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Robin Hood

Submitted by admin on May 15, 2010 – 11:42 pmOne Comment
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Robin Hood makes for a good time at the movies. Only don’t confuse this historical actioner with any of the other big films opening this month. Robin Hood set in the year 1199, involving and drawn out, actually begs for an intelligent audience.

There are hints of the Magna Carta, and the Crusades (not to mention a parallel with director Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven), as well as a sub-plot where Picts, Celtic forest people, steal grain that would provide a years crops, which sets up a whole economic schematic wherein political intrigue with France and England leads to war. In such times self made men like Russell Crowe’s character of Robin Longstride become natural born leaders. I liked the way Robin Hood goes to great lengths to establish its pedigree and its fonts. There’s the kind of historical accuracy in this film as has never been seen in pre-war classics like the Michael Curtiz Robin Hood from the late 30s or even the Kevin Reynolds version from approximately a generation ago. I’d like to think this film spawns a couple of sequels since all it does is really establish the back-story of this protector of the oppressed.

At the end of Robin Hood, itself an origins story if nothing else, we’ve been introduced to Robin’s hood, and so to speak, his hanging buddies, Friar Tuck and Little John among others, so it just seems ripe to continue where the film leaves off. The Sheriff of Nottingham is a minor character while Mark Strong as double agent Godfrey serves as the chief foil to Crowe’s good intentions.

Flashback to the director, Scott, and his work with Crowe that include the hits as well as soften minor variations of a cinematic theme (A Good Year, Body of Lies, Glad He Ate Her) and the beginning titles of his company Scott Free, an animated logo thing, is replicated in the closing credits with the animated above-the-line credits that always roll before the tech credits. It’s a film onto itself with the color flashes and animated frames of a bird flying from one dimension to another. Universal needs to align themselves with Scott like other studios (Cameron with Fox, Lucas with Fox, Spielberg with DreamWorks and whomever) become allies with name directors. His logo sequence brackets this film and yet calls attention to itself as a self-important entity.

The film itself excels in every department. Particularly apt are the production design and music departments. Anytime you have a film that features a bow you need to concentrate on the sound of the arrow being released from said bow. Those air winging sounds are accentuated here plus the music score makes strides to be different even while incorporating instruments of the era.

Crowe always makes for an interesting character study and his fatherlove as seen in a flashback puts Tim Burton efforts (think Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to shame. Cate Blanchett is archetypal as Maid Marian while William Hurt display perhaps the best accent and has a hairpiece that is positively Anthony Quale.

All said and done Robin Hood (2010) should not be ignored. If there are any current political allegories to be made they should be made by others. This film represents all people at all times.

­- Michael Bergeron

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