If you see Robin Hood, make sure and stay for the end credits. They are colorfully animated like expressionistic paintings come to life that retell the basic plot of the movie in about two minutes. They are bold and exciting and bloody. And did I say colorful and vibrantly so?
At movie’s end, I sleepily pried myself from my seat, but then those images made me pause. Two minutes later I felt like applauding. I was smiling. I was in a state of bliss. Too bad only four other moviegoers enjoyed this little masterpiece with me – and two of them were necking, experiencing their own different sort of bliss.
Alfred Hitchcock once said, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” And by the end of Robin Hood I could really relate. I really needed to pee something awful by the end. Of course, the even longer Avatar had the same effect, but having a good time makes one forget about such things.
At 140 minutes, Robin Hood really felt long. The first half hour especially dragged as it labored to set things up. This is one of those movies that opens by filling the screen with stuff to read and when it goes away, dang it, it’s replaced by more stuff to read.
I’ve long thought that most movies could be improved by getting rid of everything that happens before, you know, something good happens. The snaky, love to hate him villain of the piece doesn’t begin to pose a problem until about the half hour mark. Why not start there? That would bring the length down to less than two hours.
I admit – and feel free to disagree – that I don’t care for Russell Crowe. And I think he’s horribly miscast here. Sherwood Forest is filled with trees. And any one of them would’ve been a better match for his wooden acting abilities. *
Crowe registers a big zero as Robin the Hood. He wears the same expression throughout – sort of a cross between confusion and constipation. He doesn’t manage any heat during his scenes with Cate Blanchett as Marion, although she isn’t much help either.
And, most damaging of all, the guy simply doesn’t have a sense of humor and in these post-Robin Hood: Men in Tights times, that simply won’t do. I’d love to see a Jar Jar Binks style fan edit removing every trace of Crowe. Just pretend that Friar Tuck is the hero. Or, better yet, replace Crowe with Jar Jar. That would at least be funny.
The movie is filled with big scenes of, well, scenery. But none of it looks very picturesque. Hollywood has a funny habit lately of digitally dialing everything into some limited color palette, usually so they don’t have to worry about the colors matching during filming, reducing costs.
Unfortunately, they went a little crazy while spinning the dials this time and everything has been reduced to mud, sort of a dead grey. This is probably why those vibrant animated colors at the end came as such a relief. If all that scenery isn’t even pretty, I say cut it. There goes another 30 minutes.
Honestly though, the only way to really fix this Robin Hood would be to trim everything away, leaving only those last two minutes.
* I apologize for being so snarky. I’ve seen too many disappointing movies lately. If you love Crowe, this may be just your movie.