I'm Billy Appleton, and I will be with you for the duration of the summer, checking in on all the newest releases and up to the minute buzz regarding Hollywood's latest batch of sunny vacation day offerings. Today, we check out the word on Ridley Scott's rickety Robin Hood, which kicks off the second weekend of summer. Starring Russell Crowe as Nottingham's favorite son, this arrow-slinging reboot of the iconic legend was meant to be a complete revisionist take on the myth, with the Sheriff becoming the good guy and Robin the villian. Though, as soon as Hollywood got its hands on Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris's original screenplay, they turned it over to Brian Helgeland and had him shake it into something more recognizably Hoodian in tone and feel.
Sure, Russell Crowe is a darker, deadlier backwoods thief, but if the incoming reviews are any indication, it seems all the eternal joy that should come attached to a film about Robin Hood has been sucked dry. Our Merry Men aren't stealing from the rich to give to the poor anymore. No, folks, they are stealing from the hard-working men and women across America who want nothing more than to be entertained on a Saturday night. Is this lofty venture worth your time and money? Does this Summer Movie indeed suck? Here's what our black pool Internet denizens have to say about Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (for the entire reviews, be sure to click on the links provided):
(While these first two sites had all-access junket coverage where they actually got to converse with the talent and lie about how much they liked the movie to their faces, they actually shat on the film the hardest, making us totally rethink where our money should go this weekend):
"Robin Hood is a soulless, empty, noisy dud, and in the future, when they hold a war crimes tribunal to prosecute all the studio heads of our era for the way they are shamelessly cannibalizing our culture without contributing anything new, Robin Hood will make a lovely bit of evidence for the prosecution. I'm not sure Robin Hood is a movie anyone needs to see, or that anyone would have any reason to anticipate. The thing that Gladiator gets right that Robin Hood misses completely is a sense of fun. Almost all of the film's problems start with the script. Even typing out the summary for the film bores me. I guarantee no one would know the name of Robin Hood today if this were the story that were originally told. It's a muddled bag of shifting motivations, murky political intrigue, and large-scale battles with no dramatic thrust at all. Because Robin Longstride has such a confused central purpose in the film, Crowe is absolutely adrift."
Chud's Devin Faraci:
"A giant cock tease of a movie. Robin is barely seen using his signature bow and arrow, and instead of King John's gold he's looking for the enfranchisement of the good people of England. This film isn't actually about anything; there's no forward plot momentum throughout and characters do things simply because they need a way to pass the time and get to the next scene. It's the same swords and mud bullshit Ridley Scott cranks out every second or third picture these days, but the returns have diminished so much as to border on unwatchable. It's weird watching the origin story of a character when that character is being played by a bloated guy in his late 40s. This film is the epitome of what's wrong with Hollywood's modern prequel mania. It's a movie that tells no story, that offers no new insight into the characters and that's all about putting everybody into the positions you'd rather have seen them at in the beginning."
"The film has been flippantly described by some as "Gladiator in tights," it's both more and less than that. While Robin Hood is not a superhero movie, in some ways it attempts to align itself with the same zeitgeist. It might not necessarily be the film some hoped for, nor the film it could have been."
The Hollywood Reporter's Krik Honeycutt:
"Strains to appeal to too many demographics. Helgeland's screenplay conjures up robust characters that often lack dimension. The film's hodgepodge approach suggests many rewrites to forge a new angle on Robin Hood plus a desire for the movie to play to many constituencies. Its European history is so ludicrously mangled that one almost suspects Mel Brooks and Monty Python's Flying Circus lent a hand."
indieWIRE's Todd McCarthy:
"Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is neither as good as the director's personal best period epic, Gladiator, nor a match for Hollywood's most memorable previous accounts of the beneficent bandit of Sherwood Forest. The villains here chart new territory in one-dimensionality; the essential storyline is bereft of surprise. A story cooked up by...the Kung Fu Panda team. The dramatic sobriety and historical consciousness with which the director approaches this new take is knee-capped by the sort of broad stroke villainy and motivational simplicity more suitable for a straightforward audience pleaser of yore. The very ending, a sort of cliffhanger followed by the title, "And so the legend begins," makes you want to see something other than the movie you've just seen."
Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells:
"It's an honorable stab at doing a very familiar thing a bit differently, and since when has that been a crime? No portions of Scott's film are acutely painful, and almost all of it is, I feel, good enough and often of a very high order."
Variety's Justin Chang:
"Serious-minded to a fault. Often seems devoted to stifling whatever pleasure audiences may have derived from the popular legend. They've...excised all the material's potentially campy aspects in favor of a downbeat, detail-oriented realist approach. Robin Hood comes to resemble a medieval Bourne movie as it darts hither and yon from Nottingham to the northern coast of France. Robin and Marion's courtship is in no hurry to catch fire. Something similar could be said of the film, whose leisurely buildup rarely translates into a sense of intellectual vigor and pays few emotional dividends. Essentially 139 minutes' worth of back-story, Robin Hood feels too long, yet incomplete."
"I was disappointed. It didn't even remotely reach the epic level that I was hoping for. This movie was well below my expectations. I wasn't captivated like I usually am in a Scott or Crowe film. Not one actor stood out amongst the crowd and if they did it was because they had more screen time. Overall, Robin Hood was a disappointment in my book."
Empire's Dan Jolin:
"Unlike its hero, Robin Hood is by no means flawless. While the plot skews older, the action, right up to the roaring, climactic Dover-beach clash, is notably bloodless...That old rating compromise. The accents, meanwhile, suffer from Hollywood Drift (Crowe's goes from Leeds to Sheffield via Edinburgh... Although anything's better than Kevin Costner's "Notting-ham" drawl). It's also worth noting that this is very much an 'origin story': by the time Robin and co. settle down in Sherwood to assume Sheriff-confounding duties, the credits roll."
"It can be disorienting at times. There is much to learn and grasp. There are many instances where you are trying to remember exactly who someone is or how a new subplot fits into the story. As for the choreography, (it) can be a bit repetitive."
"A movie that completely rips off Ridley Scott's two better films Kingdom Of Heaven and Gladiator. Robin Hood, while not a horrible movie, is a complete mess. The trailer to this movie COMPLETELY MISLEADS THE AUDIENCE! At two hours and ten minutes, you have maybe about twenty minutes of action, and an hour and fifty minutes of lame story, exposition, romance, and Russell Crowe talking like Maximus."
So there you have it folks. While Robin Hood offers enough Luke warm thrills to keep the masses dull and satiated, the general consensus is: It kind of sucks!