May 17, 2010

Robin Hood

Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott reunite for a rousing update of ROBIN HOOD. Your trusty reviewer doesn't usually go for epic movies, but is willing to put a little trust in the hands of the director of ALIEN and the star of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. Cate Blanchett makes for a strong but soft Maid Marian, who agrees to give aid to the illusion that Robin Longstride (Crowe) is her dead husband Robin of Loxley returning from 10 years battle (in order to keep her land and ensure the livelihood of the many subjects who work it). But trouble is afoot, within and without England, as the sleazy King John (Oscar Isaac) sees little value in the liberty of his subjects, but must depend upon their fighting skills to save England from being overtaken by the French, led by his backstabbing chum Godfrey (Mark Strong). William Hurt as a British chancellor and Max von Sydow as Marian's ailing but noble father-in-law lend just the right amount of British upper-custiness to this swirling epic, a tale that proves it is worth retelling, particularly in light of 1991's ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES and its notoriously appalling casting choice of Kevin Costner in the lead. Audiences may determine if a sequel is in order (there's certainly room for more, provided they do as good as this one). With Mark Addy (as Friar Tuck), Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Matthew MacFadyen, Kevin Durand, and Scott Grimes. ½