Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Video review: "Robin Hood"

Here would be my one-word review of "Robin Hood": Unnecessary.

The fabled bandit of Sherwood Forest has been depicted innumerable times, almost since the dawn of cinema. Director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Brian Helgeland mix bits and pieces of the various Robin Hood legend for their own pastiche that never convinces us of its essential reason for existing.

Russell Crowe plays Robin Longstride, a humble archer in Richard the Lionheart's army, recently returned from the Crusades. He impersonates a dead nobleman to make good his escape, and finds himself stuck in the middle of a political battle over the throne.

Marian (Cate Blanchett), who was married to the dead guy, is forced to carry on the charade with this stranger playing her husband, and finds she likes him better than the old one.

The movie grows silly in the middle, and briefly is enjoyable for it. But then the heavy, portentous drama reasserts itself, and we're treated to dull speeches about nobility residing in the heart of the common man, yada-yada.

This bewildering film is schizophrenic: It couldn't decide which of the many faces of the Robin Hood mythology to wear, so it tries them all on.

Once again, the trend of underwhelming movies arriving on video with stupendous extras continues.

On DVD, a director's cut adds 15 minutes to the film's run time, and 10 deleted scenes add 13 minutes more. A 62-minute making-of documentary touches on all aspects of production, and includes the insight by producer Brian Grazer that they were aiming for "the 'Gladiator' version of Robin Hood."

A digital copy of the film is also included.

On upgrading to Blu-ray, you gain "The Art of Nottingham," which includes hundreds of still images documenting pre-production, costumes, behind-the-scenes and other goodies.

The centerpiece is a "director's notebook" that includes pop-up video with commentary by Ridley Scott, which includes an interactive feature that allows you to pause, view other extras, and then resume.

The extras for "Robin Hood" are right on target. Would that more good movies could receive such a splendid video release.

Movie: 2 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars


  1. I must say - I quite enjoyed this film and am looking forward to picking up a copy of it today. I loved the chemistry between Crowe and Blanchett and while many said Crowe was too long in the tooth for this role - I did not find that his age bothered me in the least.

  2. Oh, I don't necessarily think Crowe was too old -- I just like to point out that he was the same age Sean Connery was when he played an old, washed-up Robin in "Robin and Marian."