Friends say it’s nice, friends say it’s good, Ev’rybody says it’s just like Robin Hood

No reason for the header pic, other than that I love Charlie Crowe. I just love him. That is all.

So, Robin Hood.

It was 2/3 of one helluva movie.  Going in, I was so worried that I would not be able to view it without the bias I’d bring from my knowledge/resentment of the script changes, and my preconceived notion that it was all one big, callous money-grab career-fix Gladiator knock-off.  I was sure these thoughts would poison my experience.

I was wrong.

Within 10 minutes, every single one of those grudges was gone and I was loving the movie. I am a sucker.  I am a sucker for Russell and I am a sucker for Medieval movies done right.  And Ridley Scott, though he doesn’t do much else right, does Medieval right.  By “right”, I mean that he does a great job of bringing things to life that I, as a sad Medieval Geek, have always dreamed of seeing in real life.

AND, as a Medieval Geek I deeply appreciated that this was the first filmed Robin Hood piece (to my knowledge anyway) that included historical vital people like Eleanor of Aquitaine and William the Marshall, AND gave a pretty accurate summation of the political situation at the time AND therefore didn’t make King Richard into a saint.  All of those people were wonderfully written, and the depiction of Richard the Lionheart, bankrupt, his glory fading, vaguely diseased, but still with the power to inspire men with just his name, was one of the best things about Robin Hood.  The early scenes of Richard’s army (where Robin serves as an archer) warring it’s way home across France, and the interactions between Robin and the King, and Robin with his future Merry Men are the strongest in the film and I have the sense that they were probably directly lifted from the original (good) script.

After Richard’s death, with Robin and friends back in England, there was still plenty to enjoy.  I don’t want to give it away, but the concept they came up with to explain how Robin the poor landless archer became conflated with Lord Robert of Locksley, was ingenious and a new twist on this tale.

This second third was slow-paced, character-building stuff that could have been better if the dialog hadn’t been so lacking.  But it was Russell, Cate B, and Max Von Sydow saying the weak dialog so they managed to sell it.   I can’t talk about this section of the movie objectively, because this third was where a Medieval/Russell fangirl could just relax and bask in the authentic Medieval settings, Russell and Cate looking stunning in gorgeous Medieval clothes, the sight of beautiful Deerhounds and Wolfhounds running around, gratuitous Russell beefcake shot deliberately designed to say “FUCK OFF” to the “He’s faaaat” dipshits, Russell in gorgeous Medieval clothes cuddled up on a floor with a Deerhound….I could just live in this portion of the movie.

But then.  French thugs posing as Englishmen start laying waste the countryside and the cheese kicked in.  Russell has a sword with a cheesy slogan engraved on it, Max Von Sydow explains the sword’s history and we learn that……and I don’t care if this is a “Spoiler”…….

ROBIN HOOD’S FATHER WROTE THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE MAGNA CARTA!!

Bitch, please!

I mean, they don’t come out and say that it’s the Magna Carta…but it is.  And right there, the movie lost me.  And all the action kicked in, and suddenly it became the big, callous money-grab career-fix Gladiator knock-off but with worse writing that I was afraid of all along.  Cheesy speechifying that even Rusty couldn’t save, the French villains were over-the-top evil yet also incredibly bad tacticians, big honking army/calvary battle scene (like in Gladiator!) so that Russell could kick ass but not have to do anything…you know…Robin Hood-esque.  All whipped to a froth by Ridley Scott’s utter inability to film decent fight scenes.  Gah!  It was bad.  It was worse-than-Joaquin-Phoenix bad.

So in conclusion, I don’t know what to tell you.  You should probably still see it because the first 2/3 were very enjoyable.  But just brace yourself, or leave early or something.  As bad as the last 1/3 was, it did not diminish my enjoyment of the first parts and I will most likely buy the Blu-Ray for all the deleted scenes and further basking and hopefully more Russell with Deerhounds.  ‘Cause that’s the kind of loyal bitch I am.  But you normal people should just catch a matinee on a rainy day.

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