I loved the first half, enjoyed the next fourth and shook my head in disbelief the last fourth of the movie.
The story of an England in peril, the portray of the northern barons who both feel alienated and abused by the king is really well made. It's a great and interesting take on how England (and most of Europe) was around 1200. The beginning siege of the small, French castle supports this with it's feel of everyday life as fighting, eating and drinking. The story of Robin hustling himself to knighthood and a handful of riches is great too, it gives the tale a new, interesting spin. The character of Lady Marian fits the new tale very well, and I like her older portray as well as her blind father. Basically most of the actors are doing a great job, and where they aren't, I would more likely blame the writers and Ridley Scott.
A general mistake of the movie in my opinion is that the scenes are simply too small to be believable. In Nottingham we never really see anything else than Marian's home and the town center. At the castle siege at the beginning, it seems like a very small setup too, and we never really see a huge, English army. Just as the beach battle at the end seems very small compared to it being the epic clash of the movie. We don't really see any huge scenes of proper proportions of London, which could have been great. We mostly see the inside of Tower, the courtyard and Robin delivering the crown to the queen.
The movie starts taking a bad turn when Godfried - the new evil servant of John - starts harassing northern England with his 200 Frenchmen. The character Godfried would fit better in a Jean Claude van Damme type of movie and the whole happening of him tossing about northern England in ten minutes of film makes it a bit hastened. England was covered in woods and northern England wasn't easy to get around in. All in a days work, aye? This haste of story line seems to go on for most of the rest of the movie and destroys the interesting political plot and serious portray of an England in ruins. References to the original story have also been forced in so they seem a bit out of place (i.e. the Sheriff of Nottingham has no role other than being nasty to Marian and get beaten by the French).
A last mention would be the long list of history inaccurate things. To mention a few: The costumes Robin and Marian wears when inspecting the town is more like 1600+ outfits. Prince (king) John claims to be appointed by God in the end of the movie, but the Diving Rights of Kings weren't introduced in the 1200. The beach battle; rascals on ponies using sticks to fight down veteran French soldiers, Robin wielding an anti-plate armor hammer while no one bothered to bring any plate armor, the French vessels (!!!), the tactics of charing down to the beach instead of shooting down the French, the French not scouting the area first (what happened to the guys lighting fires on the beach?) and so forth...
My guess is that Ridley Scott were cutting the movie together and saw that the only really good part was the beginning and desperately chose to stretch it to the first half of the movie. In my humble opinion, the movie went from a 10 in the first half to a 6 when the story started rushing and to a solid 2 during the beach battle.
Too bad, the movie had potential.
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