Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Robin Hood" (2010) - Movie Review

Does not Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott not aware that they are making a film which have no purpose to be told? May be they did and went through it anyway. In the business of film making, there will always be situations where things need to be done against one’s wishes. This is for Crowe and Scott. Not that they show their despise in their execution or performance rather the story itself does not have any kind of life to it. It is supposed to tell the origins of this beloved folklore character and the legend has not lived with great glory in many of the films which beckons the need for the genesis. Hence the film becomes unnecessary.

Robin Hood before becoming the man the stories were formed, was a warrior with best skills in archery in the army of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). His real name is Robin Longstride as the film says and him with his buddies flees the war when he realizes that he has gone through enough with this crusade in the name of god. There will be plans of France invading the English and there will be traitors and Robin will be hunted and all that stuff.

The man is known for his characteristic of robbing which is a bad deed and distributing it to the poor. Such a fruitful territory to explore the reasoning he gives himself to do this and we never get to see that. True that the predecessor films would have explored those but this is where he got the idea from. There is one robbery in this film which happens out of necessity. After that when the film ends with him being outlaw, he automatically becomes this noble thief without any further explanation. He is a man seen wasted wars but the destitute in the society is a far reach until he sees it close enough and realizes the need to arise. Here he provides one speech on the notion of faint memory and his father’s word when he was a kid to become the sole flag bearer of rebel.

Russell Crowe is old but determined to work for this character. We like Robin only because he is Russell Crowe. The charm and charisma we have is for the actor rather than the protagonist. The film does no justification in portraying him for what he becomes. It is definitely magnificent to see Crowe dawning up the armour and the whole nine yards again for Ridley Scott. He can be the good man with rough heart just by those but it withers away after few minutes. The rest relies on the story and screenplay which is penned here by Brian Helgeland. Helgeland known for his writing skills does not come out shining.

Watching it I never felt the urge to know about Robin and the other characters surrounding him. He wanders with no goal and the goal he is given by a dying man is a plot request. He has to follow it to see Cate Blanchett as the widow Marion of that dying man. Cate Blanchett being who she is should not like this smelly man from the long journey. There is though an old father-in-law (Max von Sydow) after hearing the name of Robin identifies it from long time back to provide the history for the man. He asks Robin to be “upgrade” for his died son and bonus prize, marry Marion. You cannot say no to marrying Cate Blanchett and you never ever say no to a blind old man. Robin obliges.

I am not even going to bother explaining Robin’s clan and the vicious plans of Mark Strong as the bilingual Godfrey. Nor am I going to spend time on the young, arrogant and stupid son of Richard Lionheart, Prince John (Oscar Isaac). William Hurt, another capable actor spits out shouting dialogues through his beard and realizes there are no audience. Many other becomes fallen soldiers to this predictable show from a great director.

“Robin Hood” could have simply be an entertainer. It could have skinned out the miniscule need to be obligatory for detailing out the origins of this legend and gone with the usual stuff of arrow, graphics and pure war. But I guess it would have got slammed by me for the same reasons which brings back to the point I mentioned earlier of the need to make a film about this. “Robin Hood” is so out of energy and so out of passion.

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