Birth of a legend. Following King Richard's death in France, archer Robin Longstride, along with Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, returns to England. They encounter the dying Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by treacherous Godfrey, who hopes to facilitate a French invasion of England. Robin promises the dying knight he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham. Here Walter encourages him to impersonate the dead man to prevent his land being confiscated by the crown, and he finds himself with Marian, a ready-made wife. Hoping to stir baronial opposition to weak King John and allow an easy French take-over, Godfrey worms his way into the king's service as Earl Marshal of England and brutally invades towns under the pretext of collecting Royal taxes. Can Robin navigate the politics of barons, royals, traitors, and the French?Written by
don @ minifie-1
The first part of the end credits are in the same style as Ridley Scott's production company 'Scott Free Productions'. See more »
The director's cut contains additional 15 minutes of scenes, more graphic violence and the following changes: (* denotes as new scene)
*Before the Battle of Charus, A valet wakes up King Richard. He starts from his sleep and seems apathetic before dousing his head in a bowl of water.
*The Battle of Charus has an additional sequence: a flaming arrow is fired, sets the oily ground ablaze. This caught an English soldier, screaming and squirming before another arrow hits him and he collapses dead onto the ground
The shot of the gate exploding is replaced with a ground-up alternate shot. It's a top-to-ground in the theatrical cut.
*The ramming of the castle gates and the background battle is longer. A French soldier falls down from the walls on to the English soldiers as well.
*When Richard is hit, there is a stertorous shot of him and the questioning look of Sir Robert is added.
As King Richard is drinking his last slug of wine, the wine mixed with blood now flows out from the wounds; it's not visible in the theatrical cut.
The scene of Marion meeting the clergymen now appears earlier, right after the Charus battle.
*Godfrey threatens Robert to torture him while a lance is stuck on his chest.
The scene where the Sheriff starts scuffling with Marion is now moved up earlier, after Robin buries Robert in the forest.
*When the ship reaches the Thames river, there is an additional shot of men rowing the boat. The captain informs Robin that they're setting course to the Tower of London. A delegate then informs Robin of how to address the proper behavior in front of Eleanor (King Richard's mother).
*As Robin and his men leaves the Tower of London, Godfrey's men follow them.
*While Marion collects herbs from the woods, a group of children wearing straw masks appear and claim her belongings. She recognizes them by their voices and tries to reason them.
Robin and his men riding through the forest now appears earlier.
*Little John offers to help Robin to return the sword to Sir Walter but Robin declines - he doesn't want them to put themselves in jeopardy.
*When Robin and his men are asleep, they are raided by the runaways. Suddenly a group of horsemen appears from the darkness and Robin awakes, just in time to notice the attack. The others awake as well and they manage to repulse the horsemen attack. One of them is killed by a trap.
*Godfrey's henchmen track Robin and sound the population. A peasant points the direction of Robin and his men heading.
*At the English soldier's camp, Godfrey sneaking through is longer. After greeting the French soldiers, they sneak back into the camp and kill the soldiers in sleep. Next, Godfrey rides to meet one of his men who told him that Robin killed his soldiers. He then ordered the French soldiers to ride to Barnsdale.
The scene of Robin and Marion talking about Robert is moved up earlier as well.
*While hunting, Robin is caught by the runaways and taken prisoner to their camp. To his surprise, Marion knows of the hide-out and is part of the group. He promises to teach them how to fight since they have a common enemy.
*At the forest glade, Robin and Marion encounters a group of peasants trying to rescue a goat from the bog. She tries to rescue it but falls into the bog. Robin, secured by the rope, jumps in but rescues the goat first before her. After Marion is on the ground well, the Sheriff appears, claiming tax on her. Robin pays him one gold. Because of that, the sequence of Robin and Marion looking amorously in the theatrical cut is removed.
*The night party at Loxley is longer with Little John bringing in a barrel of mead.
*William Marshal and his men arrive at the village. He has a talk with Walter on the current political situation when Robin and Marion approach.
In the flashback, the close-up of Sir Walter is replaced with a two-shot of William and Walter.
*Before the battle at the English coast, there is an additional line by William Marshal to Robin: "Your father is a great man, and you're your father's son."
*There's an additional shot of Godfrey killing Sir Walter with a close-up of the penetrating sword.
*A French soldier tries to rape a villager during the raid.
*Robin collars a French soldier and tries to force him to reveal the position where the French army plans to come ashore. In order to do that, he chains him to a wall, aims at him with bow an arrow - and hits. He continues to interrogate until the soldier caves in. A shot of the Sheriff in this scene has been removed.
*The fight at the English coast is longer, including an additional shot of King John rams his sword into the prostrated enemy's chest.
Solid is the keyword. From the screenplay, to the cinematography and the performance, the film is based on solid grounding. Indeed, we couldn't imagine less from the people assembled on the project. And the first signs are indeed good, starting as an origin story that traces Robin's steps returning from the Crusades and arriving in Nottingham. The plot is immediately both compelling and fresh with regards to the well known tale.
The first problem we run into is that the film never allows itself to linger. This creates two problems: the sense of purpose it reaches for through urgency has a tendency to be lost to aimlessness, and the characters never have the space to generate real depth of emotion.
Imagine only this: Russel Crowe, Cate Blanchett and William Hurt together have collected three Oscars, and an additional nine nominations. Yet it it's hard to lavish praise on their performances, because they never manage to inspire empathy as well as we might wish. The sense of urgency - of imminent physical danger to their person, of the crucial importance of their quest - never quite strikes home.
The screenplay doesn't always help them. It attempts to give the tale a strong moral foundation, by associating it with burgeoning democratic ideals in feudal Britain, unconvincingly: suspension of disbelief failed this reviewer.
For both these reasons, the epic sense of greatness that saturates Mr. Scott's similar works never works in this one. Indeed, in the anticipated climax of the battle, slow motion shots fall flat, and emotion never reaches an expected high, in spite of the film's competence in the action scenes.
This is a work that strangely echoes others, as well. People will be drawn to comparisons with Gladiator; these aren't particularly relevant beyond Russell Crow's similar (yet less engaging) performance. Rather, Robin's journey from the crusades and through England, in which he prospers on fateful luck and earned respect, copies Ridley Scott's own Kingdom of Heaven. In their themes and ambition these three films are alike, but Robin Hood doesn't thrive from the comparison. Where flaws are shared, what made the other two great is oddly lacking in this latest historical epic from the director.
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