In which our hero elects to watch a big budget action adventure movie and barely survives to tell the tale.
Tonight I sat down to watch the Russel Crowe version of Robin Hood (I know I’m late to the game), I loaded the DVD into the player and was taken by the beautiful DVD intro graphics and music. In a rare moment, my wife and I actually watch the entire cycle of the graphics rather than just hitting play. It’s a good thing we did, because this little one minute animation cycle is by far the best part of the movie. Ironically, I said as I was clicking play “Wow, that was really cool, guess the movie is going to suck.” I said it in jest, knowing nothing about the movie except that hid had the title Robin Hood and starred Russell Crowe.
I am nearly certain that this movie was not intended to be a Robin Hood movie. Someone, somewhere, wrote a Braveheart (or perhaps a Gladiator, considering Crowe’s involvement) script. Then someone else said, “This is really quite nice, but do all these names have to be so damn hard to pronounce? Can’t we just use something familiar?” The writer, in full sarcasm mode, responds – “Sure we can just call it Robin Hood and His Merry Men.” At which point baby Jesus cried, an angel lost its wings, and a ball started rolling. Fourteen rewrites later they were left with the steaming pile of dog shit I just sat through.
The movie had a number of things in its favor: big name producers, good cast, apparently huge budget, excellent costumes and even nice cinematography. Sadly and most notably missing from that list is good writing. In fact, with all those things going for you a movie could earn a pass with only decent writing. Robin Hood does not earn a pass. I don’t know where to even begin. Perhaps with the orphans that only get a 13 second intro at the beginning of the movie; however later play a pivotal role in the climax of the film? They have no character arc, no names, they don’t even get fucking costumes, but they get to save the day. Are these the worlds first examples of Chekov’s Orphans? Or maybe I’m more irate with the noble archer, so honest that he willingly tells a king he is godless and accepts the punishment it brings, but then spends the rest of the movie lying and pretending to be someone else? Let’s not forget that in a movie called Robin Hood, classically known as a thief and archer, we actually spend our entire time following a man who does almost no stealing and most of his killing with a sword.
At one point, while staving off a French invasion, nearly single-handedly, Russel Crowe disappears between two boats. The boats part and he’s gone. Time slows, dramatic music rises, and Russel Crowe emerges from beneath the waves ready to do battle once more. Now let me ask you, why is this the heroic shot? By my count the man has already slain 537 men with his bare hands in any number of improbable ways, and yet the truly important moment the film makers needed me to bare witness to is a man holding his breath? Perhaps I should have held mine, until the stink of this movie had faded.