Thursday, May 20, 2010

Robin Hood Review

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast...

I saw "Robin Hood" last night, the new Ridley Scott-directed movie starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. I'd heard from a few sources that it was average, but I didn't believe them. Putting together, in my head, the "Gladiator" director and the actors and the timelessly appealing story, I just thought, "it's gotta be good". In fact, it was average, a five out of ten.

Probably the most important reason for its mediocrity is a less than compelling story. The story depicted is actually backstory, an explanation of how Robin became Robin (the movie actually ends at the moment that Robin becomes an outlaw). Now that I think of it, this is the first movie I have ever seen which seemed entirely devoted to being "the first movie of a series of movies", rather than primarily a stand-alone movie, which, secondarily, could also setup a sequel. Anyway, bottom line is, the story just isn't that compelling, and is depicted in too lengthy and cumbersome a fashion.

The second factor is casting and acting performance. I can see Russell Crowe as Robin Hood, though just. He would definitely be a rougher, cruder, more piggish Robin Hood than, say, the dashingly nimble Robin Hood played by Errol Flynn decades ago. know. Maybe that would have been better, more realistic. But Cate Blanchett - a fine actress - as Marian? I can't buy it. I'm not trying to be mean when I say that Cate Blanchett is one of those actresses (others include Jodie Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sarah Jessica Parker) who have made it to the top-tier of their profession while being entirely devoid of sex appeal, so I think she was an odd choice. Great as Elizabeth I, miscast as a dashing hero's love interest. It's completely unbelievable.

The supporting actors are likewise pretty mediocre here. Mark Strong as Godfrey is too...what's the word...obvious; too "caricature of a bad guy". William Hurt is too American for this picture; he looks American, he moves "American", he just shouldn't be in this movie. Danny Huston was phemonenal in "The Proposition"; here, his brief acting performance, like so many of the others, is just that tad overwrought (must be Ridley Scott's fault). Robin's Merry Men, same thing.

"Robin Hood" would have been far better with a different leading lady, subtler, more "organic" acting performances, and a tighter, more dramatic story, whether comprised of pure backstory or the traditional tales of Robin Hood, or some combination.


Jewelz said...

Who would you have cast as Maid Marian? I would have gone with Jennifer Love Hewitt, but then I have a girl-crush on her, lol.

Hollywood needs some serious help in churning out some original, new material.

Reann said...

How disappointing. I watched the extended trailer and a behind the scenes with the cast on HBO a few weeks ago and it looked to be a good one. Oh well. Thanks for the heads up. Sounds like it can wait until it airs on HBO ;)

Tal said...

Jewelz, I've racked my brain to think of who should have been Maid Marian, and I always draw a blank. I think what that means is that it should have been someone who's just right for the role, but who is not famous. I one over here had heard of Sophie Marceau before "Braveheart", and she was 100% completely perfect. Someone like that would have been fantastic.

Oh - I just thought of someone. Eva Green. She could have done it.

Jewelz said...

Yeah, I can see her in that role; loved her in Casino Royale. That would have been a good choice.

I don't know, Hollywood casting makes no sense sometimes. I have never seen an Iron Man movie because I just can't buy into Robert Downey Jr being the tough guy...

Stephen Pallavicini said...

I think Blanchett's attractiveness was purposely downplayed. Hence the county clothing suitable for working in the field, severe hair style, no jewelry, nothing enhancing her femininity - (except when we see her going to bed) to fit the part of Marian who is a feisty, smart, self sufficient, capable woman, comfortable at tiling the fields as well as running the manor. Robin Hood's character would be attracted to such a self sufficient risk taker. His approach to life is similar. Exceptional looks would not be his primary concern, in fact a distraction. He has found a woman who will share in his adventures without complaint or regard to hardship. I admire the fact that Marion's part was not cast with a standard Hollywood beauty.
In any case beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I actually find Foster sexy.
I do agree with the rest of your critique.
It will be interesting to see how the plot line of the sequel will play out. Will the writers stick to the feel good myth of Robin Hood, or turn it into a darker plot line, similar to the feel of the last Batman.
By the way I also think it was right to cast Downey as Ironman. His character is a reluctant tough guy with a sense of humour. The first film at least does not take itself seriously. (I have not seen the sequel, just trailers, and am not even sure if it was released yet). It is a part that Downey plays well.

Polly said...

Yeah, but the horses were magnificent! :)

Polly said...

Yeah, but the horses are magnificent!