Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Robin Hood (2010) -Review

I recently had the chance to see the latest Robin Hood movie, starring Russell Crowe, so I'd like to share my thoughts on it.

Overall, I found this movie to be enjoyable, and somewhat original in the field of Robin Hood films. Rather than a rehash of the classical story, we see a reinvention of the legend. I know they tried a similar sort of rewrite with the 1991 version starring Kevin Costner, but Crowe's portrayal of the folk hero is far better (especially since he speaks with the right accent). Other than that, the housing, landscape, and people looked a lot more grungy and realistic. You could believe it was 800 years ago, and the story itself was grittier, without the customary dose of fluffy feel good nonsense.

There are a few historical inconsistencies which don't really detract from the story's enjoyability. The biggest one is King Richard's death, which is overly dramatized for theatrical effect. While it is true he was shot by an archer, it was in the arm, so it took him almost 2 weeks to die from gangrene.

Historical accounts tell us that King Richard returned to his bankrupted kingdom in disgrace, and wanted to raise money for another Crusade. He was in the middle of suppressing a revolt in Limousin (in Central France), and it's possible he was also seeking to procure a cache of Roman coins discovered by a local farmer (much like his little brother John would do in later years, Richard sought to extract whatever funding he could from the people). During a morning's survey of the battlefield, Richard caught an arrow in the arm from a crossbow-wielding boy.

Thus ended the reign of Coeur de Lion, a Norman King who couldn't speak a word of English and had no love for the people he ruled. History has rewritten the king into a great leader, but he was really a piggish monarch who died a failure. On top of that, researchers have speculated that he may have dabbled in homosexuality, and it's possible he even had an affair with his own sister. How scandalous! Richard the Lionheart, indeed!

I expect you can see why they couldn't show the "real" King Richard in the movie. However, they did show him to be more pig-headed and arrogant than in previous versions of Robin Hood, so that's a plus.

The only other inaccuracy I noticed lies in the use of written English words on the sword's hilt and on different landmarks. Back in 1199, everything would have been in Latin, but I suppose that wouldn't have had as big an impact on the viewers, since few people can read that script these days.

Neither of these trifles diminished the movie's effectiveness, and in retrospect they probably improved it. This is historical fantasy, after all, so trying to get too accurate would be foolhardy.

I give this latest incarnation of Robin Hood 4 out of 5 stars. I really hope they have a sequel in the works, because they did a good job of setting up a whole new series with this one.

4 comments:

  1. An interesting review. I really enjoyed Kevin Costner's Robin Hood because of the humour but he didn't even attempt the accent. I always found that a bit odd. I haven't seen Crowe's Robin Hood yet but I must look it out!

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  2. I also liked the Costner version (despite the accent), though this new version takes the Robin Hood legend two steps further in the direction of historical accuracy. It doesn't have too much humor, though.

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  3. I liked this one, as well (plus the Costner one, but they were completely different). I liked that this one was grittier.

    Stopping by as I continue exploring blogs who participated in the A to Z. Just because I don't have to blog every day anymore, doesn't mean I have to give up discovering new blogs!

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  4. I agree, I hope that there is a sequel. There was a lot in the Robin Hood movie that was missing and some that had no point in it at all. There was a lot to love though, like the actors, and the action. I just finished watching Robin Hood on DISH Online and it was great! I really like DISH Online because I can watch loads of different shows, but since I have an account with DISH Network, I have access to thousands more shows and movies! Also, because I subscribe to HBO, I have even more movies like Robin Hood that I can watch anytime I want on DISH Online! I am also an employee of DISH Network, so I have had a lot of time to play with the site, and I know that it has a lot to offer, whether you are a customer or not! Check out dishonline.com for yourself!

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