Saturday, May 15, 2010

Robin Hood Rebuilt

Okay so I saw the new Robin Hood movie yesterday afternoon and I'll start by saying it was definitely worth it.

Of course you may remember that I've got this thing for Russell Crowe so they couldn't have picked a better guy for revamping the image of the Man in Tights (he even upgrades his tights for leather "breeches"). But Cate Blanchette was also the perfect person for Maid Marion, I absolutely loved her. Willowy, fragile yet strong, gorgeous and funny--just perfect.

You can't go into the film expecting the flamboyant, rather showy and feminine Errol Flynn version or even the NASCAR-esque strange American version Kevin Costner subjected us to in the 90s. This one approaches the myth kind of like the recent Batman movies redecorated the Batman story and made it very, very cool. It's not full-on funny like the Disney version (which may still be my favorite--there are lines in that movie that still crack me up: "Seize the fat one!") but it has its cute moments and the action is just what you'd want and expect from the Gladiator team.

The movie is a prequel, a build up to show how Robin Hood became Robin Hood and as far as that goes it works well. I love the opening scene of storming the castle and the cinematography of the English countryside (assuming it is, in fact, England) is luxrious. As violence and gore go it's fairly tame--I really expected more and prepared to watch through my fingers--and while it's nearly non-stop battle (think Lord of the Rings) most of it is cut by the camera shots before the gore flows. In fact the closing credits are more bloody that the actual film if you stay to watch and compare. It gets its PG-13 rating for the shot where you see more of Prince John and his woman than you'd care to witness and for the final bad-guy death scene (hope I'm not giving away any treats there). I would let my boys see it on video if I could edit out those two scenes.

Of course you have to make allowances for the obvious historical inaccuracies: Maid Marion wields a broadsword as if it's the weight of a toothbrush, the musical score attempts what could hardly pass for 12th-century music and everyone seems to be remarkably concerned about the French when the entire English court was still essentially French after only 125 years of the Norman conquest. And that's just for starters. The conflicts in the movie are totally made up and I'm afraid Robin Hood has now officially been credited with creating the Magna Carta thanks to Ridley Scott but hey, it's all good in the name of entertainment, and I was entertained.

The middle is a little slow (i.e. that whole pesky plug for democracy that sounds so good to American audiences but is ridiculou for Saxon serfs) but the stuff on either end makes it great. Oh, and did I mention it has Russell Crowe? Reason enough to see it.

10 comments:

Michemily said...

I debated seeing it last night, but the preview looked so bloody! I really don't care for violence in movies, and when it's the center of the story that makes it that much more difficult because you can't miss it. But maybe I'll reconsider. Do you really think it wasn't too violent?

Scribbit said...

Well like I said, it's not really gory but it is non-stop battle. The body count is in the thousands but you don't see arrows going in eyes and beheadings and stuff the way you'd expect from Scott. I worried it would be a hard-core PG-13 but it's usually in cut-away shots so you don't see it. Except for the final bad-guy death thing. You see blood there. But otherwise it's not what I'd call gory--more of like Lord of the Rings as I say. It's PG-13 because you see a flash of hiney from Prince John. It's quick and I kind of missed it (thankfully) but it's there so that's what it's for.

Scribbit said...

Still--let me be clear that I wouldn't take my 11 year old to it and because of the bed scene at the beginning I wouldn't want my 13 year old to see that either. You could edit that part out and I'd be okay with them seeing it.

Michemily said...

Great. Thanks!

Kim N said...

I will definitely have to see this one! I love Robin Hood. I liked the Kevin Costner one, but I think I will like this one even more.

Disney version will always be the best. Too many favorite lines in that one, but my kids and I love, "I've got a dirty thumb."

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

I think the best part of the Kevin Costner one was Alan Rickman but I am Rickman-biased. I have been wanting to see this one as I share your love of the Russell and since we haven't been to the movies in almost a year...I'm going to take your thumbs up and see it soon! Thanks for the review - but RC is all mine ;)

Janelle said...

I was excited for this with the first trailer that I saw, but I have heard that it is by far the most violent Robin Hood movie ever. I'm glad to see that you liked it, though, because that tells me that it's not as bad as I expected, based on what I'd heard. I do have a beef with Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion, though. I think she's fabulous, and I have no doubt that she plays the role most excellently, but Maid Marion is supposed to be a young maiden. Think teenager, still. Cate Blanchett is 41 years old (yesterday, incidentally). I'm sure I'll look past that when I see the movie, though.

Elizabeth said...

I love to watch Russell Crowe too. And I'm a huge Robin Hood fan. I can't wait to see this.

Have you seen the BBC Robin Hood series? I loved it. It's on netflix. I highly recommend it. It's also pretty family friendly from what I can remember.

Andy said...

Oh my, I am so looking forward to watching robin hood. My favourite story when I was little, and one of my favourite actor Mr Crowe!

Stephanie said...

This will tell you how long it has been since I've been to a movie theatre: I didn't even know there was a Robin Hood movie out {sheepish grin}. I'll have to look up the trailer and maybe we'll get around to watching it in about 5 years... ;)

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net