Robin Hood: Prince of Accents
For someone who may not have even existed Robin Hood has remained a popular subject for Hollywood and with the success of Gladiator behind them surely Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe should nail it? Not quite. It’s a shame really as the premise they use is rather good but as we all know the story and the script are very different things, so whilst the story is actually not bad the script seems to have had far too many cooks resulting in a bit of cinematic mess, not helped by Mr Crowe who seems a bit confused as to what part of England Robin comes from. Why he didn’t just stick with his Jack Aubrey or Maximus is a mystery.
Historically it’s not too far off the mark, often Richard I is shown returning to England but here he dies in France after being stuck by a crossbow bolt so in one sense it was off to a good start and the fictitious Robin is portrayed as a rather more ambiguous character than the traditional ‘rob from the rich to give to the poor’ archetype. What’s apparent almost straight away is that they filmed a significantly longer movie which they then hoped to edit into a something the multiplexes would be happy with…however far to much was lost in the cut. A good example is the Sherriff of Nottingham who is nothing more than a shabby cameo, however it’s obvious that originally Matthew MacFadyen had a much bigger role which thanks to some over zealous editing ended up not making a sense at all. You can all see the joins where successive script writers, there had to be more that those credited, tried to bolt each others sections together making a part Gladiator, part Lord of the Rings, part Knights Tale chimera that hints at what a great movie it could have been had the term ‘production hell’ not been muttered.
The charisma Crowe has shown in other outings was missing too and Robin comes across as miserable so and so, but then maybe being on the crusades for ten years would make someone slightly grouchy, in essence though I think the Antipodean was just wrong for the part; Sean Bean kept springing to mind and he’d have not struggled with the accent.