Ok. Let’s just start with how I started my day. After a Xanax induced sleep, I get a wake-up call from Nan. It’s the day to go to the movies. She gives me an hour to get ready and I get close, but as I am a walking tardy, well, I ran late. A phone call later, giving me a just scolding me for my tardiness, I was on the road to the movie theater. The choice of film for the day: Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.
Oh, this is one I did NOT want to see. After sitting through it, yep, I was right. Russell Crowe just does not do it for me like he used to. The brooding thing is just over. I’ve had my fill of the broody type. Lived with it for 10 years and I’ve chewed on it until all the flavor has gone. I want spunk and emotion from my leading men and well, sitting for 2 hours watching really repugnant men…Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood gets an Ugh on my Oooh! meter. Yeah, the film, when looked at it in it’s entirety, didn’t float my boat.
The cast of the film made me think I was sitting through a hybrid of X-men Origins: Wolverine, A Knight’s Tale, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Sherlock Holmes with Russell Crowe thrown on top as a would-be Gladiator(ial) cherry on the cake.
As we know I walked into the theater about 10 minutes late, and I felt gipped because the best part of going to the movies is the trailers. But, much less to say, I walk in and who do I see up on the big screen? The man who played Col. William Striker in Wolverine, Danny Huston; and just as repugnant as the Striker character was, so was his King Richard. Same intonation, same everything, but this time he’s in some medieval get-up scolding Russell Crowe’s version of Robin Hood. I knew it was a bad sign from the get-go, because the next scene, who do we see, the fella who played The Blob in Wolverine, Kevin Durande, sitting next to our would-be Robin Hood in a set of racks. At this point, I started looking for the tattoo on Fred Dukes arm because I thought for sure Hugh Jackman was going to come running out of the bushes with claws flying to save this pitiful film.
Let’s go through the good before we get to the bad.
Max Von Sydow was phenomenal! I just love that guy! From Dr. Kines in “Dune” to all of his other great parts, he gives the never-seen-before character, Sir Walter Loxley, zip and pizazz. Even though his character is blind, he sees more than the rest of us do. Rock on Max! You the man! His moments on screen are something to enjoy while you get them.
I give props to Kevin Durande, his presence really gave some comic relief to the agony I was going through, such as when he’s asked why he’s called “Little John” and he replies, “Hey! I’m proportionate!” Funny. And with his beefcake luscious body, even though his face might not light my fire in a big way, I was sated for my need for a bit of sinew and muscle. Add in the Alan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes) characters for their funny moments as Russell’s “crew”, they were great. The parts where they actually got some quality screen time, you actually looked forward to and relished when they were on the screen.
I also give props to Mark Addy (you remember him, he played Roland in A Knight’s Tale). His Friar Tuck wasn’t bad. This time around our favorite drunken friar liked to keep bees so he could make honey mead. I got a big kick when he tossed some beehives at some ransacking french soldiers. He added a bit of levity to the film. Who doesn’t love a drunk, pudgy faced friar? All in all, Kevin Durande’s Little John and Mark Addy’s Friar Tuck, what little screen time they do get, were moments I enjoyed best out of the entire film.
I actually think Ridley Scott might be a sadist, simply for the reason that between Little John, Alan A’Dayle, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck, they were like showing a scoop of vanilla ice cream coated in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup to someone on a crash diet, then going “NOPE! Can’t have it!” Then taking a big bite in front of us, showing us something we’ll never have. It’s just soooooo wrong! Bastard! hehe.
Now, let’s get into the bad:
The guy who played Prince-then-King John (I smiled when Danny Huston who played King Richard took one through the gizzard…I thought to myself, “Yeah! That’s what you get for shooting Jackman in the head with Adamantium bullets!)…well, you know, when it comes to John, I’m not big on guys who like to lie or screw people over. The character was just a regal horse’s ass. (Not to down on the thousands of horses in the film, those were beautiful.) The character of John made me ill. My favorite moment that I am the only one who laughed at was when he said, “It’s my first time in battle, I’ll lead!” It reminded me of some newb in World of Warcraft trying to lead a raid, you know it’s going to be an epic failfest. So, that’s another strike against the film.
The biggest and worst type-casting move ever was to bring in the bad guy from Sherlock Holmes, Mark Strong, as our villain once again. Yes, we know he can play bad guys. Saw him in Sherlock Holmes and wanted to fast forward through him in that film too. He’s dark, he’s another brooder and even if he did smile and tried to have charm, he’s just so blah that you just want to go head out to the concession stand so you can miss the parts he’s in.
Now, everyone but everyone has seen Costner’s version of Robin Hood. I missed Alan Rickman this time around as the Sheriff of Nottingham because the turkey they got to play the Sheriff this time around…I just hummed Bob Marley’s tune and wished to hell that I could have shot that Sheriff and anyone else that wanted to come near that part with a 10-foot pole.
Cate Blanchett. I love her, she’s great. She’s really good at doing what I do, making due with what you’ve got. And let me tell ya, she didn’t have much to work with. This Marion was a stand-up gal who reminded everyone that she sleeps with a dagger and isn’t afraid to use it. And like a moment taken out of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, she even rides into battle in armor from head to toe.
As far as the romance between Robin and Marion…not the fireworks we saw from Kevin Costner and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, those were great moments. Hate to say it, but Russell and Cate didn’t have it going on. Cate’s Marion was too stand up to let a brooding bonehead upstage her much less sweep her off her feet. My feet, and we all know what a hopeful romantic I am, stayed firmly planted on the ground with a “yeah, we know, Robin and Marion end up together…it’s been the same for hundreds of years, we get it.”
On the way to the theater after finding out I was going to see Robin Hood, I groaned and exclaimed, “I want to see Iron Man instead!” Yeah, it would have been a much better use of $7.75.
Best part of the film that made it worth the money? Seeing Nan out and about on top of her leaning over and whispering, identifying all of the different types of horses in the film and seeing her joy in watching the horses on screen. Hey, if it takes $7.75 for Nan to tell me about horses when I know how much she loves them…I’m in. If you love horses, go see the movie, there’s plenty of equine joy for you to find if you can ignore the rest of the rah-rah going on.
Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood? A big NO from me. Save your money and go for it when it comes out as a rental instead. Ridley Scott is much better at scaring the shit out of us in outer space than he is covering us in mud. I actually looked around for my remote a couple of times during the 140 minutes so I could fast forward through parts of the film. Ridley, back to the Aliens you go pal. Do us all a favor, don’t you DARE touch another time honored-classic for as long as you live! We did not need Robin Hood Begins.