Whilst there was enough to fault with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (namely Kevin Cosner), at least it was an enjoyable adventure throughout. Ridley Scott’s version is uneven; whilst entertaining in parts, the film is not without its holes.
More of a prequel to the familiar story, Robin Hood focuses on the title characters journey home from the Crusades and to becoming the man of legend. Scott’s film departs from previous cinematic incarnations, by having this Robin assume the identity of Robert Loxley.
One of the main problems with Robin Hood is the fact that is tries to cram in too many disparate historical elements into the narrative. As well as the aftermath of the Crusades, there is the over-taxing of the peasants, the succession of King John, an invasion attempt by France, and even what appears to be the founding of the Magna Carter. All of which, quite implausibly, Robin has a part to play in…
Russell Crowe gives a performance of some bravado, as expected. His accent at time drifts from Geordie to Irish however, which becomes distracting. Cate Blanchett is solid as Maid Marion, slightly older and with more pluck than some depictions of the character.
The film is also let down by the dialogue. It flits from overblown to corny, descending to awful pun at its lowest point. The battle scenes nonetheless are fantastic, with Ridley Scott proving he excels in directing these epic action sequences. The art direction works well also, providing a muted palette to accompany the grim depiction of the fable.
Given the calibre of talent involved in this production, the end result is disappointing. Whilst Robin Hood aims for a more gritty portrayal than previous efforts, it is let down by historical inaccuracies and bad pacing, as well as the aforementioned issues. As a prequel to the Robin Hood legend it suffices, but for a more definitive version you are better off looking elsewhere. Even Disney’s 1973 animated version would be a better bet.