Where are the Tights?!
After an evening of working out followed by a refueling at Big Bowl, I ended a fine Friday evening with a viewing of the latest Robin Hood movie starring Russel Crowe. This movie was directed by Ridley Scott, the same director of Gladiator – Crowe’s first big movie blockbuster. Naturally, I walked in with great expectations but was left in disappointment valley.
You won’t watch a scene unfold in which he steals from the rich and gives to the poor, nor will you view Robin donning a disguise to win an archery contest or Robin getting Friar Tuck to carry him across the alter. Scenes such as these from the original Robin Hood myth are missing because, for some reason, the powers that be decided to illustrate this movie as a prequel – to the time before Robin Hood became the legend we remember.
I found myself wanting more scene upon scene . . . more Hood heroism, more romance, and more suspense. What I got was many scenes depicting the history behind the legend. It’s the 12th century, and Richard the Lionheart is “plundering his way back to England” from the Crusades – while bitter brother John waits to inherit the crown along with his sassy French girlfriend. The French are the real villains of the piece, planning to foment civil war in England so they can invade. Where does Robin Hood fit in? Robin starts off as an archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart, and ends up in Nottingham, where he joins the clan of a fallen comrade. Yet the movie never finds a dramatic tone or climatic point, for that matter. Crowe plays Hood in an almost stoic manner; he doesn’t do much more above the occasional squint.
Cate Blanchett displayed more emotion, but not necessarily in a good way – Lady Marion acts with such proud, strong-as-any-man severity that there’s no softness to her. When she helps Robin off with his chainmail, it’s supposed to be erotic, but the two might as well be building a bookcase. Certainly the books they put on the shelf will be more interesting than the story unfolding on the screen.
So the movie is really all about backstory: a rousing roar of royal-court strategizing and double-crossing oppression. Crowe, slashing his way through the movie, is just a glorified extra in the background of the royal rouse. Where is his Gladiator valor?! He’s stoic enough to be a bore, and so is the movie. Grading Girl gives Robin Hood a C-. The only reason this gets a passing grade is because of the well executed war scenes action fans will fancy.