So, the other night on that bastion of quality and good taste The People’s Choice Awards, I saw a trailer for the new Robin Hood movie from the team that brought us Gladiator - Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott. Here it is, take a look:
Here’s 7 reasons why this movie is probably going to suck.
1. Just Because The Main Character Has a Bow and Arrows, Don’t Make Him Robin Hood
And when I say, “has a bow,” I mean “has a bow in the last 10 seconds of the trailer.” Sure, Robin’s acumen as an archer was part of the story, and a big part, I’ll grant you that. But that ain’t all there is to it, as we’ll see shortly. My wife made a good point the other day, saying that Robin Hood should feel more like Ocean’s 11 than Gladiator. She’s not wrong. The cool thing about Robin Hood is not only that he is a great archer, but he’s also an exceptional guerilla fighter. He’s smarter than his enemy. I’m just not seeing that in this clip, are you?
2. Gladiator Sucked
Yep, I said it. The emperor has no clothes too, while I’m at it. Gladiator is weak. The Best Picture Oscar winner of 2000 was lame. Crowe is about as exciting as a block of wood, Joaquin Phoenix is completely overwrought, and all the action scenes are shot with a hand held camera which makes it impossible to tell what the heck is going on.
3. Where’s the Rest of the Cast?
The legend of Robin Hood is defined as much by the other characters in the story as it is by Robin himself. Where is Little John and Will Scarlett? Where is Friar Tuck and Sir Guy of Gisbourne? A quick check of imdb.com confirms that the characters are in there, but hey, way to sell it to me, guys. I guess this trailer is like those action scenes in Gladiator, because I can’t tell what the heck is going on. There’s no hint of anything in this movie other than Russell Crowe, a wolf and a fight on a beach. Oh, and I guess Cate Blanchett is Maid Marian. But she can’t be expected to save the whole film.
4. The BBC Just Remade Robin Hood and It Sucked
Ok, that’s a bit harsh, I admit. It had it’s moments. Unfortunately, the moments that stand out in my memory are the bad ones. A Crusades vet showing up in Sherwood Forest wearing modern issue desert camouflage cargo pants. A season-ending freeze frame shot of the whole cast jumping up in the air and pumping their fists that looks more like it belongs at the end of the 1985 pilot of MacGyver. A Sheriff of Nottingham that looks like Billy Joel. Or Peter Gabriel.
5. Russell Crowe is Not Errol Flynn
Russell Crowe is boring. Why does everyone think he’s great? I evidently haven’t swallowed the Crowe Kool-Aid. But Errol Flynn, now there’s a Robin Hood. Dashing, cavalier, rakish. Jeez, even a cartoon fox has more panache than Russell Crowe. Even Billy Zane’s single-episode turn as the Prince of Thieves on Charmed (left) is more on the mark than Russell Crowe. Robin needs to have a little charm. And say what you will about Crowe, but charm is not the first thing you think of.
6. Ridley Scott Is Not Michael Curtiz
All right, he made Blade Runner. And Alien. But 1492? GI Jane? By now, you’re probably sensing that my favorite screen adaptation of Robin’s story is the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland. The movie is just about flawless in my book, a Technicolor marvel of high adventure, colorful characters, and classic Hollywood movie making. Curtiz not only teamed with Flynn many times for some of the classiest adventure films ever like The Charge of the Light Brigade and Captain Blood, but the guy also DIRECTED CASABLANCA. Sorry, Curtiz wins. Blade Runner and Alien aside, the best thing Ridley Scott ever directed was the video for George Michael’s “One More Try.” Wait, that was Tony Scott.
7. Now Is Not Necessarily Better Than Then
You know why the 1938 version of Robin Hood is better than the Kevin Costner version or the BBC version or the Ridley Scott version? Because in 1938, they ACTUALLY SHOT PEOPLE WITH ARROWS. That’s right, a master archer named Howard Hill actually shot people who had blocks of wood under their costumes with real arrows during the battle scenes of the film. Now, no matter what kind of killer hand held camera work or CG effects appear in the new Robin Hood, you will never be able to convince me that it will look more awesome than people actually getting shot with arrows.
Look, I hope I’m wrong. I hope it’s awesome. But nothing is leading me to believe it will be. I know it’s a re-envisioning of the legend, a new take on it, but long story short, Robin Hood should be FUN. And this movie doesn’t look fun. Not everything has to be gritty and realistic and modern and meta. Sometimes fun is good too.