Monday Movie: Robin Hood by @destroytheearth

Why, you may ask, do we need another epic action movie version of Robin Hood when, debatably, Kevin Costner already made a perfectly decent one nearly twenty years ago?

The sad answer is that Ridley Scott wanted an excuse to remake Braveheart and needed a suitable folk hero to  bend over a barrel and arse-rape for three solid hours. Hit the jump to find out how.

It starts off promisingly enough, with a more-economic origin story for the merry men and a bit of political chicanery; but after two hours, when nothing has yet actually happened, you begin to worry. Truth is, the story is somewhat lost under the weight of its own epicness and ends up, after 140 minutes, with the founding of the merry men and the start of the revolution against King John!

The script was originally intended to be a topsy-turvy tale of an honest, noble Sheriff of Nottingham pursuing the titular scoundrel rogue. Predictably, the studios entered a bidding war for this ingenious script before doing away with every one of its interesting ideas and presenting this hokum.

The idea of having Crowe play both the Sheriff and Hood is boiled down to a poor archer pretending to be the famous Robin of Loxley and inheriting his place as defender of the working classes. All of this is wholly unnecessary and only serves to extend a contrived plot and immense running time.

Haemorrhaging momentum after the first 45 minutes, the film begins to wander around in circles hacking and slashing at pieces of history for no conceivable reason. The Robin Hood legend is so convoluted that there is huge scope to mould it into your own tale, without the need to urinate over historical fact while you're at it. By the end of the film, we have witnessed a failed attempt to found a Republic of Great Britain with a UK constitution, which may sound very laudable to US audiences, but you would be hard pressed to find it in any history book. We've also seen a distinctly Braveheart-esque rallying of the locals against a foreign-sponsored revolution and a completely fantasy-based origin story for Robin's father.

The great British director has somehow lost touch with his nationality and completely overlooked the socialist morals that lie at the heart of the Robin Hood legend and the character is left completely bereft of personality as a result. All that is left is a pale attempt at patriotic monologuing that lacks any sense of English culture whatsoever. Apparently "an Englishman's home is his castle" spouted by a smug Australian is our new national motto, guys.

Before this review escapes me, I should begin to focus on the film itself instead of its, frankly offensive, genocide of historical fact. So, one should note that: the dialogue is ham-fisted, the epic nature of the film leaves it without momentum or rhythm, the plot is labyrinthine - at once full of holes and also featuring endless detours along plotlines that go nowhere - and the emotional beats are so filled with cheese and pretence that the film is left bereft of any drama at all.

Crowe growls and snarls his way through the film, pausing occasionally to attempt a charming smile like a sideshow mongrel. Meanwhile, Blanchett is very credible, yet also completely without emotion, leaving her character feeling as wooden as most of her previous roles. Elsewhere, there are some halfway-decent performances, yet almost none by English actors and every single participant looks confused as to what exactly they are doing.

With so many rewrites and cast changes, the final result is just a confused, hollow mess that is nowhere near as good as the Costner version. Hell, I'd rather watch the BBC TV series, and that's really saying something.

Yaargh! The landlubber who made a mistake in this post has been keelhauled and all is now ship-shape


  1. Yup. I'll be skipping that one.

  2. Ridley Scott is English, which is worse I suppose

  3. Yup he's from South Shields.

  4. CORRECTION: Sorry, had intended to imply Scott was directing for a US audience, hence great American director (director of American films), and wasn't referring to his nationality, which I was unaware of and DOES make it worse, so I have now corrected the article. Sorry for the mistake.