Who was Robin Hood? Well, if you think you know, you might want to check all that good trivia–about the outlaw who robs the rich and gives to the poor–at the door for now. Because this Robin is a little more complex than that. For starters, he has the last name of Longstride, and is actually an archer in King Richard‘s army fighting in the Crusades, and has just the right amount of kindness and cunning in devising a plan to get back to England in one piece, return the crown of the dead king to the queen mother, track down the father of a dying man that he’d promised to look up when he returns, and long story short, fall in the love with the widow Marion, marry her, and the rest as they say, is history.
Well, that’s the short of it, of course, but the long of it is truly a lengthy tale that takes a lot of detours to establish the essential point of the making of an outlaw. This is the grand backstory, if you will, of how the legend of Robin Hood came to be made, and while many of the well-known characters such as Friar Tuck and Little John remain, the story of how they all become Robin Hood’s merry men is quite a fun and fascinating one.
Ridley Scott, the director, is known for his grand landscapes, and it doesn’t take too much effort to reminisce about the similarities between the story, the set, and even the characters in this movie to bear somewhat of a resemblance to those in another movie by the same director, titled Gladiator. (I’m a little late in getting to this one, I know, and for the record, this movie came out last summer, i.e., the summer of 2010).
A little belabored at times, but engaging nonetheless, I give this movie high marks for its entertainment value. Cate Blanchett, by the way, is terrific in her role as Marion, and the actor who plays King John embodies the qualities of dastardliness and ignominious traits with near-perfection. Also, the fun that is poked at the French is subtle in some parts and blatant in others. Of course, they’d be serving soup in the middle of the battle– isn’t that how it’s supposed to be everywhere?!