“Robin Hood” is merry entertainment

0 Submitted by on Fri, 14 May 2010, 08:21
Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett star in "Robin Hood." Photo courtesy of Universal

Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett star in "Robin Hood." Photo courtesy of Universal

By Sandra Kraisirideja

Comic book superheroes aren’t the only fictional characters who need a reboot now and then.

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe put their spin on the Robin Hood mythology in their latest collaboration, “Robin Hood.” The film marks their fifth together and proves the relationship still works. “Robin Hood” is a solid action-adventure spectacle worthy of comparison to their other films in regards to quality, scope and presentation.

The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong and Danny Huston.

The story of Robin Hood has been translated to either film or TV in every decade since the 1900s. Errol Flynn, who starred in “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” wearing green tights and a jaunty little hat with feather may be the most iconic Robin Hood on the silver screen. In the ’90s Robin Hood had a bit of a renaissance with the success of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” starring Kevin Costner and a fabulously wicked Alan Rickman. Even Sean Connery had a cameo as King Richard in the final scene. Mel Brooks spoofed the 1938 and 1991 films in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”

Scott’s “Robin Hood” marks a return to a more serious interpretation of the legend although the movie has plenty of light, humorous moments. Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential”) wrote the screenplay which focuses on Robin Hood’s evolution from ordinary soldier in King Richard’s army to the man who robbed from the rich to give to the poor.

Like many fictional stories that use historical figures and events as a backdrop, “Robin Hood” often feels like an accurate account of his life but of course there is much debate as to whether Robin Hood existed at all.

Helgeland’s choice to tell the story of Robin Hood before he became a legendary thief was a wise one. It gives the mythology new life and gives a fresh perspective to the story and characters.

Innovative filmmaking also helps give “Robin Hood” a more modern feel. In keeping with the time period when the story takes place, Scott doesn’t go overboard with the special effects. All the battle sequences involve arrows, swords and horses. Scott found a way to throw in an explosion, albeit in the style of the 13th century. It’s interesting to see how men fought before guns were invented.

“Robin Hood” fits Scott and Crowe’s strengths as director and performer respectively. Scott understands what is needed to make an action-adventure story compelling visually and Crowe just looks so natural on a horse and in any kind of battle sequence.

Here’s hoping “Robin Hood” draws considerable audience attention as it is worth seeing and is a nice change from the other big summer movies this year.

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