In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
After being captured by Turks during the Crusades, Robin of Locksley and a Moor, Azeem, escape back to England, where Azeem vows to remain until he repays Robin for saving his life. Meanwhile, Robin's father, a nobleman loyal to King Richard the Lionhearted, has been murdered by the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham, who helped install Richard's treacherous brother, Prince John, as king while Richard is overseas fighting the Crusades. When Robin returns home, he vows to avenge his father's death and restore Richard to the throne. Even though Maid Marian, his childhood friend, cannot help him, he escapes to the Forest of Sherwood where he joins a band of exiled villagers and becomes their leader. With their help he attempts to cleanse the land of the evil that the Sheriff has spread. Written by
Graeme Roy <email@example.com>
Of all the people that you could choose to play Robin Hood in a potential Hollywood blockbuster, why choose Kevin Costner? The man has nothing more to offer than a well-known face to slap onto the billboards, and possibly a bit of sex appeal for all the 40-somethings out there.
It felt like the character of Robin Hood was being compromised in order to not strain the already-limited acting skills of Kevin Costner. The man does not even make an attempt at a British accent which, among other things, is an absolute must when playing the role of a famed British outlaw. Said other things include charisma, some sort of dry wit (at least a little playful sarcasm every now and then), and an honest, believable affection for the Maid Marian.
The relationship between Robin and Marian seems, to quote the great Roger Ebert, "inspired more by necessity than by desire, as if both of them had read the book and knew they were required to fall in love." Give Kevin Costner a bow and arrow and disguise him in leafy attire, and he still has the same detached indifference, impossible to have any feelings for (and that goes for both the audience and co-stars).
But this movie wouldn't work even if it wasn't for Costner. Robin Hood's excitable band of accomplices construct the most wondrous tree forts that it's remarkable that they choose to even waste their time giving to the poor. Anybody remember the three-story beach house in The Blue Lagoon? If that was a perfect 10, architecturally, then Robin's deciduous village is a 9. It's fun to look at, yes, but it's so far off from the dark, brooding atmosphere of the rest of the film that it becomes distracting.
Alan Rickman plays the Sheriff of Nottingham as if he's drunk and acting to save his life all at the same time. It's no wonder that Mel Brooks had such fun with the Sheriff of Rottingham. Rickman is completely absurd, driven crazy by Robin's elusiveness, but it's obvious that he's having fun and ultimately, it works really well.
Sean Connery is fun for the last 30 seconds as King Richard, and Morgan Freeman acts well in the role of level-headed, yet slick Azeem. But I couldn't help being distracted by the fact that it was Morgan Freeman. Maybe a lesser-known actor could have done more with the role without being tied down by the fear of being embarrassed on the big screen.
I feel like I should mention the action sequences before I hang up the keyboard for the night. There were depressingly few, considering it was billed as an action/adventure. But the ones that there are (specifically Robin's men vs. the Sheriff's men in the forest) focus way too much on the gore, and not enough on the flashy, stylish fighting skills that we know Robin's men must have acquired while living in the woods. I mean, what else was there to do besides practice fighting? Collect firewood, maybe.
And that's that. The movie is passable, but the legend of Robin Hood is a better story than this film lets on. Costner is the biggest, but certainly not the only flaw. A mediocre script and messy directing plague the project from the beginning.
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