The Hippo


Jan 21, 2020








Dork vs. Dork: Robin Hood
*SPOILER* Russell Crowe is a Replicant *END SPOILER*


As it is an even-numbered year, Hollywood is set to trot out its latest “hooray for works in the public domain” Robin Hood rehash. But hark! What is this?!? A Ridley Scott joint? I was ready to flush my already low expectations of a grimdark Robin Hood embodied by barroom pugilist Russell Crowe until literally three days ago when I saw Scott’s name on the back of the director’s chair.

There is something worth seeing here, guaranteed. Scott has yet to disappoint with even his most ho-hum affairs (I’m talkin’ to you, Kingdom of Heaven), so even the well-trodden paths of Sherwood forest should be wrung of their last vestiges of interest.

I don’t wish to be accused of ladling on the faint praise here; I genuinely believe that this Robin Hood has the right ingredients. Lesser men and lesser casts have made competent, enjoyable Robin Hood yarns (like the BBC Robin Hood series and even the non-Costner elements of Prince of Thieves), a fact which speaks to the strength of the legend. Scott is a phenomenal director and Crowe and Blanchett are both compelling actors in their own rights. This adaptation, penned by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of L.A. Confidential, isn’t likely to spin your head with newfound insight into the character, but it should deliver a mature adventure romp. Plus, this is a perfect opportunity to go to the Ren Faire without going to the Ren Faire. VERILY ’TIS A WIN FOR THINE ALL!

DAN Responds
I’m glad you mentioned Cate Blanchett as Ripley... er, I mean Maid Marian. Just another case of Scott pulling out a stock female character and tossing on some period costumes before sending her out to face guys/monsters with swords/claws/guns. Scott’s career is like a Mad Libs game.
And L.A. Confidential? Come on. Not even the Oscar committee understood that movie. If I want made-up “street” clatter spewing over my shootouts (which I don’t, by the way), certainly Robin’s Merry Men in 12th-Century Sherwood Forest will not be the time or place. Time to don your pawn suit and play some living chess, my friend. At least that way, the end will come in less than 140 minutes.

Don’t you worry, have no fear, Robin Hood will soon be here!
That’s the best line of the best Robin Hood depiction on film, 1949’s Rabbit Hood starring Bugs Bunny. It’s been all downhill from there, and don’t think Ridley Scott has anything more going for him than Kevin Costner did, or even Mel Brooks. Russell Crowe himself said the best Robin Hood on film was Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
Is there a story, historical or otherwise, that Scott has not sucked the life out of? Name one film of his where you left the theater not wanting to kill yourself out of guilt (1492: Conquest of Paradise), depression (Black Hawk Down) or just plain old anger (G.I. Jane). No amount of high-flying pizzazz and swashbuckling swordplay, like that of Errol Flynn in the ridiculous The Adventures of Robin Hood, will survive the Scott version. No, no, remember it’s the most serious ACTOR in, um, Australia. Crowe’s Robin Hood will be all mumbles and virtuous do-gooder.
Gladiator in Sherwood Forest.
And like usual, Scott doesn’t give a Friar Tuck about any of the actual mythology. In this version, Robin Hood, an Earl, has just returned from the Third Crusade when he discovers that the Sheriff of Nottingham is, what, corrupt? Really? Nothing says righteous like Robin Hood kickin’ it in the Holy Land. Fine, Scott can make up whatever he wants, but isn’t the whole point of the Robin Hood myth that he’s a commoner?
This is a script that has already gone through four writers — in the original, the Sheriff of Nottingham was the main character, and Robin was the bad guy. Now, I’d go see that.
Protect your sterling, or this Robin Hood will clean you out.

GLENN Responds
Dan, I’m sorry that today’s Robin Hood can’t be as nostalgia-hazed awesome as the 1949 cartoons you were watching during high school, but times have changed. Scott is one of the best living directors and he has shown his capability in pulling off the seemingly impossible: making Crowe into an actual actor. Have no fear, Robin Hood will soon be here!

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