Robin Hood review!

And now, my entirely fangirly, irrational picoreview of Robin Hood: THAT. WAS. AWESOME!

*pauses to wave tiny!fists of glee, particularly over Robin and Marion, and ALSO over Alan! Doyle! Movie! Star! and his Action Lute!*

Ahem. Now let’s try this again, only a bit more coherently, shall we? (Please, dear husband, won’t you share my spoilers?)

If you’re not me, which is to say, not a raving fangirl of Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett and especially Alan Doyle, you probably won’t squee over this nearly as hard as I did. userinfomamishka pretty much nailed it for me when she said that this movie is no Gladiator, and it isn’t great–but on the other hand, it is solidly enjoyable.

If you’re a Robin Hood fan in particular, there’s very little here that’s actually Robin-Hood-ish; all the big familiar names are in play here, but as this is an origin story, you’re not going to get much that’s traditionally part of Robin Hood tales. Russell will probably strike hardcore Robin Hood buffs as inadequately English, but this version of Robin is not a nobleman; it’s his old familiar “Royal Shakespeare Academy, two pints after lunch” accent from Gladiator, only with a touch of a brogue, and it worked for me. But I acknowledge, I’m addressing this with my Russell fangirl hat on, and yeah, fine, I can listen to that man read the back of a cereal box, so there you go. 😉

If you’re a history geek, you will probably know more than I did about whether the events portrayed on screen have any semblance to actual history–although, casting a glance over King John’s page on Wikipedia suggests the movie isn’t entirely bullshit in this regard, which is nice. But hey, Wikipedia; take that with the obligatory grain of salt. History geeks out there who’ve seen this, I’d be interested in knowing if the movie did right by what it portrays!

There are some groanworthy moments: lines like “we are Men of the Hood, now merry at your expense”, and “the more the merrier” were over the top. WE GET IT, Ridley, these are the future Merry Men of Sherwood Forest! It’s okay, use a few different adjectives plzkthx. We won’t mind! Also, a couple of the bowshots had Sam Raimi written all over them, especially the final one that takes out the bad guy. Which is fine if you’re a Raimi fan, but I’m just sayin’, kinda cheesy. Go in expecting that.

Now let’s get back to the fangirling. 😉

ALAN DOYLE. Great Big Sea fans, take heart: our Alan acquitted himself splendidly in this movie. He had significant screen time, both as one of the three main Merry-Men-to-be and as his own delightful singer self. At least three times we get to see him whip out his lute and start singing, and a couple of times when he’s doing that in the background, he is totally cutting loose like he does on stage at a GBS show and it’s beautiful.

He gets in some lovely shooting, too. It’s still deeply, deeply weird to me to see Alan with his hair pulled back and wearing a beard–and his accent stood out way more strongly for me here than it normally does, possibly because I’m of course used to hearing him interact with Sean and Bob of GBS, and of course they also have Newfoundland accents. But ACTION LUTE! I will be deeply, deeply disappointed if he’s not on the soundtrack, but I’m pretty sure he’s not. Sniff. Oh well, darn, guess that means I’ll just have to watch the eventual DVD more. (Like I wasn’t going to do that anyway?) Also? Blue homespun is a really tasty look on him.

CATE BLANCHETT. <3 She kicks ass right out of the gate, and I gotta say, ho-ly CRAP her chemistry with Russell just crackles. She and he have regrettably little screen time together, but what scenes they do have… whuff. WHY HAVE THEY NOT MADE A MOVIE TOGETHER BEFORE? And when will they do it again, that’s what I wanna know. Because wow.

My only beef with any of her portrayal at all is that, once she pulls an Eowyn and shows up in the final big battle with her ragtag band of fighters, she doesn’t actually get to kill Godfrey herself or even really seriously damage him. Yeah yeah yeah Robin needs to kill him ’cause Robin’s the hero and all but it would have been nicer if she’d really gotten in some serious blows first and, y’know, helped him kill the guy who killed her father.

Also, take note of “pulling an Eowyn”, because several of us in my group tonight kept totally flashing back to Lord of the Rings. I swear to gods I kept expecting the warg riders to come pouring over the green, green hilltops of Nottingham. This is not necessarily a bad thing, mostly because to this day I still maintain that Russell would have been an awesome Boromir, but it was nonetheless kind of distracting to keep flashing over to better movies–

Except for the scene where Shirtless Russell was involved. I didn’t have ANY distraction problems then at all. 😉 For a dude in his mid-forties, yeah, Russell’s still looking suitably buff. Yum.

Which of course brings me around to Russell himself. This is not going to go down in my fangirly history as Best Russell Movie Ever–Master and Commander still has it beat by a nautical mile, and Jack Aubrey is IMO far more suited to Russell’s considerable talents than Robin Longstride is. But that said, Russell’s been in movies that were considerably worse (Breaking Up and Rough Magic, I am LOOKING AT YOU). And as userinfomamishka said, this was still solidly enjoyable. I absolutely foresee myself rewatching this repeatedly, and Russell goes a long way to making it so. He doesn’t honestly stretch himself much here, but see previous commentary re: crackling chemistry with Cate; there are also quieter, touching scenes with Max von Sydow and more than one moment where he’s trying very hard to look as casual as possible while his character is very clearly very, very nervous. He’s also got multiple great moments with Will Scarlet and Allan a’Dayle and Little John, and his line “these are my men-at-arms. This is about as courtly as they get” is so far hands down my favorite.

In conclusion, it should surprise absolutely none of you that I will be seeing this again!

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