Movie Review: Robin Hood sheds historic baggage

Michael Phillips
Staff Writer

We have all heard the classic childhood story of Robin Hood.

He is noble man from 12th century England who wore bright tights, had a bow and arrow and a love for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

Last week, director Ridley Scott’s version of “Robin Hood” opened worldwide, however the Robin Hood we know from our childhood is not the one portrayed in Scott’s version.

This version of “Robin Hood,” although it may have similarities to the other 30 film versions of the story, acts as a prequel to the legend of Robin Hood.

In the film, his story begins in 12th century England, just after the Crusades.

Robin Hood, portrayed by Russell Crowe, is an archer in the war who is trying to make his way home when a series of events change his life.

Scott tries to revamp a story that has been told more than a hundred times, but instead of playing close to historical accuracy, or the path of a hero, Scott humanizes the Robin Hood persona.

Unlike other portrayals of Robin Hood, this version does not showcase Robin Hood as a supreme hero who is selfless and noble, but as an average man with flaws who works hard to become a hero.

What has been removed however is the infamous mystery and the intrigue of Robin Hood.

Scott tries to explain why Robin Hood became who he was, a question that did not need to be answered.

Scott strips the Robin Hood legend down and humanizes it, so to retell the story.

The film feels very serious and the tone and visuals leave very little room for the whimsical Robin Hood of the past.

The film makes a strong effort to be epic and uses its $237 million budget to aid its attempt.

Visually the movie is amazing because it is a strong recreation of 12th century England.

The war scenes are similar to other films of this genre using slow motion, sideways camera angles and the deaths of multiple movie extras.

The fighting scenes are intriguing, with the flinging of arrows, clanging of swords and stampedes of horses.

Scott’s version is successful at making the Crusade believable, as well as the atmosphere of the time period.

Crowe stepped into the role of Robin Hood who has been portrayed by actors like Kevin Costner, Errol Flynn and Sean Connery.

Crowe, known for his roles in the films “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Cinderella Man,” did a great job portraying Robin Hood.

Even though at times his fluctuating accent made me question whether we were in Ireland or England, Crowe owned the role.

Crowe’s Robin Hood is darker than most, and is portrayed as having internal conflicts and baggage that really was not needed to make the film successful.

By the end of the film, I knew more about Robin Hood than I ever wanted or needed to know, but what I missed were the heroics that established him as a hero.

Scott’s attempt at creating an origin film as little more than a prequel that tries to explain the back story of a legend.

The story is told well, incorporating suspense, action, history and romance in one film.

Although it was a good movie, I would not say it was epic.

What I applaud is Scott’s attempt at changing the face of a story told a thousand times over, but I smell the possibility of a sequel.

If you enjoy history or war films, this is probably a must-see film for you.

If you are not into the history aspect, the film is not swamped with historical tidbits and adds enough action to keep you entertained.

Michael Phillips can be reached at

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