First off, I’m going to say this movie doesn’t deserve an involved review, but I’ll tackle it anyway. It’s bad. My theater was full last night, but when talking to others after the film ended, they weren’t impressed. It’s a disposable version of the old story, adding nothing to the tale. I’m scratching my head raw trying to ascertain who the target audience is, and why the powers that be bothered with yet another Robin Hood re-boot.
I’m giving this underwhelming flick a D+, since it’s sub-par in almost every way…except for the lush landscapes, the majestic castles seen from afar, and the detailed interior sets of the city of Nottingham. It’s got just enough pretty to engage the eye. Robin himself is also pretty, but why they insist on calling him “Rob” makes no sense. Rob. Really? Anyway, that’s where the + comes from: good sets. 😉
And here’s the thing — it’s a strange, strange film. The men had modern haircuts. The women had space-age futuristic hairstyles (see the “casino” scene, which was lifted right out of Star Wars). Their clothing bothered me too. Since when do medieval clergy or members of the police force wear stylishly cut leather jackets and dusters? Actually, maybe not so stylishly: they reminded me of the sorely lamented Members Only garments from the 80s. Whatever: they took me out of the narrative.
What I liked, besides the sets and scenery:
Friar Tuck was a hoot. He played the role in an unusual way, as a sort of spiritual seeker who is also an archetypal fool. I could watch a movie of his amusing Confessional sequences. He brings the only charm to the film.
The best Robin character moments are the scant scenes where Robin sucks up to the Sheriff — I hadn’t seen that angle before. They should have done more of that, paving the way for a new interpretation of a classic story.
I liked the poverty-stricken city-dwellers nailing up symbolic hoods all over town. That was cool — there was a ground swell of support for The Hood, expressed in the only way the populace could manage without being dragged off to the gallows.
The outlaws only move to Sherlock Forest at the very, very end. Disappointing. They are clearly setting up for a sequel no one wants, especially with the “new sheriff” business. But since I was waiting for the scenes with the Merry Men, I was glad the forest finally made a cameo. Nothing merry made this cut.
And…um. Looking over my notes, that’s all I’ve got for the good.
Some more observations before I wrap this forgettable film: They tried too hard to take themselves seriously as a medieval story, but undercut themselves with bothersome anachronistic details. Even the soundtrack was bizarre. It’s like the producers watched A Night’s Tale and Ladyhawk, and decided they could replicate those successes by slipping old and new into one film.
They failed. A Night’s Tale is one of the most enjoyable medieval tales in the business. I’d say you’re better off watching that one again, and stomping in the tourney stands along to We Will Rock You. And Ladyhawk is mostly straightforward, but features a strangely workable rock soundtrack, and the sublime Matt Broderick reprising his Ferris Bueller shtick in breaking the fourth wall and talking to the camera (or God — same thing).
I don’t want to waste any more time reviewing a sub-par movie, so I’ll wrap this up. This Robin Hood shouldn’t be on anyone’s playlist rotation. There’s barely any humor. The prisoner character (‘John” – acted by the reliable Jamie Foxx) did what he could in a lackadaisical script, but unfortunately came across like an Arabian superhero who could dodge arrows and survive brutal beatings without a scratch. I don’t like seeing people beat into a pulp, but there should be consequences if they are.
Then the climatic scenes where Robin fires five arrows at once that mysteriously all connect to a target…is he an Avenger, like Hawkeye, with heat-seeking rounds? How long does it take to master these skills? I thought Robin Hood was supposed to arrive with this talent, and not pull a sudden “Rocky” turn where a few days of training equals super mighty prowess. I know I’m overthinking this, but there’s nothing else in this film to distract me from the dismal minutia.
Here’s my suggestion. And I HATE to say this: just watch the Kevin Costner Robin Hood version again. That’s not a good movie either (understatement), but the lost and lamented Alan Rickman brings the funny, and is a sort-of engagingly demented rogue. Don’t get me started on this Sheriff. Evil for evil’s sake? I’m done.
What else? I need to see Men In Tights again, because I want to know if it STILL might be better than this. Can a spoof film be superior? I’d say yes, if they respect the source material, like The Princess Bride. For this Robin Hood, I appreciate they might have been going for a Lord of the Rings feel, blended with A Knight’s Tale, but it dropped like a dud grenade.
Lastly, the much ballyhooed line of, “If not now, who? If not not now, when?” came across strangely, like they suddenly decided to use a modern cozy homily as the crux of the narrative. Did Maid Marion coin this line? Why? Oh, gods, I don’t even care.
About The Peetimes: The best Peetime is a nice long one; I recommend using that one proactively. All you will miss is a training montage. The 2nd and 3rd Peetimes give you a choice of missing some character dialog or an action scene, but neither add much to the plot, so select whichever your bladder needs.
There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Robin Hood. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)