Another Robin Hood

This film is all about spending money on labels. There are vastly different price tags on each of them. Some of them are branded bigger than the others, like the Gladiator label, that’s the one that comes with Russel Crowe, but you’ll find him in the ‘sword and stirring speech’ section, next to Mel Gibson’s Braveheart collection. In the reference section, if you’d care to wander down the aisles of ‘Historical Context,’ then you might find a few books open on Medieval class distinction, maybe a few pages loose about the Crusades or even the Magna Carta. I can almost promise though, this film has spent a lot more time in the gym than this library.

Ridley Scott and script writing team clearly passed their GCSE French. Well done. They probably could have taken it further, or maybe not at all. The French discourse may as well have been edited out. It did nothing but add a few confused loose ties that were simply dropped at the end. A waste of a fantastic language. It’s clear that their budgets didn’t cover their French connection labels.

Russel Crowe delivers a rather convincing English accent however. In fact all the characters seemed to have routes in Yorkshire, but at least Crowe washed well. His colour didn’t bleed as an actor, he did exactly as he was supposed to do. He filled out to his reputation and gave us what we would expect from such an established brand.

There was  a sense of individualism and a sense of identity as there were no numberless soldiers of an innumerable army. There were no blank faces or countless ranks of men. The final battle felt more realistic. It almost felt personal, emotions and a sense of fear was actually noticeable within the threads of expressions. A real feel of quality could almost be touched. At least these were extras, not computer generated masses.

The whole story felt plain. It’s been done before, there’s nothing new or outlandish about this re-branding of the Robin Hood label. Robin Hood is a legend, he’s a Medieval tale. This film tries to place it within some real life, historical context. It doesn’t quite fit. It tells the tale of how Robin Hood started, how he became an outlaw. It’s like a story to explain the legend. No need to say that this film is less than legendary. To be honest, it could have been compressed into an epilogue. If there is a sequel, then its epilogue will be sufficient enough, you won’t have needed to have watched the first film.

This is not a bad film ! The opening scenes of a French castle siege are spectacular. The costumes and set designs are drawn to a line of impressive detail and what is most noticeable, is the lack of super makeup. It’s actually noticeable, and quite refreshing. In cold contrast to her performance as the Ice Queen of Narnia, Cate Blanchett looks very much Medieval… not ugly, but positively peasant like. There are even little quips and catch phrases that are really funny, like an old man with morning-glory, or mates all thoroughly hung over. Always funny!

Also, the score isn’t exactly original, you aren’t going crazy if you think you’ve heard it all before on some other sword and castle epic, but there are impressive touches of amazing folk music. Some awesome riffs! Pick out the sounds when you go to watch it.

The film has done what it set out to do. It invites an audience to see what set of circumstances, within a torn and battered Medieval England, would have created such a hero as Robin Hood. It creates a sense of reality and reminds us, amongst a time where the world of cinema revolves around super heros with amazing powers or limitless resources. This is a refreshing touch to our big screens.

By George Richardson

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