Birth of a legend. Following King Richard's death in France, archer Robin Longstride, along with Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, returns to England. They encounter the dying Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by treacherous Godfrey, who hopes to facilitate a French invasion of England. Robin promises the dying knight he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham. Here Walter encourages him to impersonate the dead man to prevent his land being confiscated by the crown, and he finds himself with Marian, a ready-made wife. Hoping to stir baronial opposition to weak King John and allow an easy French take-over, Godfrey worms his way into the king's service as Earl Marshal of England and brutally invades towns under the pretext of collecting Royal taxes. Can Robin navigate the politics of barons, royals, traitors, and the French?Written by
don @ minifie-1
Opening film at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010. See more »
When reading the note carried by the pigeon, Marshal is shown using a huge magnifying glass, or lens. Although magnifying glasses have been described in England in the 13th century, they wouldn't have been of that size and quality. See more »
The first part of the end credits are in the same style as Ridley Scott's production company 'Scott Free Productions'. See more »
The director's cut contains additional 15 minutes of scenes, more graphic violence and the following changes: (* denotes as new scene)
*Before the Battle of Charus, A valet wakes up King Richard. He starts from his sleep and seems apathetic before dousing his head in a bowl of water.
*The Battle of Charus has an additional sequence: a flaming arrow is fired, sets the oily ground ablaze. This caught an English soldier, screaming and squirming before another arrow hits him and he collapses dead onto the ground
The shot of the gate exploding is replaced with a ground-up alternate shot. It's a top-to-ground in the theatrical cut.
*The ramming of the castle gates and the background battle is longer. A French soldier falls down from the walls on to the English soldiers as well.
*When Richard is hit, there is a stertorous shot of him and the questioning look of Sir Robert is added.
As King Richard is drinking his last slug of wine, the wine mixed with blood now flows out from the wounds; it's not visible in the theatrical cut.
The scene of Marion meeting the clergymen now appears earlier, right after the Charus battle.
*Godfrey threatens Robert to torture him while a lance is stuck on his chest.
The scene where the Sheriff starts scuffling with Marion is now moved up earlier, after Robin buries Robert in the forest.
*When the ship reaches the Thames river, there is an additional shot of men rowing the boat. The captain informs Robin that they're setting course to the Tower of London. A delegate then informs Robin of how to address the proper behavior in front of Eleanor (King Richard's mother).
*As Robin and his men leaves the Tower of London, Godfrey's men follow them.
*While Marion collects herbs from the woods, a group of children wearing straw masks appear and claim her belongings. She recognizes them by their voices and tries to reason them.
Robin and his men riding through the forest now appears earlier.
*Little John offers to help Robin to return the sword to Sir Walter but Robin declines - he doesn't want them to put themselves in jeopardy.
*When Robin and his men are asleep, they are raided by the runaways. Suddenly a group of horsemen appears from the darkness and Robin awakes, just in time to notice the attack. The others awake as well and they manage to repulse the horsemen attack. One of them is killed by a trap.
*Godfrey's henchmen track Robin and sound the population. A peasant points the direction of Robin and his men heading.
*At the English soldier's camp, Godfrey sneaking through is longer. After greeting the French soldiers, they sneak back into the camp and kill the soldiers in sleep. Next, Godfrey rides to meet one of his men who told him that Robin killed his soldiers. He then ordered the French soldiers to ride to Barnsdale.
The scene of Robin and Marion talking about Robert is moved up earlier as well.
*While hunting, Robin is caught by the runaways and taken prisoner to their camp. To his surprise, Marion knows of the hide-out and is part of the group. He promises to teach them how to fight since they have a common enemy.
*At the forest glade, Robin and Marion encounters a group of peasants trying to rescue a goat from the bog. She tries to rescue it but falls into the bog. Robin, secured by the rope, jumps in but rescues the goat first before her. After Marion is on the ground well, the Sheriff appears, claiming tax on her. Robin pays him one gold. Because of that, the sequence of Robin and Marion looking amorously in the theatrical cut is removed.
*The night party at Loxley is longer with Little John bringing in a barrel of mead.
*William Marshal and his men arrive at the village. He has a talk with Walter on the current political situation when Robin and Marion approach.
In the flashback, the close-up of Sir Walter is replaced with a two-shot of William and Walter.
