Movie Review - 'Robin Hood' - Not Entirely On Target Following in the footsteps of Errol Flynn and Cary Elwes, Russell Crowe is yet another Robin Hood. This new version tells the archer's origin story -- but critic Kenneth Turan says it's a messy mix of geopolitics, repressed-memory plot twists, human-rights advocacy and more.
NPR logo

'Robin Hood' Revisited: Not Entirely On Target

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/126761271/126821425" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Robin Hood' Revisited: Not Entirely On Target

Review

Movies

'Robin Hood' Revisited: Not Entirely On Target

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/126761271/126821425" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LYNN NEARY, Host:

Every generation, it seems, is destined to have a Robin Hood film to call its own. The latest arrives in theaters today. Film critic Kenneth Turan says it's no walk in the woods.

KENNETH TURAN: When you call a movie "Robin Hood," you set up expectations: a gallant archer, a band of merry men, and a certain criminal camaraderie in Sherwood Forest.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ROBIN HOOD")

TURAN: (as character) None shall pass unless they can answer the riddle.

TURAN: (as character) Moon mad. And what is the riddle, you insolent wretch?

TURAN: What has 18 legs and isn't going anywhere?

TURAN: This new film is an origins story - a kind of Robin Before the Hood - and it turns out to be a cumbersome, too-complicated tale. With Russell Crowe in the title role, it's an awkward mix of international geopolitics, repressed memory, old-fashioned villainy, human rights advocacy, and pigeons that send secret messages.

This Robin Hood does have a Marion. But as played by Cate Blanchett, she is no maid, and doesn't take kindly to a plot twist that has Robin pretending to be her husband.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ROBIN HOOD")

M: (as Robin Hood) If the aim is deception, should you not be addressing me as, my husband or my dear?

M: (as Marion): Don't be ridiculous.

TURAN: Blanchett is an actress who's always involving, and Crowe is very much in his element as an intrepid, laconic archer who lets his arrows do the talking. He apparently spent untold months learning to shoot like someone raised in the hood, firing as many as 200 arrows a day in a relentless quest for accuracy.

Director Ridley Scott's facility with spectacle makes everything he does worth investigating. But this lacks both the clarity of his work in "Blade Runner" and "Black Hawk Down" as well as the joy of films starring Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks that captivated previous generations. It's hard not to wish that this "Robin Hood" was as nailed down as all those on-target arrows.

NEARY: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. The latest incarnation of England's legendary outlaw, Robin Hood, is just one of our reviews at npr.org.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.