Cannes Review: Ridley Scott's Robin Hood - It's No Gladiator
by Alex Billington
May 12, 2010
I know it's not exactly ideal to instantly compare Ridley Scott's Robin Hood to Gladiator, but I can't really help it, especially because Gladiator is one of my all-time favorites (and a nearly flawless film), and because Russell Crowe is a little too similar to Maximus Decimus Meridius while playing Robin Longstride in Robin Hood. I finally saw the movie earlier today in Cannes and it's not terrible or a failure, like some people have been saying, but it's not great either. It's definitely no Gladiator, and although Ridley's production values are speculator as always, the story felt a little muddled and it lacked the true epicness of Gladiator overall.
While we all know the story of Robin Hood (e.g. steal from the rich, give to the poor) this movie had nothing to do with that story. Well, not entirely at least, and as you may have heard (and this isn't a spoiler), it ends saying "and so the legend of Robin Hood begins." Over the course of the movie we see how (like Gladiator) a commoner named Robin Longstride deceptively works his way up the ranks in feudal, medieval England to prevent the French from invading and become a hero and a legend. And as interesting as that may sound on paper, the script is where most of the problems lie, especially in the middle where it just felt muddled.
Despite that very rough story, Robin Hood does have a lot to admire, from its great production values to the impressive cast with quite a few very memorable performances (from Mark Strong, William Hurt, Max von Sydow and Scott Grimes), but it just doesn't seem to live up to the level I usually expect from Ridley Scott. And it's not really his fault because he seems to deliver excellently on all of the aspects that he could, but it was the script and the story and the way it came together in the end that dragged this down. There were just too many characters introduced too often (and some never got any explanation even though they needed it).
I can't say I loved it, but I did enjoy some parts of it, almost anything with action (Scott is still a master at that) and I did enjoy watching Robin's story and his rise to the status of legend. Although I wish we could've seen more of the story after that point (when he actually becomes Robin Hood and meddles with the Sheriff of Nottingham), it ended right at the point where it would've started to feel too long anyway, so maybe that's a good thing. This Robin Hood needed to be more epic and more polished to truly be spectacular movie up there with Gladiator, and while it isn't one of Scott's best movies, it definitely is not one of his worst either.
Reader Feedback - 34 Comments
Saw this coming a mile away. Therefore, I will stay at least a mile away from the nearest theater showing it.
graffiti bandit on May 12, 2010
Dont care, Ive said from day 1 Im seeing it solely for Mark Strongs performance, the guy is one of the only actors that Ive seen who actually lives his roles.
Cody w on May 12, 2010
Mark Strong was great in Sunshine and Rocknrolla, I thoughthe sucked in Sherlock Holmes and Kick Ass...
Linkfx on May 12, 2010
3...you're way off base regarding Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass. He was fantastic. Every single role he does he absorbs into. Haven't seen Robin Hood yet, but I will for sure. Ridley is consistent and always puts out great stuff, even if its not critically acclaimed, they are still good films.
one on May 12, 2010
watched it yesterday, its a mixed bag, not as engaging as gladiator
ozzie memz on May 12, 2010
Yeah I'm with Cody w. I'm gonna see this no matter what. I say quit comparing it to Gladiator, its not hard. I'm doing it right now actually.
Xerxex on May 12, 2010
When the concept first came around I was pretty excited but after the trailers I realized this would be subpar.
Moon on May 12, 2010
hell..............ENOUGH ABOUT GLADIATOR!!!!! i couldn't care less whether "robin hood" is similar to it or whatever other comparisons are being made. robin hood has a great cast and i'm sure RS will put some great medieval action on the screen. i'm looking forward to seeing it. #7 - what are you talking about? the trailers look pretty engaging from an action perspective..........how do you get this will be "subpar"?
beavis on May 12, 2010
Got invited to a special showing this evening and it's exactly what it's supposed to be; a big old bad kick ass summer popcorn blockbuster ... No, it's not as good as Gladiator, but hell, what in this genere is? Everyone played and look the part, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong... Hell man even the guy who played the minstrel Alan A'Dayle was perfect for his part... Screw the critics, this is one hell of a fun movie!
Hattori Hanzo on May 12, 2010
the second this trailer aired, and it was made known the Scott-Crowe combo was together again, i knew the comparison's to Gladiator would start. the two can't be compared. they are TWO DIFFERENT MOVIES!! did you compare Terminator to True Lies? same situation as this. anyone? anyone? didn't think so. leave the comparison's at home and rate this movie on its own. i know i'm looking forward to seeing it.
Chad on May 12, 2010
this movie looks so uninteresting to me, silly really.
Victor Diaz on May 12, 2010
Production values are "speculator"? 🙂
Lynton on May 12, 2010
Gladiator wasn't that good.
chris c on May 12, 2010
i bet this movie had a lower budget than gladiator and if thats the case we should boycott this movie cause i just watched the fifth element and it has better cg than any movie in the past 6 years although i think inception is going to change that.
sickdoghats on May 12, 2010
i really don't care about this movie
DoomCanoe on May 12, 2010
@ sickdoghats Fifth Element is one of my favorite movies, but there is no way in hell it had better CGI than Avatar.
