Sunday, May 16, 2010

Robin Hood

A subject done many times before, director Ridley Scott decides to take a new approach and make a prequel about Robin Longstride, the man and how he became Robin Hood, the legend. In doing so, both Mr. Scott and his muse, Russell Crowe try to recreate the depth and emotion they conveyed in "Gladiator" while throwing in a little "Braveheart" as well.

While enjoyable enough, "Robin Hood" doesn't quite reach the heights of either aforementioned film. The tone of the film is dark and very serious. Mr. Crowe"s "Robin" is a one-note character with nothing new brought to the role. For 2 1/2 hours, there is nothing you haven't seen before and nothing very memorable. Cate Blanchett co-stars as "Maid" Marion Loxley in a role that is beneath her skill and Hollywood status. She's an obvious box-office draw but her scenes with Mr. Crowe, don't exactly ignite the screen with passion and she is wasted in a "damsel-in-distress" role.

There is a well-known supporting cast including William Hurt, Max von Sydow, and Danny Houston, all doing average work. Mark Strong, who is making a nice career for himself as the villain of the minute (see "Sherlock Holmes"), plays the traitorous Godfrey with evil abandon. The climatic battle sequence plays like a medieval version of the "Saving Private Ryan" opening scene and Mr. Strong does get his comeuppance just as you would expect.

Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Cary Elwes, and a cartoon fox have all had their shot at Robin Hood. For my money, go all the way back to 1938 and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn. They just don't make them like the used too.

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