USA / UK 2010   Directed by: Ridley Scott Written by: Brian Helgeland  Story by: Brian Helgeland, Cyrus Voris Produced by: Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, Brian Grazer  Cinematography by: John Mathieson  Editing: Pietro Scalia  Music: Marc Streitenfeld Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy

There are two ways you can look at a film: art or entertainment. For the former, the director, cast and crew pour their souls into it. Find money by donating blood and selling their children in the name of high art. Because they believe a story must be told to better people’s lives for the years to come. ROBIN HOOD would take the latter.

But, even as entertainment, ROBIN HOOD missed a point or two. Robin Hood, as a character, is fiction. And the magic in making a fictional character believable is by placing him/her in a realistic (or once thereof) setting. This is where the problems began. The dates, events and supporting characters in the story were out of sync. They crossed over each other, missed each other, sometimes by hundreds of years. This, in turn, gave no credibility to the Robin Hood character, which lowered the stake for our hero. As a matter of fact, this lowered the stake for pretty much all the characters. The audience had little to care for if the characters in the story didn’t have a goal or relevance to the story.

In the Ridley Scott’s tale, Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) was a bowman fighting in the crusades. He returns to England and finds his home country in a shamble, under the ruling of King John (after the death of King Richard the Lionheart). King John is a fool, blindly misguided by his ego and his advisor, Godfrey (Mark Strong). Godfrey turns coat and befriends the king of France. Together, they scheme a plan to invade England when it’s on its knees, out of money and out of luck.

Robin Hood is a selfish man who’s only looking out for himself. But, he made a promise to a dying knight that he’d return his sword to his father. Forward to the town of Nottingham, RH finds the father and the dead knight’s widow, Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett). Needless to say, the father finds Robin a man that his real son never was and accepts him as his own. What? And, pushes the widow Marion to get busy with Robin. What the what?! Through some pointless, cheesy one-liners and flat humor, Marion falls in love with Robin. How that happened I guess only the writers knew, because I didn’t see it in the film.

Upon the French invasion on England’s shores, actually, looking very reminisce of the Normandy landing in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, Robin decides to take on the role of Braveheart and save England from the foul French. Through many a jerky camera-work and haphazard sword flings, the English won, all thanks to Robin. And, following Robin’s noble sample, the English people even demanded for a document of certain justice and freedom, lending to the initiation of, what looked like, the Magna Carta – the first constitution.

The technologies (weapons, musical instruments, vehicles) appeared in the film were modern interpretations of things by artists and creative minds, not historians. The writing, filming, locations and scenes were reminders of other movies. ROBIN HOOD looked like a big buffet salad of stolen footage and props. With Scott and Crowe at the helm, I expected a magical encore of GLADIATOR. But such was not the case. ROBIN HOOD is entertaining…if you have a short-term memory, have not seen many movies before, or if you aren’t a stickler for cohesive storytelling. I can just imagine the pitch for this movie to the studios: “It’s the history of England meets Forest Gump.”


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