Kelley on May 12, 2010
Wow, that review didn't seem bias at all. Someone walking into any movie and expecting Gladiator is going to be sadly disappointed.
Bryan on May 12, 2010
Like the review, the way the trailer come over it didn't do the film any justice at all, it was more and more Gladiator style in the way it came over. Glad though that the film Robin Hood stands out there on its own but according to the reviewer the storyline lets it down. " That's what put Me off".
Cineprog on May 13, 2010
It is a much more historically serious movie than you would expect. A few broad comic scenes are there to give a semblance of a "Robin Hood" movie but this film is really about feudal politics rather than a folk tale of a lovable rogue.
Zack on May 13, 2010
#11 said this movie looks so uninteresting to me, silly really. Silly? As opposed to what Victor; Transformers 2 or G.I Joe?
Anne on May 13, 2010
"Gladiator is one of my all-time favorites (and a nearly flawless film)" ....if there was ever a quote to abandon hope for this site.........
Voice of Reason on May 13, 2010
@ #16 avatar really sucked either way but i agree the cg was good but not for 2010.
sickdoghats on May 13, 2010
I went to see the R Hood fils last night. What a load of Tosh !. It had some reasonable battle scenes I have to accept, but the story was so poor and so corny I could have cried. When at the end Maid Marian who had miraculously ridden several hundred miles unknown to Robin to meet him turned up just as the final battle was about to kick off to fight alongside him I was nearly sick it was so bad. I went with a great fan of Mr Crowe and our party of four gave the film 1 out of 10 - Dont let me put you off though. Shame on you Mr Crowe for accepting this script. Shame on you Mr Scott - If you are going to rewrite a legend at least make a half decent job of it.
Fidelity on May 13, 2010
@ Alex: Why do we compare movies. Every movie is unique in it's own way. The story is different. @Linkfx: did we see the same Sherlock Holmes and Kick Ass because Mark Strong was good. @Chis C: Gladiator was epic.
Kevin on May 13, 2010
Gladiator is so over-rated, it was enjoyable and fairly well done (some of the cgi is appalling). I have seen most of Scott's movies, and the one that impressed me the most recently was "Black Hawk Down". I am not interested in seeing "Robin Hood" at all.
kitano0 on May 13, 2010
I love the trailers and news on this site, but *man* do you have different taste in movies than I do. Gladiator is historical fiction fluff with some ludicrous stuff thrown in. (Killing an emperor in the arena? Oh, brother.) I expected RH to be about the same caliber, if not better, but this review gives me little hope of that. Too bad.
Chris Rugen on May 13, 2010
"Although I wish we could've seen more of the story after that point (when he actually becomes Robin Hood and meddles with the Sheriff of Nottingham)" The sequel to Robin Hood (better known as The Adventures of Robin Hood) is so much better. They even replace one Australian with another.
Travis on May 13, 2010
Saw it Tuesday night at an advanced screening and I definitely liked it. I agree with Alex it is not as epic, but it was still a great time. I'm a fan of Ridley Scott and this movie did not change that. It's not a perfect movie by any means but I could give it as much as 4 out of 5 stars\thumbs\whatever. Good stuff.
jjboldt on May 13, 2010
I watched this last night and was bored almost throughout - and left feeling very depressed. Blanchett and von Sydow were the only people worth watching. Did anyone else pick up on Crowe's Irish accent?
Dexter on May 13, 2010
Just watched it yesterday. It's a quite boring movie and I'm not agree either with the comment about that the action scenes are good. I start to feel a bit scared with next Ridley Scott's project, Alien...
Dexter on May 13, 2010
I am checking this film out tomorrow and we'll see how I feel VS how you feel. I will try not use the word "muddled"...
waggz on May 13, 2010
The talented, and long rich Crowe and Scott wasting precious time on done-to-death pointless retreads like this ---WHILE the 60th Anniversary of the staggeringly, eerily relevant KOREAN WAR passes by, once again, 'mysteriously overlooked'? -----------huh?!
eber hart on May 14, 2010
casting couch on May 14, 2010
Apart from the fact that this is a BEAUTIFUL historical reprentation, there is no connection between our childhood romantic memories of Robin Hood and this film. The hero might have been called by any other name and would not have smelled as a rose. In a way this is cheating. If the film had a different name, for example - "The Birth of the Magna Carta" it would have been just the same only less media blabla and less audience and less money, of course. It is not clear at all why Robin Hood had to tell King Richard that he was bad bad for having massacred c.2300 Muslims in Acre and a description of the last moving (movie invented) words of the pious Muslim woman before her execution (that was enforced on Robin[King Richard`s accomplice ? ] ) blaming the Crusaders !!! those lines and that scene from this overloaded film could have been cut oss without ANY damage whatsoever, but Hollywood is cowtowing to Islam now, and more. Blaming the Crusaders indeed, that is pure Muslim point of view. The film is beautiful, the film is too long, the film is not about Robin Hood, the films robs the watcher of Romance, the film uses entertainment to indoctrinate certain socio-political ideas, and generally speaking, in a generation that hardly reads any more but watches films and videos this is another film going the way of disinformation and alteration of no longer copyrighted classical works.
Lily on Jun 26, 2010
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