*Before the battle at the English coast, there is an additional line by William Marshal to Robin: "Your father is a great man, and you're your father's son."
*There's an additional shot of Godfrey killing Sir Walter with a close-up of the penetrating sword.
*A French soldier tries to rape a villager during the raid.
*Robin collars a French soldier and tries to force him to reveal the position where the French army plans to come ashore. In order to do that, he chains him to a wall, aims at him with bow an arrow - and hits. He continues to interrogate until the soldier caves in. A shot of the Sheriff in this scene has been removed.
*The fight at the English coast is longer, including an additional shot of King John rams his sword into the prostrated enemy's chest.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen, Robin Hood with his band of Merry Men: you will get none of that in this new verison of the legend. With Ridley Scott Russell Crowe have created new type of Robin Hood for these an audience who want to gritty verison the legend who has been constantly re-invented.
1199, England has been suffering from the heavy burden of taxation to fund Richard I's (Danny Huston) wars and the countryside was suffering from social problems with war orphans running wild. Richard I's army was marching through France to get back to England after the Crusades and looting and the raiding the French as much as possible whilst on the way. Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) and his friends are archers within the army. When Richard I died in battle they fled and Robin assumes the identity of a English lord who has been murdered in an ambush. Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight and an adviser to King John (Oscar Issac) secretly meets with the French with a plot to make the new king unpopular and force the nation into civil war, thereby weakening England and making the kingdom easy to invade. Robin goes to Nottingham and gives the news to Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) and Lady Maiden (Cate Blanchett) that their son and husband has died. They suggest that Robin continues to pretend that he was really Sir Robert Loxley and as the man Robin becomes a leading figure to unite the kingdom to stop the impending invasion.
Scott is one of the best directors around for historical film: he has shown a great skill for taking people back to another time and show what the period would have been like (even if he has to take a few liberties to the historical facts). With Robin Hood he shows that the Medieval period was dark and dirty, even for members of the gentry. Battles are hard and brutal, though they is a lot less blood then there was in Gladiator, which is a shame. Scott, with his screenwriter Brain Helgeland, set out a more complex, balance picture. Richard I was not made out to be the great king people think he is because of his heavy taxation and ruthless nature. John was made out to be someone who was dogmatic and naïve, but not someone wanting to be a tyrant just for the fun of it. He was portrayed in a more sympathetic light to what has been shown in the past. It was Godfrey who was the main villain and in the Medieval period national loyalty was not such a big issue as it is today. This is all refreshing to see when most films just show a black and white world.
Scott delivers some excellent battle scenes in this film during. But he slows the film down long enough to allow the plot to develop and adds a little bit of humour. This is however a less bloody epic to allow a slightly younger audience to see it. There is the theme of the idea of a king's right to govern, but this is mostly an action, not a historical film about Medieval government.
Crowe and Scott reunite again and Crowe gives a solid performance as a rougher and tougher Robin. Blanchett too is solid as an older Maiden, showing she is a tough woman who also willing to fight: a woman that properly would not have existed in this period. Strong shows once again that he is a excellent villain, having stared in Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, a man who thinks about his own self interest. Strong has been making a good career as villain for hire and he was the strongest actor in the film. The American in this English set film did well, William Hurt was very strong as the wronged advice in the King's court, whilst Huston seemed to be having a blast as Richard I and obviously shows he is not as noble he seems.
Helgeland wrote a clever script, showing Medieval ideology and a complex political situation. His previous Medieval film was A Knight's Tale, which he wrote and directed. But with Robin Hood he seems to have grown up as a writer and gives this film a little more of a complex plot and shows a bigger picture. He also cleverly mixes different aspects about how the legend has changed, like how Robin starting as a commoner and pretends to be a higher ranked man. The film also covers its bases by showing the two sites places that claim to be Robin's home, Nottingham and Barnsdale. However this film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on screen like this before. Hopefully if there is a sequel then Matthew MacFadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham would get a bigger role. Robin Hood is also historically suspect, with events and dates being changed and made up, some ideas and culture also seems to be the victim of artistic license. But Scott knows that storytelling requires character development and show a more balanced picture, particularly with historically set films. At least this film does accept that it is a piece of historical fiction.
An enjoyable summer flick.
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