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Robin Hood
DVD disk BLU-RAY disk
10.12.2010 By: George Merchan
Robin Hood order download
Director:
Ridley Scott

Actors:
Russell Crowe
Cate Blanchett
Max von Sydow
William Hurt
Mark Strong
Oscar Isaac
Danny Huston

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A prequel of sorts to the famous Robin Hood legend, in which Robin Longstride, a veteran of the Third Crusade, served as an archer in the army of Richard the Lionheart before heading off with a band of loyal soldiers in an attempt to return to home after years abroad at war. During which time, Richard the Lionheart is killed, his younger brother John is made king, and Longstride assumes the identity of a dead knight named Loxley.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Were ROBIN HOOD a better film, it would I think be a good companion piece to director Ridley Scott's own 2005 film KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (the Director's Cut... I don't even acknowledge the Theatrical), if for no other reason than for the historical context and the larger picture those two films together would illustrate about the state of the world at that time. But what's maddening about Scott and writer Brian Helgeland's take on Robin Hood is how unfocused it is. That it wants to be a gritty and epic tale is not a bad thing. That it's essentially all setup for the story most of us know and grew up with is not even a bad thing. Those are nitpicks based on taste, not of objectivity. The story chosen to be focused on here is a much more politically-centric one than anybody probably expected from a Robin Hood tale, but that's okay too. You've heard "it's not the story, it's the telling"? Well, unfortunately for ROBIN HOOD, the telling of its story is convoluted, unfocused, and often downright uninteresting. But worst of all is that the film, unlike KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, has nothing thoughtful to really say.

A lot of that of course might have to do with the story tinkering this film's had to endure since its original inception as NOTTINGHAM, from writers Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. The central concept of which was that Robin Hood was actually the Sheriff of Nottingham. That idea is what sparked interest in the project in the first place, but in the years since its creation by Reiff and Voris, the screenplay had gone through three more revisions, reportedly costing the studio somewhere around $6-7 million. That's just scripting costs!

And in the end, it shows. Which is a shame because the cast does what they can here to make something worthwhile. Most notably, Max Von Sydow as Walter Loxley, Oscar Isaac as Prince John, The Merry Men played by Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes and Alan Doyle, and finally, Danny Huston in the short time he's on screen as Richard the Lionheart, playing the King of England like some broken and repugnant animal of a man. (Tell me it's not hilarious as he shakes the water off his long locks of hair - like a lion would! - as he bathes in his opening scene.)

Russell Crowe acquits himself well, but doesn't do anything particularly noteworthy in the part (nothing approaching his work in GLADIATOR or even Scott's AMERICAN GANGSTER from a few years ago). Cate Blanchett, an actress I absolutely love, fares a bit better. She brings great charm and levity to the film, but I continually felt that was more a product of her persona and screen presence than anything actually derived from her part in the script (her Marion is written strong, ready to wield a sword and armor in a flash). Mark Strong shows up as bad guy Godfrey, and, well, Strong's played about a dozen and one bad guys this year alone, so he can play "evil" in his sleep. We also got Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham who appears for a grand total of like five minutes in the film and does a whole lot of nothing. That should tell you just how different this story is from what you know. And finally, there's William Hurt as William Marshal. I think this might be the first time I've ever seen Hurt in a sword and horses period piece. Too bad he doesn't really do anything but be William Hurt with an English accent and a wig.

I'm a huge fan of Ridley Scott. I dig the look, the feel, the tonality... just the basic signatures of his films. And as such, there were elements of the film that I did enjoy (a lot of the humor I think really works). But even as a fan, I freely admit that much of what Scott has done here, he's done better elsewhere. Missed opportunity, and that's just too bad.
THE EXTRAS
Director's Notebook: A "pop-up" collection of behind-the-scenes footage, featurettes, stills, storyboards, "Ridleygrams", and more that play along with the Theatrical Cut of the film.

The Art of Nottingham: A glimpse into the pre-production art and design of ROBIN HOOD, including conceptual art, costume designs, storyboards, and more.

Rise and Rise Again: The meat and potatoes of this home video release, running just over an hour long, is an extensive "making of" chronicling the production of the film. Also includes a bit of talk regarding the infamously retooled NOTTINGHAM script. Great stuff.

Deleted Scenes: Extended and altogether cut scenes are included here - some superfluous, some rather interesting - featuring commentary by the film's editor Pietro Scalia.

Also included are two Theatrical Trailers and six TV Spots, as well as a DVD disc featuring both the Theatrical and Director's Cuts, and an extra disc featuring a Digital Copy of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A small but lengthy collection of extras coupled with tremendous video (and particularly) audio make this disc worth checking out for the presentation alone. As far as the film? If you're a Ridley Scott fanatic, then you'll likely find something to enjoy here. Others, however - especially fans of the original Robin Hood legend or historical purists (you'll have a cow at some of the liberties taken here) - may not be as forgiving of the convoluted and often uninteresting direction taken by Scott and writer Brian Helgeland.
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1:41PM on 10/12/2010

this flick is just ok..

i did laugh at the hair bathing thing haha but whats with the bees crap? that wasn't funny to me at all. think they missed the target on that one.
i did laugh at the hair bathing thing haha but whats with the bees crap? that wasn't funny to me at all. think they missed the target on that one.
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5:47PM on 10/12/2010

bad casting

and bad story. Lets make a version of pre-robin hood in the woods with 50 year old actors.
and bad story. Lets make a version of pre-robin hood in the woods with 50 year old actors.
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