We’ve been eagerly anticipating the Robin Hood movie ever since news broke about its cast. After all, it stars two of our favorite celebrity parents: Russell Crowe as the man in tights, and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion. Today Robin Hood finally hit theaters. Which means the reviews are out. And all we can say is, “Ouch.” It turns out this Robin Hood is a decidedly un-merry, un-child-friendly romp through Gladiator territory.
Excerpts from some of our favorite reviewers (and note, it’s not all bad news!):
– “When you call a movie ‘Robin Hood,’ you set up expectations: a gallant archer, a maid named Marion, a band of Merry Men, a crusading king and a certain camaraderie in Sherwood Forest. The latest version has those elements, but they don’t play out in a way that’s easy to recognize or respond to, and that’s a problem.” – Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times
– “In this telling, Marion (Cate Blanchett) is not a maid but a widow, and not a merry one… Blanchett plays the role with great class and breeding, which is all wrong, I think.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“As it crashes and bellows toward its sanguinary end, Robin Hood makes a hash of the historical record, and also of its own hero’s biography… Who was Robin Hood? After more than two hours of flaming arrows, loud music and defiant sloganeering, it’s oddly hard to tell.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“The battles are grainy and ‘existential,’ but what they aren’t is thrilling. They’re surging crowd scenes with streams of arrows and flecks of blood, and Crowe, slashing his way through them, is a glorified extra.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
And on the somewhat-positive side:
“[director] Scott supplies a supple visual design and terrific action choreography while Helgeland’s screenplay conjures up robust characters that often lack dimension but make up for this with vigor…Crowe’s masculine swagger is certainly matched by Blanchett’s feminine bravado. She’s his match any day. This is the heart of the movie but it beats too faintly.” – Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
Remember that movie critics don’t have the final say. You do. It’s all about the box office take. So before urging Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett to use Robin Hood as a vehicle for teaching their kids about high-hopes and disappointment, let’s see how it does with ticket sales. I have a hunch the box-office numbers will be more than respectable.