Unfortunately, we watched Robin Hood last night. Terrible. An awful decision. Two and a half hours of my life gone, never to return. At least we’ll never have to watch it again. But why? Why is it so bad.
There are a number of mitigating factors and I must stress, none of these are upheld by the main characters, both in front of and behind the camera. Ridley Scott has done his usual and Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchett (and others) have given their all in a film which is badly shot, very badly edited, has a horrendous musical score and an unimaginably slight story.
A word on the story. This could have been a lot more. It had plenty to deal with and by its very nature, the legend of Robin Hood is pure fantasy; chocolate-for-the-brain no matter how you absorb it. But the story in this movie is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that the screenwriters actually try to place it within a historical context… but then they change that context! History is re-written or attempted to and not in a good way. French troops never attempted a D-Day style landing, nor were they repelled by a “merry band of brothers.” It just didn’t happen. I’m all for switching off and swallowing whatever yarn you’d like to spin, but if you start trying to base it in a factual setting, I quickly lose interest.
The soundtrack is like something from a TV film. In fact, the whole film feels like an episode of a TV programme that’s been stretched from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours. It’s a long time and the flourishes and motifs used by the composer are so out of sync with the action and the intent of the scene’s, it’s actually impossible to take any thespian effort seriously. It’s pastiche and bad pastiche at that.
Finally, the editing, particularly in the battle scenes is truly terrible. There are moments where you expect Crowe to tie his shoelace before picking up his sword again. Coupled with the awful soundtrack, there is no rhythm or flow to the action.
Don’t be put off by the big names behind this movie. Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett et al. carry themselves, and carry themselves well. The northern accents are spot on and the chemistry between these characters is certainly there, though badly developed (at one point Robin Hood tells Lady Marion what he feels for her and all you can think is “he’s known her a wet WEEK”) and slow. Characters that are so important to what becomes the legend of Robin Hood are peripheral (Friar Tuck is a prime example). While the movie never claims to tell the story of Robin Hood, only how the legend began, one cannot help but feel that an opportunity to use these characters more has been missed.
All in all, while not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, it’s certainly way down the pecking order. I’m really glad we didn’t pay money to go see it in the cinema.