Well, I had a pretty awful day but I’m glad to say that I passed at least a little of it with some escapism in the form of Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood – a film better than the trailer would have had me believe.
“Rise, and rise again. Until lambs become lions.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Random longbowman becomes knight, then outlaw. All in a measly 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The first thing I really liked about this film was the fact that it was hugely different from any Robin Hood film I’ve seen in the past. The main reason is that Robin isn’t an outlaw in it until the very end. This is the story of how Robin Longstride becomes Robin of the Hood. And a very interesting tale it is, too.
If you’re expecting an update of Kevin Costner‘s Prince of Thieves then you’ll be disappointed. However, if you found that to be a Hollywood-ised mess full of historical inaccuracies and geographical nonsense then you may well prefer Scott’s vision.
There’s no way a truly historic tale could be woven, simply as there’s not even any proof that the man existed. Even if he did, the stories about him vary so hugely that we don’t even know if he was a commoner or aristocrat, or if his name was indeed Robin. Perhaps that came about because he wore red. Or was it Lincoln green? The stories can’t even agree on the colour of his clothes!
Historically, and based on the facts we do know of this period, the version here is definitely far more accurate than Costner’s. Certainly, it’s got one simple fact right – that Richard the Lionheart died in France so his appearance at the end of a film (portrayed by a Scot…) to make everything right again is hardly going to happen. Hell, Scott’s even managed to factor in the fact that the person who killed him was (possibly) a cook. And that he was shot by an arrow in the left side of his neck. In one five minute segment, Scott (and scriptwiter Brian Helgeland) have more historical accuracy than Costner managed in his entire movie.
In the interests of balance, it must be said that this version isn’t as “entertaining” at Prince of Thieves. After all, it hasn’t got Alan Rickman in it. However, it is a very different type of film. Both have their merits – the older one is more fun, frankly, whereas this has a much superior story.
Russell Crowe isn’t bad as Robin. At least he tries at an English accent. Which one, however, is anyone’s guess. One moment he’s Yorkshire, then more Scouse. At times he even drifts as far as having an Irish twang. To give the guy some credit, though. He’s a Kiwi who’s been putting on an American accent for years.
The film certainly doesn’t have the scale of the pair’s earlier Gladiator, but there’s no taking away from the impressive sets and scenery. I’m sure historians would happily point out a thousand discrepancies, but it looks alright to me.
I genuinely had no hope for this film based on the trailer. However, the film advertised certainly isn’t the one I saw. It’s far better written and more interesting than the action-fest I was ready to tolerate.
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