Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Robin Hood (2010)
Unfortunately, no amount of skilled actors can save a dreadfully written script. It doesn't help, either, when the director manages to have all of the humor fall flat or run counter to the mood of the scene. I cannot say that I have ever seen a professionally done project that was as unfriendly to the humor it tried to impose on scenes. More than anything I feel bad the actors involved, but there had to be some sense on-set that the jokes were not working. And while some humor can be saved in editing, it cannot be created there.
Crowe's Robin Hood is one who is the descendant of a laborer who preached equality. Fantastic. So, much like Mel Gibson's Braveheart (1995), the is some intense desire to interject the notion of democratic reform into British history a few centuries too early. Yes, there is the idea of standing up to tyranny and that egalitarianism being laudable, but not to the degree of not honoring the hierarchical structure of society. Simply wanting the British to have been more Athenian isn't reason enough to fuck up the history and legends of the island.
King John – who actually wasn't a horrible monarch until he was forced into granting rights to the English barons – is once again trotted out as some kind of sniveling incompetent. Oscar Isaac is no Nigel Terry (and certainly no Peter Ustinov) when it comes to making Prince John both a character and a caricature. But John isn't a bad guy until he needs to become one to set the fable into motion, and by that point the movie is over. At least he is still allowed to romp around with his father's former lover (his mother watches in this version).
While not so bad as to be unwatchable, I certainly wouldn't recommend that anyone clear the two hours needed to get through this film. It is an effort. And it doesn't allow the actors to do much in terms of connecting with the audience or each other. Why this was made, I'm not sure. Maybe Scott thought that the movies from the 1990s were to dated, but this one already feels old.