The trailers were misleading
The M.O.W. - wrote on 05/07/11
From what I saw in the trailers for this film, I was expecting a fast-paced action flick. Sadly, the movie is far from it.
Following the death of "King Richard the Lionhearted" (Danny Huston) during the Crusades, "Robin Longstride" (Russell Crowe) and four men come upon the aftermath of an ambush, and find a dying British knight who tells "Longstride" of a plot between France and a British collaborator -- a British knight.
"Longstride" promises the dying knight that he will return the knight's sword to his father. But, when he returns to his homeland, he poses as the knight, and helps those in need.
Based on centuries old legends from Great Britian, Robin Hood is far from the typical depictions we have seen over the years in popular media. In other depections, including a popular BBC television series in 2006, "Hood" is either arriving from his journey home from the Holy Land or he has been back for some time, and already declared an outlaw. This movie is focused more on the events leading to the title character becoming the legendary "Robin Hood". But, unlike other depictions I've seen, this one is not a strong representation of the legendary outlaw.
The first 75% of the film is unbearably slow I thought, and I noticed I was paying more attention to my computer (I watched it on HBO this afternoon) than the television. To me, the scenes between any fight scenes just lagged and had poor development for the characters.
It appears that those behind the scenes relied on the audience already knowing the characters, and gave them little to no development. They introduced some new twists with the characters, which worked fairly well, but they were just not presented in an interesting way I thought.
I felt little to no chemistry between the characters, especially between "Marion" (Cate Blanchett) and "Longstride". All the main players are there, but they were one-dimensional in my opinion. None of them stood out.
One thing I noticed is that non-British actors had a terrible time with the British accent. Sometimes they sounded British, while other times, their accents sounded Irish or even Scottish. It was very obvious that the dialect coach hired to help the non-British cast members failed in his or her job. It got quite confusing at times when I heard the wrong accent.
Probably because they were working with a well known story, the movie is pretty predictable. The actors in this movie failed at attempting to make their lines believeable, which didn't get them out of the one-dimensional feel I was getting from them. The worse of the characters had to be "King John" (Oscar Isaac), who was absolutely horrible. Isaac's performance was uneven, and came off as trying to be comical when he most likely wasn't trying to be that way.
Cinematorgraphy wasn't that great either, but was slightly better during wide angle scenes during battles. There were no bright colors in the scenery, nor wardrobe. It was a pretty bland looking movie, which went along with the bland performances.
One thing you need to know is that this movie is fairly violent. I would not suggest this for a young audience that the Disney version of this story targets. You will see a lot of gruesome wounds like an arrow through a hand or chest. It looked as if they did a fair job at focusing at main cast members in close-up shots during large battles, but those close-ups were rushed and just did not work out if you ask me.
If you are a fan of the legend, this is going to disappoint you. If you are new to the legend, I would suggest the superior BBC television series that ended about a year before this movie came out, and all three seasons of that version would be a better addition to your Netflix queue or your personal DVD/Blu-Ray collection. The BBC series has more interesting depictions of the main cast of characters, and is more family-friendly.