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DVD Review: Robin Hood

September 21, 2010

Robin Hood – A Universal Pictures’ Release

http://robinhoodthemovie.com/

DVD Release Date: September 21st, 2010

Rated 14A for violence

Running time: 156 minutes (director’s cut)

Ridley Scott (dir.)

Brian Helgeland (screenplay)

Marc Streitenfeld (music)

Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride

Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley

Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley

William Hurt as William Marshal

Our reviews below:

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Robin Hood DVD Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

In England, at the turn of the 12th century, Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) leads an uprising against the French who are trying to take over England.  Along the way he gains the help of local villagers and starts to develop feelings for Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett).  The plot takes its time and is somewhat convoluted, but this is, as the tagline suggests, the untold story behind the legend.

Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood prequel certainly disappointed many, but it’s still a pretty good action film with a production and scope that is quite admirable, including some very good cinematography.  The only problem is that it’s simply too long at well over 2 hours, but because of this actually plays well on DVD.  Fans of historical epics who don’t mind inaccuracies will particularly enjoy this one.

The DVD includes both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.

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Robin Hood DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

The year is 1199.  In this prequel of previous Robin Hood stories, Robin Longstride finds himself running from the army returning from the crusades after King Richard has been killed in a plot from France to take over England.  When the convoy carrying his crown to return it to England is ambushed, Robin finds himself with a dying Sir Robert Loxley who asks him to take the crown to London and bring his sword back to his father.  This causes Robin to have to assume Sir Robert’s identity, ending up having to protect Nottingham – and the rest of England.  It’s here that he meets Lady Marion and the rest of those we know from other adaptations of the story.  It won’t do for an accurate history lesson, but if you take it for what it is, it’s not a bad film.

I watched the long version of this already long movie (extended cut at 2 hours, 36 minutes), and while it did seem like it could have been done with a shorter running length, I wasn’t really bored and didn’t mind watching it through.  I personally found the balance between action/talking was even enough to entertain.  It’s rated 14A in Canada for violence, although it’s not too bad, with maybe three instances of close-ups of blood in the action scenes.  Most of it is generally large-scale fight scenes where stuff is happening quite fast.  Still, if you don’t like those kinds of movies, you probably won’t find much enjoyment here.

Basically, it’s shot well with a good cast of actors, and because of that, I would say that Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood is worth checking out on DVD.

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Robin Hood DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Robin Hood, actually a prequel to the apocryphal stories often depicted in film, does not let historical accuracy get in the way of a good yarn. It supposedly depicts events in 1199 (“turn of the 12th century”–actually the 13th) beginning in France where King Richard’s army returning from the crusades is sacking French castles on the way back to England. One of his officers Godfrey (Mark Strong) is actually a spy for the king of France and when Richard is killed Godfrey tries to steal his crown on its way back to England.  Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) manages to get it first, and takes the sword from a dying Sir Robert Loxley with the promise of returning it to his father Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) in Nottingham after he delivers the crown to the new King John (Oscar Isaac). Loxley asks Robin to take his son’s identity and also his widow Marion (Cate Blanchett) in order to help defend their land against their enemies.  When Godfrey attempts to incite rebellion among the barons by oppressive taxes in order to soften England up for a French invasion, the new Loxley reveals Godfrey’s treachery to the barons in time to prepare for the coming invasion. The king in return is expected to sign the Magna Carta but instead denounces Robin as an outlaw to be hunted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, etc.

Robin Hood is well-directed by Ridley Scott, though rather long at over two hours.  Medieval lifestyle and combat are reasonably well represented, albeit with anachronisms that may be evident to some. Frequent scenes of plunder, siege and pitched battle are too busy and relatively bloodless to scare most people.  The script strikes a reasonably good balance between too pompous or too flippant, worthy of the good cast. Fans of the classic 1938 version (where the good Norman Richard lived to fight the bad Saxons) will find little in common with this story, though neither comes close to the rather complicated relations between parts of England and France at the time.

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Consensus: The production and cinematography of Ridley Scott’s prequel to the legend of Robin Hood is highly admirable and it is entertaining as an action film, but it ultimately runs a little too long at well over 2 hours. *** (Out of 4)

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