Movie: ‘Robin Hood’
In Theaters: May 14, 2010
Director: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 140 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content
There have been dozens of ‘Robin Hood’ movies, including Douglas Fairbanks’ version in 1922, Disney’s animated version in 1973, and Kevin Costner’s take in 1991’s ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.’
Perhaps one of the actors most associated with the role is Errol Flynn, who played the swashbuckling hero opposite Olivia de Havilland’s Maid Marian in 1938’s ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood.’ There was even a 1912 short in which Robert Frazer played the famed archer. And that’s not even counting all of the TV shows, including the BBC’s wonderful version currently in production, starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin and Lucy Griffiths as Marian.
My point is, the story’s been told hundreds of times, so it really comes down to who plays the characters and how well they do it. Did Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett measure up? Yes and no. When I first heard about the casting, I worried that these two might be a little too old to play the parts. That’s not an ageism statement; merely a commentary on the fact that this movie is about the early life of Robin Hood prior to meeting Marian. While I love both of these actors, I’m still standing by that statement. Younger actors might have made the movie more believable, but there’s nothing like seasoned actors in the roles, too.
Overall, though, I really liked the movie, including the fact that it’s both funny and serious, romantic and action-packed. We not only get the casualties of war under the misguided regime of Prince John (Oscar Isaac), but we also get the silliness of Robin’s men in their quest to drink and be merry — and bed a few women in the process.
Standouts are Mark Addy as the beekeeping Friar Tuck, Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Mark Strong as Godfrey and, my personal favorite, Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley. He and daughter-in-law Marian take Robin in when he travels to Nottingham to tell them that Marian’s husband, Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge) has died at the hands of enemies.
The whole “steal from the rich and give to the poor” is kind of downplayed. Even though there’s lots of action, the story focuses more on Robin and Marian’s relationship (they do have great chemistry). The ending really sets things up for a sequel, but I’m not sure that will happen since the box office numbers haven’t been spectacular.
At 140 minutes, it’s a little long and meandering – they probably could have cut a few minutes here and there — but I still think it’s worth seeing if you’re a fan of Russell Crowe or Cate Blanchett, Ridley Scott films, or Robin Hood movies, in general. Because of the violence, I don’t recommend it for kids younger than 14.
NOTES FOR PARENTS:
Sex/Nudity: Robin and Marion flirt and eventually kiss. The prince is shown in bed with his mistress; his mother walks in and we see his lower back when he stands up. Robin’s merry men are shown cavorting with Nottingham women, though only kissing is shown. Little John remarks that he’s “proportionate,” despite his nickname. Robin and Marion share her living quarters, and he stares at her silhouette through a flimsy curtain (though sleeps on a floor near the fireplace).
Violence/Gore. It’s fairly violent, although I must say, not as violent as I imagined for a Ridley Scott film. Still, there’s plenty of bow-and-arrow action and battle scenes involving spears, swords, knives, burning bags of oil and fist fights. A few scenes show entire towns rounded up and herded and/or burned.
Profanity: Mild insults, including “little bastard” and a few instances of “Christ.”
Check out the trailer and a few pics:
Images: Universal Pictures