Robin Hood (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/05/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 140 mins

Ridley Scott's take on Robin Hood is nicely acted and features some state-of-the-art CGI effects but there's not enough action, it drags horribly in the middle and the decision to focus on the pre-outlaw days means that it occasionally feels a bit Braveheart-by-numbers.

What's it all about?
Essentially the prequel to the familiar Sherwood Forest-based legend, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood opens with expert archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), fighting in France in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston), alongside his merry men, Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle), Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and Little John (Kevin Durand). However, when the King is killed in battle, Robin and his men agree to carry a sword belonging to the fallen Robert of Locksley (Douglas Hodge) back to his father Walter (Max von Sydow) in Nottingham.

When they arrive in Nottingham, Robin finds himself captivated by Locksley's feisty widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), and is somewhat taken aback when Walter asks him to pose as his son (and Marion's husband) in order to maintain order in Nottingham while they hold out against the absurdly high taxes imposed by the greedy Prince John (Oscar Isaac). Meanwhile, French double agent Godfrey (Mark Strong) is plotting with France's King Philip (Jonathan Zaccai) to invade England, knowing that newly-annointed King John won't be able to unite his troops in time.

The Good
Crowe is fine as Robin, although he's hampered by a very dodgy accent, to the point where he eventually gives up and speaks in a throaty Phil Mitchell-style whisper instead. Blanchett is excellent as Marion and there's strong support from William Hurt (as William Marshal), Eileen Atkins (as Prince John's exasperated mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine) and von Sydow, while Oscar Isaac steals pretty much every scene he's in as Prince John and provides the only camp element in an otherwise rather straightforward and serious version of the story.

As with the recent Agora, the CGI work is impeccable, in that you never actually notice it, yet you know it's there. In addition, Scott orchestrates at least one terrific battle sequence, even if it is completely ripped off Saving Private Ryan.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the decision to focus on the pre-outlaw days means that the film occasionally feels a little like Braveheart-by-numbers and doesn't actually deliver what you want from a Robin Hood movie (one brilliant moment aside). Similarly, there's not enough action and the film drags horribly in the middle section.

Worth seeing?
This is watchable enough but it never feels like a proper Robin Hood movie – we'll have to wait for the sequel for that.

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Robin Hood (M)
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Content updated: 22/10/2019 10:50

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