The name itself ellicts all sorts of different iconography. Sherwood Forest. Merry Men. A noble archer. A dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. A pompous Prince John. An archery tournament for a golden arrow. There have been several adaptations of the legend of the outlaw from Sherwood who robs the rich to feed the poor. The latest (and probably the best) was a BBC series which ran for 3 seasons. It was on the heels of this that they originally announced "Nottingham", which was supposed to be a twist on the famous legend, told from the Sheriff's point of view, where the Sheriff was the good guy, and Robin was the villain.
Interesting concept. Of course, it never would have flew, but nice idea, nevertheless.
So instead, we got this version of Robin Hood (or as I refer to it, the version that never should have been), and oh boy, does it fall flat. Robin Hood is not really Robin Hood in this movie. He's an archer in the King's employ (and Richard is a jerk, let me tell you), and when the king dies, he takes the opportunity to run. By chance, he comes across a dying knight (Robert Locksley), and the crown, and uses the identity of the dead man, and the crown to get safe passage back to England (p.s., he's in France, not the Middle East), and then returns Locksley's sword to his father, where he then meets Maid Marian, and instantly becomes married to her.
Umm...where do I begin?
First of all, I am not impressed that Robin does not really earn any of his good fortune. He happens to find the crown, happens to find Robert (conveniently when he's dying), happens to luck into a marriage with Marian. Wow, how lucky is this guy? Luckier than good. Then there's the famous supporting characters. His Merry Men (Little John, Will, Alan) are all bland and pointless, the Sheriff of Nottingham is non-existent, Richard's a bit of an ass, and Guy of Gisbourne is nowhere to be found. Instead, we have Mark Strong as "Sir Godfrey", and he's the main villain (he's a traitor to England, and an ally of France). Oh yeah, France are the bad guys in this film, not Prince John (who becomes King John, and at least has a semblance of a character here).
That being said, this movie is epic in length, but not in scope. They try and throw Robin's courtship of Marian in there, the disapproval of the Queen and William Marshal with King John, the French invaders plans, Robin wandering around with his Merry Men...there's no real flow to this film, it's a bunch of jumbled scenes together. You can tell where the different writers stepped in, and took over, and I'm shocked there weren't a hundred writers credited for this film, because it felt like it. It's just an utter mess, and if you want to see a Robin Hood movie, see the Errol Flynn one, the BBC series, the Prince of Thieves, hell watch Men in Tights or the Disney one, just don't bother with this one, it's a waste of your time.
Rating: as a movie - 2.5 out of 5.
as a Robin Hood movie - 0 out of 5.