louder, until everyone was shouting. One of the nerds even had a bow and quiver full of arrows and he started out by telling us, with disappointment, that he wasn't allowed to shoot the arrows inside the theater. That was my favorite part of the whole movie.
It sounds like you found plenty to look at during your experience with Robin Hood, whether it was Russell Crowe or the "group of nerds" that provided pre-show entertainment. Were I into Crowe maybe I'd agree with you, but I found him to be incredibly Sam Worthington-like here. He's just filling in the role of Action Hero A, while not offering any striking charisma (though he had me thinking about his haircut, which looked too perfect for the era). Just like Sam Worthington can just place himself in movies like Clash of the Titans and LOOK like the guy we're supposed to be rooting for most, he doesn't stick with us afterward. Especially from a guy who once made Gladiator (supposedly) great, Russell Crowe is pretty bland here.
Speaking of bland - yes, boring. Very boring. Wow. I like Max Von Sydow, a lot. And I always get a thrill out of watching him don medieval wear, probably because it reminds me of spectacularly more awesome movies like The Virgin Spring and The Seventh Seal. But here I found him to be pretty dull, as if Russell Crowe had given him a disease of boring that spread like the plague in the Seventh Seal. The same yawns, (or desperately rough pinches to myself to stay focused) can be dealt towards Cate Blanchett's character, who didn't fight very hard against being average. "Oh, she shot a flaming arrow with excellent precision. Now she's the love interest. Did I lock the door to my apartment? What if someone's using it like Jack Lemmon's pad in The Apartment?"
The only part that made Robin Hood really worth it was the arrow that ripped through Mark Strong's throat as he gallopped away. If a movie is going to play it "safe" like this one does, then it should offer more bad-ass slow motion action sequences, instead of big battle scenes that made me think more about how many extras are involved over what is actually going on on-screen. With the throat-arrow, I thought it was executed (pun intended) nicely, and the wicked smile that grew on his face was a nice touch. Most REAL bad guys grin when they meet death.
I chalk this movie up as another reason why Mark Strong is great, and another reason why movies set in the era of Robin Hood are in desperate need of some life. Something has to happen to this form of movie before characters like Robin Hood try to give back to an audience who collectively don't give a sh*t.
I agree, I LOVE Mark Strong. I've loved him since his totally kick-ass performance in Body of Lies, so this is a reunion of sorts between he and Crowe. Coincidentally, Strong was also phenomenal in Kick Ass--fancy that. Actually, I thought his accent wandered into tough mobster New Yorker from time to time, but he's still so campy that I accepted it.
Crowe's pretty when he's pretending to be a good guy and not the snooty narcissist I suspect he is in real life. He's like a big, cuddly, handsome lion. And Blanchette is so stunning no matter what she does, that they were a great pairing. Didn't you think so? Come on, you have to admit the chemistry was darned good between them. I could've forgiven the long stretches of boring had there been some vivid lovin'.
For Blanchett and Crowe's chemistry, it didn't strike me as "darned good," but satisfactory. Blanchett's strong character did seem like a decent match for Robin Hood, and if I remember correctly their relationship isn't bogged down by corny moments or cheesy lines (though there is that weird medieval jazz song during one of the dancing scenes.)
I'm not sure I would recommend Robin Hood to anyone, especially if they haven't already had some fun with Iron Man 2. While Jeff gave it a 5/10, I'd have to agree with him, or even lean towards a more mediocre 4/10. Since seeing Robin Hood just a few days ago, I've already moved on from it. Thankfully it's summer time, so it's on to the next one.
What about you? What would you give Robin Hood? And did you see Iron Man 2?
I would've given Robin Hood a 6 out of 10, because I liked it a little more than Jeff. I also would have scored Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett higher, because I really enjoyed the two of them together. That being said, the movie still had too many problems for me to actually recommend it to anyone. I did meet Russell Crowe's biggest fan, and he said he saw it twice in one day. That strikes me as masochistic, especially since I would only watch it again when I could fast forward through parts.
I have not seen Iron Man 2 yet. Now that I can see them for free, I've gotten much more complacent. I will see it at some point and I'm sure it's much more entertaining than Robin Hood. You could probably find a goodly number of movies that are more entertaining than Robin Hood, but it's still really pretty to look at. Had there been more action and maybe a smidge of sex, I would've been a happier camper.