Robin Hood (2010)
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

Russell Crowe, Kate Blanchett, William Hurt, Danny Huston, Max Von Sydow. Period adventure. Written by Brian Helgeland. Directed by Ridley Scott.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Robin and his not-so-merry band of marauders do their best to thwart the corrupt crown in this new tweaking of the legend of Sherwood Forest. Director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) seems to be constructing his adaptation by taking bits and pieces from several films that also dealt with the oppression of serfs by their badly behaving royalty (Braveheart, Camelot and The Lion in Winter). Along with many shots of dirty fingernails, he crams a lot of adventure and swordplay into its lengthy 2 hrs and 28 min.

PREVIEW REVIEW: For over twenty years now, makers of movies dealing with the Middle Ages have felt a compulsion to show it like it really was. Whimsical actioneers are now replaced by films that delight in taking bawdy behavior and turning it into vulgarity. So, while I suspect that today’s audience will prefer this gritty version of Sir Robin of Loxley to that of, say, the 1938 romanticized version with the dashing Errol Flynn, what they are really given is a gruesome and grimy take on the fairy tale.

It is a bawdy, rough and tough actioneer, with great-looking sets and horseflesh, but good luck with hearing anything the actors have to say. We’re given varying degrees of English dialect, but it’s difficult following the dialogue thanks to the lead’s mumbling diction. And the sound mixing is the worst I can remember. Was that the fault of the theater the screening was played in? Possibly, but more likely, the conversations were muted by the raucous sound effects and the anything-but-melodious score.

Though it’s by no means a bad movie, I detested it. I understand younger male viewers will enjoy the carnage, but I miss the swashbuckling spectacle of the Errol Flynn film. Everything that made that vintage version a rousing treat for kids and adults alike is missing here – the vivid color, the electrifying music, and the eye-popping dueling sequences. (Want to see a cool sword fight? Watch Flynn battle it out with bad guy Basil Rathbone.)

DVD Alternative: The Adventures of Robin Hood. No, it wasn’t much on historical facts (in reality, Richard the Lionhearted wasn’t so lionhearted), but that early version with Errol Flynn had style. Ridley Scott’s just has attitude.

Although Mr. Crowe is a fine actor, Errol Flynn was Robin Hood. Flynn personified the word swashbuckler. Unsurpassed, the 1938 version is an impressive spectacle with polished dialogue, exciting sword-play, colorful sets and costumes, and one of the best musical scores of all time. The royal entrance into Sherwood Forest where Robin swings from one tree to another proclaiming, “Welcome to Sherwood, my lady"–now that's movies! Old, yes. But if you haven’t seen it, it’ll be new to you.

For information about Phil Boatwright, go to moviereporter.com.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: A few crude sexual remarks.
Obscene Language: I caught none
Profanity: Christ’s name is misused three or four times
Violence: Overloaded with battle sequences, with shots of people hit in the neck with an arrow, or a spear in the gut, or a sword through the…well, you get the idea. There’s even an explosion in one scene. Couldn’t have an actioneer without something blowing up, now could we? Though not quite R-rated carnage, still the battles are violent and numerous; a marauding soldier attempts to rape Maid Marion, but she stabs him in the neck and kicks his dying body off her. Blood: Some blood
Sexual Intercourse: One sexual situation with bare backside nudity.
Nudity: Male backside nudity.
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: One crude sexual discussion.
Drug Abuse: Lots of ale is consumed by partying warriors.
Other: None
Running Time: 148 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

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