Universal Pictures held their junket for Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood over the weekend, but I was unable to catch a screening of the film. A /Film reader named Ruggerman has sent in an early review. Their opinion of the movie seems to be in line with the views of some of the critics I’ve talked with over the past few days. For anyone interested, you can read the review after the jump.
The screening Ruggerman saw was of the final cut and not a test screening or unfinished cut of the film. But it should be noted that Ruggerman is not a professional movie writer/critic, and his opinion does not reflect that of /Film.
Here is the reader review from Ruggerman:
I am a big fan of SlashFilm and while I don’t comment much I read all the time and wanted to share my review of Robin Hood with the Site.
So last night I had the lovely opportunity to see one of the highly anticipated movies of the upcoming season and I will say right from the start that I was disappointed. I am going to try to make this review as spoiler free as possible so if I am vague at point please forgive me.
Going in I figured this was going to be Gladiator in Nottingham and, for the most part, it didn’t even remotely reach the epic level that I was hoping for. Ridley Scott, a man known for his epic movies, decided that it would be better to use his same old formula on a story most people don’t actually know, how Robin Hood came to be an outlaw of the state. The story focuses more on Sir Godfrey betraying England and Russell Crowe trying to create his identity while eventually getting to the process of defending the poor.
The moment I realized this movie was well below my expectations was when I felt completely disengaged from the entire film; I wasn’t captivated like I usually am in a Crowe or Scott film. Maybe it had to do with the fact that there were very few action scenes, and the ones that did exist were nothing special. Russell Crowe had one or two very cool shots with his bow and arrow but other than that the fighting was not impressive. Or maybe it was the unfamiliar story that didn’t allow for much entertainment or development. On the other hand, I may be able to deal with this movie not reaching my expectations if the follow up is good. This movie is blatantly set up for a sequel, and if done correctly we will have the opportunity to see more engaging fights and creative theft tactics.
One aspect of the movie I did like was the acting. I thought, for the most part, everyone played their part pretty well. Most of my favorite scenes were the ones where there was some comic relief involving Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes), Mark Addy (Friar Tuck), and/or the third partner of Robin Hood’s group whose name I do not know. All of them were great together and were rather funny for a majority of the jubilant scenes. Other than that they just did the fighting that was required of them and did it well. Not one actor stood out amongst the crowd and if they did it was because they had more screen time. Mark Strong played his typical evil character to the point and William Hurt did his deed as well. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Hurt was not on screen enough to be effective. Maid Marian (Cate Blanchett) did her best as well but it didn’t seem like there was a whole lot of chemistry between her and Crowe.
The final pieces of the film which I thoroughly enjoyed were the production value of the actual movie coinciding with the scenery choices, the score, and the final credits. The movie was beautifully shot, the cinematography was excellent but maybe it just had to do with the locations they chose to shoot because everything was extremely colorful when out in the forests and mountains and then truly medieval when in the towns and castles. Either way, it felt right the way the movie was shot and the locations they chose. Additionally, the score itself wasn’t too shabby and definitely helped in terms of transitioning but it didn’t do much in terms of gripping me by the neck and pulling me closer to the screen to try and further engage me with the movie. Lastly, I thought the final credits were really terrific. It was an animated paint job which then recapped the whole movie while the credits were transitioning on and off the screen.
Overall, Robin Hood was a disappointment in my book but it is probably a film you’re going to want to see regardless of what critics or viewers like me may say. I don’t know if I would pay $13 but I would probably go during a matinee showing for $7 or $8 simply because I love Russell Crowe. It is one of those movies you don’t need to rush to see but if you like the concept and the actors then go give it a whirl.