June Issue 2010
Not so unforgettable
In English lore and popular imagination, Robin Hood is a bow-and-arrow-toting redistributionist, a socialist bandit. You get the picture: he is a steal from the rich, give to the poor kind of guy. But Ridley Scott’s 2010 movie, Robin Hood, can be described as a prequel to Robin Hood as the depiction of the character has more to do with how he became the legend he is today.
Critical reviews for this movie, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, have been mixed. Scott’s movie has all the ingredients of an epic adventure flick: the cast, well-executed action sequences and a solid plot.
Although the usual suspects are all there, the story is told in a completely different manner. Following King Richard’s death in France, archer Robin and his aide Little John decide to return to England. On their way they meet the dying Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by the traitor Godfrey, who aims to foster a French invasion of England. Robin promises the dying knight that he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham. But when he reaches the place, the father actually wants Robin to impersonate the dead man to prevent his land being confiscated by the crown which has now been given to the new King John.
From here Robin Longstride goes on to become Robin Hood, the outlaw. But not like the ones shown in the past. He is neither merry like the wily fox in the Disney’s version of the film nor does he wear tights. In fact he is rather serious. Even the politics of the movie is different, the most overt insight into it is a speech made by Robin in front of King John demanding freedom and liberty for the citizens of England.
But the execution of the plot in this over two- hour movie seems almost rushed. Character development is lacking. However, the art of archery is shown with skill and precision. It is a movie with a lot of blood and even romance.
The romantic overtones amidst war and combat are visible because of the chemistry between Robin (Crowe) and Marion (Blanchett). Marion’s character is not like the past, damsel-in-distress type. She is feisty and bold, and fights alongside Robin in a battle against the traitor where they are finally united.
While Scott may be lauded for taking a different angle on the film, he has ended up making a movie that is ordinary, watchable. After watching so many renditions of Robin Hood one would think a backgrounder on him would be riveting, but it is not. Even with all the right ingredients, Scott, it seems, didn’t have the recipe to make this new take on an old legend an unforgettable one.