Saw the new Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe Robin Hood over the weekend. It was OK. It was about what I expected it to be, so it matched my low expectations. I think it wanted to be a summer blockbuster, but after seeing Iron Man 2 last weekend, and Kick-Ass a couple weeks earlier, it just made this movie seem, well, less fun...
And it probably starts with the length. I knew going into it that it being two hours and twenty minutes was probably going to irritate me, and it did. There were kind of three stories going on at the same time throughout the film, and it made it bloated. They probably could have cut/shortened the Mark Strong French villain role. They already had a villain in the heavy-taxing King, and I suppose they didn't seem to do enough with him to make him a main villain, so they had to have two quasi-villains.
Also, this didn't even really seem like a Robin Hood film. If you simply changed the names of the characters and locations (but they can have the same actions), then removed the lone, two minute scene where he robs the rich for the poor, and also just the last three minutes of the film, this could have been a movie about anybody. It didn't have the feel of a Robin Hood movie. I think that may also have been because it had a Ridley Scott mentality. The kind of mentality that had Maid Marian and Friar Tuck in full suits of armor swinging battle swords by the end of the film. It was trying to be Gladiator, but Gladiator it was not.
But I can't say I hated it. Despite the length I was never really painfully squirming in my seat waiting for it to end. I thought the photography was really good, the whole movie was shot really well. It was adequate in its execution of the formula for these types of movies. And I thought the PG-13 was going to hurt it severely, but the violence still seemed like it was worthy of an R-Rating, so that worked out (people got arrows through the neck and cut with swords, but there just weren't any squirts of blood, I guess that's what separates the PG-13 violence from the R violence).
And it was definitely more well made than the Kevin Costner version! I watched that one again a couple weeks ago after not seeing it since I was a kid. It was waaaaaaaay worse than I remembered. It had the quality of a SyFy Channel made for TV movie in almost every aspect. That kind of disappointed me, because I remembered it being good for some reason when I was 7. Maybe it's because I was 7...
[Scott Roberts] "And it was definitely more well made than the Kevin Costner version! I watched that one again a couple weeks ago after not seeing it since I was a kid. It was waaaaaaaay worse than I remembered.... when I was 7"
Kid, I was 31 at the time, and I remember liking it too. It had some pieces that seemed goofy even at the time, but it was fun. Then. Because now, whew, does NOT hold up well at all.
re: the new one, I saw a review that said something along the lines of robbing the rich to make a poor movie. :-)
Outside the US, the thing is BANGING - took in nearly twice as much as Iron Man last week, around $111 million.
I think you're right about the length. My current theory is that EVERY movie is 20 minutes too long....
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I recall the Costner version had the advantage of a terrific Bryan Adams pop tune associated with it;
"Everything I do, I do it for you".
Costner really disappointed me with his version of The Postman; they threw away the best parts of the book when making the film. I didn't expect the book on film, but I had hoped the better set pieces and themes had been preserved.
It is hard to top the Errol Flynn version for great character acting and just all-around spectacle and action, perhaps what Ridley should have gone for was a middle ground between the Errol Flynn thing and the Gladiator thing. I get it that this new one was supposed to be more of an origin story, to set up some sequels. God, I hate when they do that on purpose. It assumes the sequels get made and that the whole series hangs together.
I didn't realize it was a straight-up origin story until I was actually done watching it. The final scene of the movie felt like it should have been the final scene of the first act.
I will not see this movie in the theater or likely not on DVD either. Knowing Robin Hood will be in heavy rotation on HBO or Showtime in approx. 1 year, I know I will see it.
The new Robin Hood is written by Brian Helgeland, who wrote Pelham 123 from Tony Scott (good or bad depending upon who you ask - some of the better Travolta work in a decade but that is not saying much). Helgeland has penned a number of big movies such as LA Confidential, Mystic River and of course Nightmare on Elm Street IV. He tells an interesting story about that. He was trying to get writing work in H-Wood, and obviously knew some people. He was given something like a weekend to write a script for Nightmare on Elm Street IV, which he did, and it was made and he was in. So he gets some good projects now and that is good news for those of us trying to be screenwriters.
Ridley Scott has a problem. It is called the "blank check syndrome." It is a common problem. A director makes one or more memorable films, and then is given authority to make whatever movies he wants with bankable stars and effects and horses and explosions and steadicams and armor and swords and guns and Morgan Freeman. In fact Morgan Freeman has the Costner Robin Hood to thank for proving that 80 year old men can be action movie stars!
Ridley Scott made Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator, and now gets to make anything he wants (ie, GI Jane, Kingdom of Heaven, Alien 3D Prequels (kingdom of heaven help us) - however he did have Black Hawk Down which was good).
Spielberg made Jaws, ET, Schindler's List and Private Ryan, and now gets to make whatever he wants (ie, War of the Worlds, AI, The Terminal, Munich, Indy IV, the Obi-Wan vs General Grevious duel (I kid you not)).
Unfortunately, relaunches of popular characters are hit or miss. Batman Begins was super successful and perhaps the best origins story ever, or maybe Spiderman I. Unfortunately they don't all work. But I suspect they are hoping for many sequels, so why blow the best bad guy in the first film? I say why not? They put Lex Luthor in the first Superman (Donner, not Singer) and that worked. H-wood is so hung up on franchises that they forget a movie should stand on its own.
[Mark Suszko] "It is hard to top the Errol Flynn version for great character acting and just all-around spectacle and action"
Wow, both sound and color!
My fave is the Douglas Fairbanks version. Silence is golden!
Post production is not an afterthought!
Gee, my favorite Robin Hood movie was Men In Tights. And, as Mel Brooks' movies go, it wasn't even that good. (Now the Hitchcock-inspired camera gags in High Anxiety -- THAT was Mel at his funniest.)
I'm with Mike on this one. I pay for HBO and Showtime so why would I pay now to see a movie I'll get to see as many times as I want for no additional cost 9 months from now?