Monday, April 15, 2019

Robin Hood (2018)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  This movie already loses a point due to the lack of Bryan Adam's "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" on the soundtrack.

Robin Hood (2018) – 2 out of 5

I don’t begrudge properties being made and remade because I am of the thinking that stories should be told over and over again and should be re-adapted.  Hell, every month I am in a production of a Shakespeare play and I’ve already done several of the stories upwards of three or four times.  I don’t understand the arbitrary rule that plays are the only stories allowed to be adapted multiple times simply because they were created for the stage.  So when a studio decides to reboot a franchise or remake a feature or, like in the case of Robin Hood, readapts a story that exists in the world of public domain, I don’t get irrationally irritate and type in all caps in the comment section that “Hollywood has run out of ideas.”  Instead, I say, “Hmmm, let’s see what they do with this version.  I’m curious.”  Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s a loss.  As much as I wanted to like this one, I have to say this one was a miss.

The movie is a dud but I still like you Egerton.

Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) seems to have it made in the shade  as he lives a life of ease with his lover Marian (Eve Hewson); however, the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) drafts him to fight in the Third Crusade.  After serving for several years, he returns to find the city fallen into poverty and learns from his friend Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) that he was declared dead and Marian has moved on and found a new lover in Will Scarlet (Jamie Dornan).  Robin learns through a former enemy, Yahya (Jamie Foxx), that the Sheriff has been seizing land and wealth in order to continue the war effort.  Yahya trains Robin to become a great archer and sets him out to rob from the rich and give to the poor and to stop the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

"You know it's true, everything I'd do--"
Dammit, that song really needed to be in this film.

I like Taron Egerton.  I think he’s a great actor and a great screen presence.  Honestly, that was the main feature that sold me on this latest telling of Robin Hood.  Additionally, the trailer made the action look cool as well and that didn’t hurt.  However, the trailer did feel a little odd to me with the over aesthetic of the world the feature was portraying.  Was this film taking place in an era appropriate to Robin Hood or was this a diet steam punk/alternate era that was being presented?  The architecture seemed off and the outfits did not match the time period at all.  I literally couldn’t tell if the look was a conscious choice or if the production just didn’t give an eff.  However, I was still willing to give this one a shot.  Sadly, I found the whole thing kinda boring and really hard to get invested into.

Uh oh, Christian Grey has got that look in his eyes...

The overall look of the film—the clothes and weapons that didn’t exist at the time—could, in theory, translate to a unique way of retelling Robin Hood’s story but, for me, it too often was distracting.  This idea lacked the balance for it to be pulled off because one second the film looks as authentic as a film can get for the time period and the next second you see a man walking around in a machine stitched leather coat and people are shooting automatic crossbows.  It had this overall feeling that the feature wanted to be this alternate reality time period that had some hints of leaning in a steampunk-ish direction but never felt like it wanted to fully commit.  I could have really gotta behind this concept but the overall feeling that it was only giving this aspect partial involvement ended up being more distracting than something that would set it apart.

Like, it is a cool leather jacket but it just sticks out like a sore thumb
in a Robin Hood film.

It doesn't help that Marian's character is written poorly and
doesn't really offer Hewson much to work with.
The final two nails in this one’s coffin come in the fact that two elements are extremely flat and ridiculously lethargic.  These elements are the majority of the performances and the story itself.  While I will say that Egerton, Foxx and Mendelsohn are genuinely good in this film, I can’t say the same for Hewson and Dornan.  Hewson looks like she just doesn’t care about the product and Dornan has the exact same amount of passion he showed in Fifty Shades of Grey—that is to say none.  Any scene with these two just feels like it is dragging.  One of the more odd casting choices was comedian/musician/actor Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck.  I enjoy Minchin’s music but his comedic leanings for the role felt horrifically out-of-place within the film’s overall gloomier tone.  Finally, there was no denying that I found the story to be incredibly boring and very difficult to invest in.  So much of the narrative feels like it is dragging and lazily trying to get from Point A to Point B and it made the whole feature feel like homework rather than a piece of entertainment.

Yes, Minchin's more comedic leanings felt out of place in the overall tone of
the film but he sure does have some great songs.

I did really enjoy Foxx's intensity in his role.
I don’t want to make it sound like this adaptation of Robin Hood is complete and utter shit because it isn’t.  It is very rare that I ever experience a film that is 100% a waste of my time and has no redeeming value.  This film does have some neat stuff working in its favor.  I already mentioned that I really enjoyed the performances of Egerton, Foxx and Mendelsohn and the film also has some cool action moments and these moments are filmed wonderfully and constructed terrifically; however, the thing I found the coolest was the archery style of Robin for this product.  Archer guru Lars Anderson was brought in to the production and his focus on the ancient techniques of archer instead of the more modern ways was utilized and it translated in a slick way in the film.  Anderson showed how archers most likely shot their arrows from the outside of the bow rather than notching it from the inside.  This results in faster drawing and releasing (check out his YouTube videos, they are really cool) and having this element allowed for a Robin that was faster on the draw and definitely more exciting archery scenes than other Robin Hood films have had.

As cool as this approach was for the archery, it just isn't enough to save the film.

Robin Hood has some cool elements that I genuinely enjoyed but, overall, I just found the story too boring for me to get into.  Additionally, I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the cast and the film’s overall look with its costumes and sets were more distracting than something that set it apart from the rest of the pack.  I still find their use of ancient archery a nice touch because it shows that, at the very least, this film had some thought behind it and wasn’t just farted out in order to try and make a buck by the studio but that alone just wasn’t enough for me.

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