It ain’t Gladiator and it ain’t Robin Hood, So What on Earth is It?

Ben Harthun / The JibSheet
Ben Harthun / The JibSheet

When I went to see Ridley Scott’s latest movie, a little film entitled “Robin Hood,” starring Russel Crowe, I was led to expect one thing and one thing only. I did not receive what I was promised. And do you know why this is a very, very sad thing?

It’s sad because the only thing I was expecting was Robin Hood.

You heard me right. While the movie had plentiful amounts of Robin, it had so little Hood that I think it should be renamed “Y’know that story about that ‘steal from the rich, give to the poor’ guy? Well, this movie has similarly named characters!”

In the previews, King John announces that Robin Hood is an outlaw, the Sheriff of Nottingham nails up a wanted poster, and much fighting ensues.

This follows the classic Robin Hood storyline quite well. Do you know when in the movie King John says that Robin Hood is an outlaw? The last 10 minutes.

Aside from the fact that Robin did no Hooding, there are several other problems I have with this film.

First of all, because this is America, they had to add explosions. Giant, fiery explosions, in the middle of 12th century France.

Secondly, they decided that Robin Hood’s past wasn’t mysterious enough, so they decided to make his long-lost father a freedom-loving stone mason who wrote the Magna Carta years before it actually existed and was promptly killed by the evil tyrannical king.

Of course.

They also decided that the story of Robin Hood wasn’t complex enough. Instead of Robin Hood being Robin of Locksley, getting pissed off by King John over-taxing the peasants, and so proceeding to steal from the rich and give to the poor, he got a bit of a backstory makeover.

Now he’s an archer named Robin Longstride who finds Robin of Loxley half dead after a French ambush, takes his stuff, and then pretends to be Robin of Loxley. At the behest of Loxley, he brings his sword back to his dad in Nottingham, where Marian waits to be the love interest. Meanwhile, back at the hall of justice- I mean London-we discover that King John is a giant nepotistic douche (at least they got that part right), which backfires when his now-powerful buddy makes a deal with France to get England pissed off at John so France can invade.

Meanwhile, back at the hall of Nottingham, Robin finds out his dad was some super-awesome God of Freedom and king-fighting.

Then the King’s backstabbing buddy begins his wedge driving by burning a bunch of villages. The last one he tries to burn is Nottingham, so Robin and some old Crusader buddies fight them off  while Friar Tuck kills a bunch of soldiers with bees.

He being a man of the cloth and all, the only thing running through my mind at this point is, “Let he who is without sin cast the first bees.” (I laugh.)

Then everyone and their dog goes and fights off the short-lived (and historically non-existent) French invasion, King John burns the Magna Carta, and declares Robin an outlaw, all In the last three minutes of the movie.

The gang of Merry Men, Sherwood Forest, and being an outlaw are only briefly mentioned before a fade to black. The movie was okay, but it was not “Robin Hood.”

Maybe if they had called it “Robin Hood Begins” or something like that, I would be less pissed. Instead, I went to a movie expecting “Robin Hood,” and got “A guy named Robin pretending to be another guy named Robin whose father wrote the Magna Carta amid a backdrop of old English politics.”

Fail. 5 of 10 stars from me.