By far the most interesting movie about tax collection I’ve ever seen.
I was pretty dubious about the prospect of yet another movie about Robin Hood, even with Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott involved. It’s a story that’s been so well trod – it’s hard to find anything worth telling about the story again.
Growing up in the 1990′s – there were only two version of Robin Hood to me: The Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
Despite stepping into familiar territory, the creators of the new Robin Hood managed to find an interesting and new story worth telling. It’s Robin Hood with a twist – enough of a twist that’s it’s worth watching.
Russell Crowe has been getting criticism for his accent – I didn’t really notice or care. He does a good job as the grumbling Robin. It doesn’t require much range to play Robin Hood and it’s a pretty safe role for him. He does well in it. Cate Blanchett does well as the headstrong Marion.
Take whatever you think a movie about Robin Hood would normally be about and turn it on it’s head. The plot takes a little while to get moving early on but basically Russell Crowe plays Robin Longstride – an able archer in Richard the Lionheart’s army. Through the result of a battle and good fortune, Robin comes to impersonate a knight which leads to all sort sof interesting results. The main force driving the plot is that King John is hungry for tax revenue.
There’s only one scene in the movie where Robin hood ‘steals from the rich and gives to the poor.’ The movie is mostly about politics and the main enemy is Britain’s favorite punching bag, the scheming French. There’s a very enjoyable final climactic battle that borders on the ridiculous (I won’t say why in fear of giving too much away, but you’ll know it when you see it).
Being pretty familiar with the historical backdrop of the era in which this takes place – I’m not sure how accurate this movie really is. It’s sort of lives in the same type of universe that Gladiator lived in – it uses real characters to tell the story of a fictional one with much dramatic license. Which you don’t really mind because the movie is exciting enough.
Robin Hood features an excellent array of secondary characters – and you really get the feeling that they’re setting up for a sequel as they give them a lot of depth. The score of the film is rather nice.
I mostly went for the scenery and the movie does not disappoint. There are plenty of beautiful lingering shots of the English Countryside but they also went to great pains to recreate what London would have looked like in the 12 century – which was pretty freaking cool. I’m happy to report that the movie was actually filmed on location in England, including in the REAL Sherwood Forest.
It’s not an Oscar worthy movie or better than other versions of Robin Hood – but it didn’t really have to be, did it? It’s a fun, new take on the classic story that’s worth watching. That’s really all that matters.
I’d certainly see a sequel.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.