Robin Hood: movie review
This retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale is a somber, violence-heavy take that’s slim on poetry or romance.
Do we really need another Robin Hood in the movies? From the high points of Errol Flynn and Sean Connery to the low point of Kevin Costner – Robin Hood as surfer dude – I think we’ve had quite enough already. But never underestimate Hollywood’s penchant for revisionism – i.e., the recycling of old goods into new money. The revisitionist bug has claimed Superman and Batman, so I guess Robin Hood was inevitable. So let me put this another way: Do we really need a revisionist Robin Hood?Skip to next paragraph
After seeing Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” starring Russell Crowe, I would unhesitantly answer that question in the negative. I much prefer Mel Brooks’s “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” to all this doomy somberness. Why take the legend so seriously?
It would be different, I suppose, if Scott and his screenwriter Brian Helgeland were trying for some kind of grand-scale epic à la “Lawrence of Arabia.” That wasn’t merely an epic-sized film – it was an epic of ideas. There are no big ideas knocking around in “Robin Hood,” no vision beyond the rudimentary: Life was really really grim way back in AD 1199.
I’ll say this much for Scott. He doesn’t make it look as if the Brits back then, not to mention the invading French, belonged to a dental plan. One of my big complaints about historical movies is that people are always sporting Pepsodent smiles. Not in “Robin Hood.” The not-so Merry Men, in particular, look as if they could use some instruction in flossing.