REVIEW: Robin Hood
I understand the compulsion to find a fresh take on a classic tale. After all, you have the weight of literary history and beloved film adaptations to contend with, so a straight remake would be boring. But, when you tackle a Robin Hood tale, it has to be set in a plausible time and place, with characters that make sense.
The legend of Robin Hood dates back to the 13th or 14th century and in time grew in scope so it wasn’t just Robin versus the Sheriff of Nottingham, but came to encompass King John and the Crusades.
There are so many ballads and poems to draw from for inspiration that a nice, historically accurate film would have been welcome. Instead, Director Otto Bathurst and screenwriters Ben Chandler and David James Kelly went in entirely the other direction, creating a fantastical Medieval world that was visually stunning and entirely devoid of interest. Their Robin Hood took more than three years to realize and arrived with a thud, a critical and box office failure, The film, out now from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, is really not worth you time despite a fine cast.
We have Taron Egerton as Robin of Loxley and he can handle the action just fine but lacks the charisma of his predecessors. Playing the token Morgan Freeman role this time is Jamie Foxx as Little John, a staggeringly dumb concept. Better is Ben Mendelsohn as the villainous Sheriff and Paul Anderson as Guy of Gisborne. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Eve Hewson is wonderful as Maid Marion, enlivening a rather emotionally dull story.
Robin is pressed into serving his King during the Third Crusade and dislikes the violence inherent in the system only to return and find home has been corrupted. He has to swing into action to right wrongs and restore a sense of justice to the common folk. All well and good but the internal logic is faulty throughout and the production design suggests this is set on an alternate Earth where “Gatling” bows spit out arrows and the technology is way beyond that of the time period we know.
It’s all a lot of noise without a heart. Even an uncredited cameo from producer Leonardo DiCaprio can’t help this mess.
The movie is out in a variety of formats including the 4k Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital HD combo pack. Here the film’s 2160p transfer in 2.40:1 is superior to the content. Everything dazzles the eye thanks to the 8K source resolution, finished in 4K. This is stunning to watch, making the lack of content even more disappointing. The Blu-ray version is pretty nifty to watch, too.
Thankfully, the Dolby Atmos track is more than on a par with the visuals.
Given the lack of demand for this disc, they certainly spared effort on the special features. We get a bunch of Electronic Press Kit features and little else of note. There’s Outlaws and Auteurs: Reshaping Robin Hood (1:04:28); Outtakes (4:38), and Deleted Scenes (8:26), none of which would have made this a better film.