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Robin Hood – Movie Review

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Robin Hood – Movie Review

Rating: D (Very Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films

The story of Robin Hood, with its outlaw stealing from the rich to aide the poor, is one that has understandably been adapted to screen many times. This new take on the archer comes only eight years after the previous big-budget Hollywood portrayal, but it disappointingly falls rather short of leaving a memorable impression. Robin Hood attempts to continue the themes common in tellings of the legend, while also adding a more modern spin. With frenetically edited and filmed action scenes and a Robin lacking much in personality, this becomes a dull adaptation with little of the charm seen in the iconic Michael Curtiz film and even the all-animal animated Disney version.

Taron Egerton is a solid choice to play Robin of Loxley, but the direction gives him little to work with. The sort of charisma required for this role is non-existent, which is odd as Egerton has more than proven he can switch on the charm. The only moment when he comes alive is during a rousing speech. The few romantic scenes with Maid Marian, played by Eve Hewson, don’t register and there isn’t the spark expected of this centuries-old couple. Instead, she is paired with Will Scarlet through most of the film, who is portrayed as an angry politician for some reason. The directions taken with his character are particularly baffling. There is an attempt to turn Friar Tuck into a comic relief, but Tim Minchin joins the other actors in being given underwhelming material.

The best parts of most Robin Hood movies tend to be the villain, as actors relish going over-the-top as either Prince John or the Sheriff of Nottingham. Prince John doesn’t appear in this film, but Ben Mendelsohn does chew the scenery as the Sheriff and livens the proceedings up a little bit. The film attempts a bit of political commentary by drawing parallels between the Sheriff and the American President’s current rhetoric. It’s a noble effort, but it only appears in short spurts. There is also a passing nod to Occupy Wall Street. The movie rushes through its plot points with little time to catch our breath.

First-time feature director Otto Bathurst gives the action scenes his all, but they are cut together in a bothersome style with multiple close-ups. The editing is chaotic and it makes the action hard to watch. It’s difficult not to compare Robin Hood to the works of Guy Ritchie, especially as the film also employs slow-motion and a narration from Friar Tuck. Much like Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, the film is mostly an origin story with grand ambitions as it ends with a clear sequel hook, promising further altercations with the Sheriff. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to continue the adventures of your titular character, but these sorts of final shots just feel like they’re getting a bit ahead of themselves. The decision to make more Robin Hood films is one left up to the ticket-buying public, rather than the filmmakers.

Robin Hood is a great character and it’s a shame this iteration doesn’t quite hit the bulls-eye. The ingredients are there for a rollicking good time, but the film as a whole feels like a combination of a bunch of recent action films with the Robin Hood name slapped on it for added value. The final result ends up being a disappointingly dull and unevenly paced experience. It’s not hard to make a good Robin Hood movie as there is an instant appeal with the character, but somehow, this film found a way. However, there’s always the next time Hollywood decides to see if people are still interested in going to Sherwood Forest.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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