Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Maximus Decimus, Maximus Decimus, riding through the glen" - Movie Review of Robin Hood

It's a little like the "which James Bond?" or "which Doctor Who did you grow up with?" questions, (Connery and Troughton since you ask) and my default Robin Hood was always ITV's Richard Greene, a stiff upper lip outlaw, a Robin with a very British sense of fair play, I recall lots of tights and jerkins, fairly un-dastardly villains and, incongruously, the William Tell overture as theme tune. Most other Robins have left me, at best, neutral, Errol Flynn was far too pantomime, Disney's fox, don't get me started, Costner was usurped and upstaged both by Morgan Freeman as his sagacious blackamoor cohort and memorably by the excessively over the top Sheriff of Rickman.

Robin and Marion with Sean Connery also worked for me, I think I responded to the painful exposition of middle-aged reality hitting idealistic fantasy. I'm sure we all remember what it feels like to wake up in a forest, (no matter how splendid the revels of the preceding eve), unkempt, unwashed, stiff, a gritty, uncomfortable, grubby experience, no? oh, just me then?

So, Gladiator in tights. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe together to tell an epic historical(ish) tale. I really liked it, Yes it was redolent of Gladiator, humble lad, (chock full of integrity and honour), does good, effete scheming monarchy, venerable and noble father substitute, feisty female love interest, slow motion action and butchery, monochrome flashbacks and intermittent Enya.

However, Gladiator was a big film, visually, in scale and scope, this offering, whilst the action scenes are stunning, is on a more local scale, more embraceable, a scaled down saga for an imaginary England where Nottingham is little more than a couple of pigsties and taverns. (insert your own sarcastic jibe here). This movie delivers something that Gladiator didn't and couldn't, a little gentle humour, and that along with a faultless performance from Crowe (whose much decried accent seemed fine to me) makes it a real winner in my book (or blog). Cate Blanchett, was perfect as Marion despite being made to do a little silliness in the final battle, the villains, Mark Strong and Oscar Isaac were exceedingly evil but blessed with some delicious lines, as you'd hope. For those of you who use the Mrs Stuffy pillow-ometer as a guide to watchability you'll be delighted to hear that she remained snore-free throughout the movie.

Sorry Richard Greene, you're usurped, I have a new favourite Robin Hood, and I really do hope that they do get to make the planned sequel.

A medieval Haiku

Lambs become Lions
in England's Lincoln green and
pleasant, peasant land


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