This movie is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I skipped over it when released because of what appeared to be a major miscasting of the parts. Russell Crow -a fantastic actor- simply is not Robin Hood. Wrong body type, wrong acting background, just wrong for the part. The Robin Hood we've come to know since Douglas Fairbanks portrayed him in 1922 is not the angry looking grimacing warrior as portrayed in the image on the jacket.
That's the way I felt anyway, but lately I've been on a Robin Hood binge, and it seemed this film should be examined regardless. After viewing it, although my feelings about the miscasting stand, and now extend to the Marion part (it's traditionally been spelled in the feminine form as 'Marian' by the way), and to the King Richard part as well, this production has redeeming values. The middle of the film is really quite riveting... something fine is being woven together. There is this slow, gentle thawing between Robin and Marion, the plot is taking some interesting twists and turns... hope is sparked. But then the movie kind of goes downhill. Why?
- The challenge with Crow in the part is that you don't want to end up with the actor simply doing a modified version of his role in Gladiator. That was an iconic role, and the character Maximus is given some iconic moments. Like being passed a sword through mid air while on horseback and catching it perfectly. So, no matter what don't have Crow do that in this Robin Hood production because it will look like the story lacks originality. So, of course they do it. Twice! ("Hey Beavis, Russell can catch a weapon in mid air you know!" "He he. Yeah. Let's make him do it here too. That'll be cool. He he." -Beavis and Butt-Head directing a film)
- Marion of course must be updated to fit the modern woman, who is a natural warrior, innately knows karate, and can defeat any man. And that's exactly the trap they fall into. Somehow 125 lb Kate Blanchett can stride up to a soldier wearing body armor, who makes no attempt to attack her or even defend himself, and with one swing of her sword cut through the chain mail and bring the man down. Ok!
- King Richard, played by Danny Huston, is not a believable character because Huston has a very distinctive voice, and is apparently unable to alter it for a role. So instead of getting King Richard you are pulled out of the film whenever Huston opens his mouth.
- One of the reasons the movie falls apart at the end -other than Marion showing up at the head of her orphan army wearing custom fitted armor- is that the third act of the film is mostly two big fight scenes. And the fight scenes are built around quick-cuts, which is basically a cheat that does not in any way portray an actual battle. Once you've been spoiled by a properly staged medieval battle from the likes of a director like Kurosawa, these modern quick-cut based battles come off as amateur night.
- Then to top it all off there is a scene where Robin Hood is parting with Marion for a time, and Crow is given the line "I love you". Oh, puleeze. I mean if anything, it was her line to be delivered to him because she had been the reticent holdout. It would have been the sign he had fully won her over. But noooo. Really though, they would have been better off to skip the line entirely and not interfere with the lovely organic love story that had been simmering. We KNOW they love each other at this point!
Other than that the movie was great!!