Costuming aside, Robin Hood is a well told tale of Robin Hood the man, before he became Robin Hood the legend. Why are people slighting this effort because it stars and is directed by the duo who brought us GLADIATOR. Gladiator was a great film! ROBIN HOOD is an enjoyable film.
Toe to toe, Gladiator wins every time. It is a better story, more original, and just makes me feel warm and fuzzy each time I hear Crowe spout to Commodus:
"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Which is only slightly better than and also one of my favorites to: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Well with Robin Hood, we get something as noble as the Gladiator line, and perhaps a bit easier to remember (no spoiler as Crowe reads it in the trailer): "Rise, and Rise Again; Until Lambs Become Lions"
The primary difference between this and Gladiator deals directly with the hero's journey. In Gladiator, Maximus was a hero from the word go. He was a battle-tested, revered General who fought for Ceasar and won. In Robin Hood, Robin Longstride is but a noble archer, in the King's conquering army. It could be argued that he is a leader, but when he gives the King a bit of lip, he ends up bound in the stockade. Not quite the hero's introduction one would expect. He serves King Richard the Lionheart with respect, but given the circumstances that develop, he quickly decides that a solo journey is the best route to a happy life.
Cate Blanchett and Max Von Sydow play daughter (Maid Marion) and father (Sir Walter Locksley) and their dynamic is excellent. Early in the film, Maid Marion's, husband is killed in battle and Robin Longstride having sworn a blood oath, is the bearer of the news and to return the sword of the son to the father. Von Sydow is the acting tour de force of this effort, playing the elder Locksley as well as any role in his recent past. Von Sydow is to Robin Hood as Richard Harris (R.I.P.) was to Gladiator. Yeah, I know...if it isn't like Gladiator, why keep drawing the damn conclusion!
My biggest complaint comes when considering the rating. This is a PG-13 offering and I think a slight increase in the colorful words department and perhaps some on-screen bloodshed would have greatly added to the overall enjoyment. I don't need to see blood and guts or hear f-bombs a plenty to love a movie. But again, holding this candle up against Gladiator makes it impossible not to notice. CASH is the motivator for a PG-13 and the Big Hollywood Machine keeps on a rollin'.
All in all...a solid 3.5 horns out of 5 from the Reel Rhino.
Tune in next week and I will pick apart MacGruber, which until recently had a tomatometer rating of 100%. if not for the recent addition of Top Critic, The Hollywood Reporter's John Defore's rotten rating. Defore's rotten rating has dropped the score to 89% as of this writing, which I think sadly, will be the first of many drops in the score for this SNL small screen to big screen jump. But we shall see!!!
PS...Who's your favorite Robin Hood of all time? Vote in the ReelRhino.com Blog Poll!