Robin Hood (2018)

by | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 comments

An Unabashed Cash Grab by the Studio with an Inept Adaptation of the Classic Tale

It seems that it’s never too soon for a remake. Studios are digging around and remaking the same things with the hopes that they’ll somehow tap into the zeitgeist. Lionsgate Studios is seeking to invigorate audiences with the latest adaptation of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood is a retelling of the famous medieval thief who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Here Robin (Taron Egerton) is a lord in Nottingham, England, and it is only after he returns from the Crusades and finds his town dried up by a greedy and heavy taxing Sherriff (Ben Mendelsohn) that he decides to don a hood to fight for the people.

An entire academic paper could be written about the inaccuracies of this film. Being a history buff, I was particularly frustrated with the ignorance of historical factuality, to the point that I was tearing my hair out by the hour mark. The film does start out by saying “I won’t bore you with the history,” but it seems that the filmmakers didn’t even bother skimming over the Medieval England Wikipedia page. The result is a world that has more in common with 21st century California than any historical point in England’s history. For some perspective, the Disney version of Robin Hood, where the characters were played by woodland animals, was ten times more accurate in history and realism than this film. The film also eschews any physical logic, or even narrative cohesion, so that the end result has the enjoyment and rationality of a Vin Diesel movie. There is a certain confusion about what this film wants to be: whether dark and realistic like the 2010 Russell Crowe version, or fantastical like Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; in the end the film isn’t able to fall into any category, becoming a pointless creation.

Director Otto Bathurst has been able to produce good work in TV, with the likes of some Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders episodes, but in Robin Hood he seems to completely lose his wits. The entire cast seems confused and abandoned with seemingly awkward tones and themes that twist and turn and then fade into nothingness. This is especially seen with Jamie Foxx, who plays Little John and who brings about his usual intensity to his character; but Foxx’s energy is never properly channeled so that his character is left gritting his teeth angrily at the audience for eternity. Egerton is given an arrogantly written character, and he somehow makes Robin seem somewhat likeable; aside from that, however, his duality and motivation to his cause is never explored. The flat performances and lost cast are slightly saved by a great Mendelsohn, who tries to provide a cunning and business-like perspective on his Sherriff Nottingham (a common trait in his recent roles like in Rogue One or Ready Player One), but alas he can only do so much with the audacious script.   

If you’re hoping that the action saves this film, you might enjoy the overuse of slow-motion, but apart from that the choreography seems to have been designed by an eight-year-old playing with action figures.

The story of Robin Hood has been told with a fantastical approach (the animated Disney movie), a comic approach (Mel Brook’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights), and a gritty realistic approach (Russell Crowe’s 2010 Robin Hood). This latest iteration had nothing to bring to the table, so that by the time the film is over you wonder: what was the point? Clearly this was a shameful cash-grab that had no regard for the entertainment or sanity of the audience.

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 22% 22%

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What is your favorite Robin Hood adaptation? Let me know in the comments section.

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