(Picture the following in slow motion):
So, this introduction summarizes about 75% of the film. DRAMATIC BATTLE SEQUENCES!! EXTREME CLOSE UPS IN SLOW MOTION! SCREAMING!!!
It's super super super super intense, if you haven't guessed. There's just one issue. It's hard to get that invested in battle sequences when you give zero-to-few shits about the main characters. The movie doesn't do any work to establish Robin Hood or his band of merry men as figures worthy of emotional investment. Ridley Scott, surprisingly, has been very effective in this area in some of his previous films. Hell, I cared more about some of the tertiary characters in Alien than Russel Crowe's title figure. Even the biyatch that just sort of cried and screamed.
Another annoying thing is the way the movie tries to confuse you with olden-timey English language and politics. Ok, I'm sorry that I don't remember wtf was going on with France and England in the 12th century and who was king and how many evil brothers he had and which advisors were traitors. Additionally, it looks like most people in the middle ages spoke cryptically. Let me try to translate some of the movie's quotes:
Prince John: "So what would you have, a castle for every man?"
Robin Hood: "Every Englishman's home is his castle."
What. Just what. I think I sort of know what they're saying, but damnit just say it like a normal person. When the French king is asking people to speak in English for no good reason, clearly the film is pandering to it's audience. Why not clear up the bizarre English for us while you're at it? Here's my attempt at that dialog:
Prince John: "Robin Hood, stop being a bitch and tell me what you want."
Robin Hood: "I WANT YOU TO DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
See, that was the subtext of the earlier quotes.
THE MOVIE MAKES ME FEEL LIKE THIS!
Cate Blanchett is pretty sassy as Maid Marian...or should I say Lady Marian? They changed her from the Disney version to make her more bitchy and independent, which is the current Hollywood definition of an emancipated lady. I guess I cared about her more than Robin Hood because the movie invested approximately two minutes into her development, but I certainly didn't care very much. Screenwriters, take note. Female characters cannot be both liberated and trusting of men. At first. Be sure to write it so eventually their vaginas (vaginae?) take over and they succumb to the male's charms. If a female character is introduced and immediately strikes up a rapport with a dude, she's a slut. This is movie science. Anyway, Marian is rude at first, so she must be a strong woman.
Here are the positives of the film:
1. Oscar Isaac's first scene as Prince John. Sure, he's a Guatemalan playing English royalty, but it's fine. You'll see what I mean.
2. There's a giant white horse etched into a hill. It didn't make any sense, but I was mesmerized.
3. Max von Sydow as Nottingham's lovable village elder/blind man who sees more than most other people. BLIND CHARACTERS ALWAYS METAPHORICALLY SEE BETTER!!
Here's what I was missing:
1. Nobody ever yelled YOU SHALL NOT PASS during any of the major battle sequences. Disappointing.
2. Cate Blanchett, not once, spouted off forest widsom or had an angelic glow about her.
3. Robin's group lacked a Gimli.
So what other movie, with medieval-esque battle sequences and legitimate character development, could provide those missing items? I wonder.
Rating: 2/5 stars