Sunday, October 9, 2011

Robin Hood

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , ,
(140 min, 2010)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Brian Helgeland (story)
Stars: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Matthew Macfadyen

Gladiator in the kingdom of mediocrity.

Following King Richard's death in France, archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), along with Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, returns to England. They encounter the dying Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by treacherous Godfrey (Mark Strong), who hopes to facilitate a French invasion of England. Robin promises the dying knight he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham (Max von Sydow). Here Walter encourages him to impersonate the dead man to prevent his land being confiscated by the crown, and he finds himself with lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), a ready-made wife.
Ridley Scott has found a formula how to made a mediocre historical movie when he was shooting “Kingdom of Heaven” and apparently, he plans to stick to it. The amount of similarities between two movies is overwhelming – ordinary men turned knights (Bloom, Crowe), fierce, unhappy beautiful women who at one point of the movie will look through the window so that only their piercing eyes are visible (Green, Blanchett), wise older and righteous man (Irons, Hurt), big battles about which you couldn't care less and good actors who are underused (Norton, Strong). I saw extended version of “Robin Hood” and I have to say, even without seeing theatrical one, those 16 minutes made a difference. If I saw the normal version of the film I'd rate it 4,5 and I would be very generous. Scott has to stop doing mediocre movies, which later on he will promise will turn out to be better, once you see director's cut. And in both cases (“Kingdom of Heaven” and “Robin Hood”) the difference in rating is slight, but big when it comes to labeling the movie – no longer “terrible” just “average”.

Scott's second mistake was casting – initially it was perfect – the movie was planned to be shot with Christian Bale as Robin, Emily Blunt as Marion and Vanesssa Redgrave as Eleanor of Aquitaine. The cast in the movie is actually very good, except for Russell Crowe – I couldn't buy it. This guy looks nothing like Robin Hood we have in our heads. His awful accent is only making matters worse. The only thing in which Crowe succeeded was maintaining very nice chemistry with Blanchett, in many scenes which I read are not even included in theatrical cut of the movie. I can't believe they didn't include the mud pit scene in the normal version. Ridiculous choice.

Instead of having the passion of the young Bale and Blunt we have steady and rather boring and formulaic dynamics between Crowe and Blanchett, but at least the sparks are flying. Cate is great as usual, but she is just playing different version of young queen Elizabeth. However, she brings a lot of charm into the movie. In fact, she's the only one who's doing that.
The rest of the cast includes great actors who don't have much chance to show their talents – Max von Sydow, William Hurt and Mark Strong. The characters are not developed, which is kinda strange for a movie that long. The opening sequences are way too long, thankfully the final battle of the movie is rather impressive. As much as it is filled with stupid scenes, the winner being the one where Blanchett appears dressed as a knight with an army of highly trained toddlers, who were hiding in the woods for most of the movie. They don't even do much in the scene. Who cares the village is burning and people need help as they ride around on the horses on the beach. Oh, did I mention that those kids are also freakishly skinny and sick? But Marion thought they are indispensable during fight with French army.

It seems like I don't like the movie – but it's not the case. 12th century England is wonderfully portrayed – the castles, the woods, villages. Cinematography is very good, music is not impressive but at least goes well with the scenes. The ending credits are stunning. All in all, the movie is quite entertaining, at least comparing to nightmares like “Alexander” or “King Arthur”. It's an OK movie, you may even have fun when you're watching it. But I suspect you won't see it again.

“Robin Hood” is certainly a better movie than “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Body of Lies”. But the film about crusades had something Scott's new movie doesn't have – Eva Green's wonderful and memorable performance, which was so cruelly treated by Scott who cut out most of her scenes from theatrical version. Here, everyone is doing good job, but it's extremely forgettable, in Blanchett's case I will even call it a waste of her time. The woman does one movie a year and that's it? As her fan, I'm very unhappy, the movie is simply not worthy of her presence in it. The film is a new way of portraying Robin Hood's story, in same matter as it was done with “King Arthur” - less glamor, more dirt, less passion, more boredom. Maybe Scott should take a little break and rethink his clearly unreliable formula for making movies.

60/100

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