Word of mouth (or of finger) has the ability to make or break a movie after its released. Take for instance How to Train Your Dragon (still my #1 of 2010), which kept doing well in the theaters week after week because people told other people how good it was. On the other hand you have Clash of the Titans, which did menial box office despite it being one of the studios larger releases of the summer. Another caveat to the word of mouth phenomenon is the critics’ score. As regular people we like to think we don’t care about what all those hoity-toity critics write, but believe me, we are all eventually influence by them. And that was the very reason I was apprehensive about seeing Robin Hood. The critics trashed it so much, I didn’t even go see it opening weekend.
But there is a silver lining to such advice. Every now and then you are pleasantly surprised because your expectations are so low. I was really expecting this movie to suck…and here’s the kicker, it doesn’t. Could it be the critics are wrong? Heaven forbid! But in this case, I can honestly say they were. Robin Hood is an adventure movie pure and simple. It has your requisite corny lines, bad guy, good guy, love interest, totally unbelievable plot points and I though it was great. What dooms the movie however is that its lead actor/director tandem don’t live up to anywhere close to their previous Gladiator. Russell Crowe as Robin Hood is just as gloomy in this film as in Gladiator, but he really doesn’t have a reason to be. And poor Ridley Scott can’t seem to decide if he wants to be the man who directed Matchstick Men or the one directing Alien.
That aside, the movie is an escapist period piece that serves for very passable entertainment. We follow Robin Longstride as he assumes another’s identity to make it in a post-war England where he has no family. His antics win him the admiration of The Loxley patriarch played by a superb Max von Sydow and the ire of the widowed wife Maid Marion (Cate Blanchet). Of course throw in the merry men and Friar Tuck and we have a good time. This plot only brings us up to the moment where Robin becomes the outlaw…and doesn’t really delve into the legend. This irked me, as it seemed the ending of the movie was quickly wrapped up, re-edited and closed down for the sole purpose of making a sequel. It was done in such a rushed way that the pace totally threw me off.
Scott is at his best filming the fight scenes here. Reminiscent of Gladiator, they none-the less pull a few punches to keep the PG-13 rating. There are great action scenes but none that rival the wow factor of the adrenaline pumping 300 or Gladiator. What Robin Hood does try to do is present the story of the man with all the requisite entertainment required. In one aspect I do agree with the critics, it does take itself too seriously at times, but it’s nowhere near as brow-furrowed as Clash of the Titans. This is by no means a great movie, but I am very glad the critics were so off on this to lead me into enjoying it so much; and after Blade Runner..I have to forgive Scott of everything.
See it now!!!!
See it in theaters!!!
Rent it on DVD/BluRay!!
Wait for it on TV!