Robin Hood

Robin Hood is the setting for the latest marriage between the omniscient Ridley Scott & omnipotent Russell Crowe. It is the couple s fifth outing together and first for Crowe in the producers seat. The premise for this reunion was to pursue a re-imagining of the infamous English folk legend that is Robin Hood, a story which seems to permeate throughout the ages in countless incarnations. This interpretation proves to be worthier than most but however feels quite flaccid in comparison to previous Scott- Crowe offerings such as the mighty Gladiator.

It was dubbed Gladiator with arrows but despite its obvious similarities it is quite a different beast altogether. This latest feature is directed towards American families and the summer block-buster market to generate much needed revenue for Hollywood in a period of economic uncertainty. The 12-A classification is testament to the creative sacrifices that Scott has traded for fiscal prosperity. Unlike its Roman predecessor, Robin Hood is quite a desperate and unfortunate cut and paste production. Originally helming from a CSI: Investigation script-writer, the script was bartered and battered amongst the movie moguls until Crowe took the incentive to get Ridley on board. It quite sadly had all the promise to be a masterpiece, considering these two chaps had pulled it off before, why couldn t they again?

The story of Robin Hood is as famous and as important as King Arthur, Beowulf or even any Shakespearian tale, and yet even which such fruitful material, it has never been properly translated onto celluloid. This version does however offer some strong performances from the likes of Cate Blanchett as a strong and sexy Lady Marion, Oscar Isaac as Robin s putrid nemesis King John, William Hurt as a very convincing member of the English gentry, Danny Huston as a memorable Richard The Lion heart , the charming as ever Mark Addy as Friar Tuck, the serpent yielding Matthew Macfadyen as the Sherriff of Nottingham & finally the gloriously memorable Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley.  Collectively offering solace to an otherwise wooden script and numb performances from Crowe and especially and surprisingly from Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey, King John s henchman and English traitor (surprising in that Strong has proved to be very consistent in various recent films such as Kick-Ass & Sherlock Holmes).

Furthermore, despite the fact that Crowe believes he doesn t have to act anymore to warrant a good film and that Scott is making films as far removed from Alien, Blade Runner or Gladiator as he possibly can, believing that his vision must still be as worthy. It s a case of two men who have had tremendous success and deservingly so, but are now satisfied and respect each other so much that there is no tangible bridge between director and lead man, there is no conflict of interest, it s all plain sailing and as such so is the emotional depth of the film. The absence of violence is especially noteworthy, obviously a notable sacrifice for its all friendly money-making rating, but also makes all the battles and conflicts redundant and therefore begging the question why bother in the first place?

However, despite many flaws there is some magic here; Scott is still unrivalled in creating that dirty yet funny medieval English landscape, from the meanderings of the nobles to the tricks and trades of the peasantry. The plot is solid enough if not completely historically inaccurate, but Robin Hood is supposed to be cocktail of historical relevance and fantastical idealism. There are some prominent socialist motifs to the ideology, which are only dealt with sparingly towards the end in which annoyingly is so self-obsessed and self-constructed to setup the film for another money making sequel, that  this has become a notable disease of the industry, fully evident in the recent travesty that was Iron Man 2, in that the filmmakers and studios are so interested in setting up franchises that they cease to concentrate on the project at hand which has led to a paramedic in the notion of a blockbuster but is perhaps fittingly reminiscent of our buy it now 3D HD twitter mentally oscillating culture.

Despite all this, this film is littered with strong performances, idyllic settings, a magnificent aesthetic creation of middle aged England, memorable and comedic characters, also with all seriousness aside, there is a strong sense of play throughout which offers a nice addition to the down and dirty conflicts. However the pros do not outweigh the cons. The choreography is so shoddy it s like watching a music video on ecstasy, there is no room for the audience to advocate any particular side or understand what is actually happening. The settings are perfect, but the execution is pathetic.

To conclude, Scott & Crowe really missed the bull s eye this time round, Gladiator was a masterpiece in film-making, forcing you into the belly and guts of the Roman Empire, Robin Hood is a less than adequate ok feature for the summer, with some moments of clarity but ultimately a vision of irrationality, there is such potential and yet we witness such failure, perhaps second time round they will get it right and create a masterful and memorable Robin Hood rather than a flaccid and soulless one.

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