Jeannie, Seanie and I went to see Robin Hood last night. Seanie went back and forth on whether he wanted to go. He wasn't interested in the movie, not really, but the last couple of times I went out with Jeannie he showed up half-way through *anyway* so I saved him a step and dragged him along.
It was very, very long. Where's a judicious editor when you need one? I mean, I get that there needs to be a lot of back story when you're writing a prequel to the main body of Robin Hood legends, but man. The movie just kept trundling along, introducing new characters and conflicts instead of developing the ones already presented to the point where they'd be interesting.
Russell Crowes' Robin spent too much time navel-gazing and not nearly enough time robbing from the rich, stealing from the poor, and being a charming and cocky pain in King John's ass. He is Very Serious and Dark and Mysterious...which this whole movie tries to be. Marion (no longer called Maid since she's a widow in her forties) is sadder, wiser, and a lot more useful than previous incarnations of her character. Rather than sitting and sighing over Robin Hood she's actually helping manage her estates, sowing crops in her fields and riding out as a knight to join the fighting. (Actually, her big battle scene was a huge WTF??? moment, but hey, at that point anything to help the movie end faster is A-OK with me.) Robin Hood's possy of Merry Men barely make an appearance, which is too bad since all the humor seemed to be concentrated in their brief scenes.
There were at least four villains in the movie, and having so many led to very shallow characterizations. Villain #1 Prince John is a cash-starved whiner who ends up fighting with Robin against Villain #2, the King of France, and Villain #3 Sir Godfrey, who have teamed up to take over England. Robin's classic rival, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is reduced to such a tiny role that it hardly seems worth naming him as the fourth villain.
Man, I just wanted this to be fun. It's Robin Hood for crying out loud!
It did look good. I mean, the story was dark and gritty and depressing and the visuals matched perfectly. But when they best part of your movie is the cool rotoscope ending credits, you have got a serious problem.
PS - Is anyone else secretly delighted with the rumors that they had to digitally slim down Russell Crowe's bulk for this film?