Monday, May 17, 2010



Ridley Scott was clearly not paying attention in history class. The latest take on Robin Hood, directed by Scott and starring a very low-key Russell Crowe alongside the ice queen Cate Blanchet (does she ever smile?) and current villain of choice Mark Strong, has no basis in any kind of historical accuracy. In fact, it’s as if historical inaccuracy was Ridley Scott’s point for making the film, because he makes it again and again and again, and yet again . . .

To belabor the point: The continuity of the death of Richard the Lionheart is out of context; The French under King Phillip did not invade England; You can’t cross the English Channel in flat-bottomed skiffs loaded with horses and men and not capsize; Nobody, let alone the French, had D-Day style landing craft in the 12th century; Archers stayed on the high ground and picked off their enemies, they did not fire two volleys of arrows and then charge in to do hand to hand combat carrying their now useless bows and arrows with them (read Bernard Cromwell’s Agincourt for the real story of how this worked); Most archers had no idea how to use a sword or ride a horse into battle as they were mostly too poor to own swords or horses; Just because the Lost Boys from Peter Pan are living in Sherwood Forest does not mean they each have their own Shetland pony to ride; Russell Crowe is cool, but he isn’t cool enough to be in two places at once – he can’t be high on the cliffs directing archers one second and down on the beach leading the knights in a cavalry charge the next.

Okay, so I’m being picky, but I really wanted to like this film and my willing suspension of disbelief was snapped so often by glaring idiocies I couldn’t lose myself in the story.

Robin Hood is a mediocre film worth seeing on the big screen for the cinematography and the well shot, rousing, battle scenes, otherwise add it to your Netflix queue. Whatever you do don’t watch either the Errol Flynn version or the Disney version of Robin Hood first. Watch them afterward and see what Robin Hood is actually all about.


Editor Bill said...

Sorry to disagree with you, but Richard did die in France much as the film says (from what I can tell from the reviews.) A similar scene happens in the Sean Connery - Audrey Hepburn film, Robin and Marian. It sounds like this film has messed up the historical continuity of Richard's death,not the location or method. As for the rest of your comments, they all sound spot on. I was looking forward to this film, although the trailer didn't really make it look like the Robin Hood legend. Now after hearing reviews and interviews with Russell Crowe, I'm not planning on rushing out to see it.

bish8 said...

You're right, it is the continuity of the death that is messed up. I've corrected it above. Thx!

Max Allan Collins said...

Bish is being kind. This is a terrible movie, mediocre for a long while and then finally soul-crushingly awful in its final stupid battle scene.

Could we pass a law that the heroine cannot show up at the final battle scene in armor? Particularly if she doesn't know how to fight and still has to be saved by the male lead? Thank you.

bish8 said...

MAC is right, I was being kind. The rest of the movie was so stupid, I forgot about the totally stupid scene where Cate Blanchet turns up in armor (where did she get it exactly), channeling her role as Joan of Arc from another (much better)film, and makes an idiot of herself.

There is so much WRONG in this film it is virtually unwatchable by anyone with more than one brain cell.

Robin Hood Men in Tights was at least amusing in its idiocy. Here everything is played grimly straight -- and more's the pity.