Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett



Robin Hood



The new version of “Robin Hood,” with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, is so awful that it would be funny if it weren’t taking itself so seriously.  Here we are in the 12th Century just as the French arrive to invade England on the beaches of Dover in their Landing Craft Tanks, fitted out with a bit of greenery, I guess to camouflage them, which of course since there were no engines at the time, they have been rowed all the way from France.  Try rowing a flat-bottomed barge across the English Channel yourself some time.  Then they’ve landed at Dover – a beautiful beach hemmed in by 300-foot chalk cliffs.  How were they going to scale them and take over England?  Not to worry, they don’t have to plan for that, since they’ll be defeated right there on the shore.  Oh, and did I mention that meanwhile the English have taken the morning flight from Nottingham to Dover to meet them; bows and chain mail and horses and all?  And bad Mark Strong, the treacherous Sir Godfrey, runs from a fight with Crowe, who then measures his arrow and shoots it about a mile and a half in the air until it lands with a thud right through Sir Godfrey’s neck.  Bye, bye Godfrey.


Now that happens to be the climactic scene in “Robin Hood,” and I hope you’ll forgive me for giving it away, but there are lots of other scenes you’ll wonder at too:  For instance, I know you want to think of Robin Hood as someone who takes from the rich and gives to the poor, right?  And also, he lives in the forest outside Nottingham with his merry men, right?  Wrong.  A), he doesn’t live in the forest at all, and B) he’s much more concerned with developing the Magna Carta, which if you’ll recall, gives more power to the nobles and less to the King, in this case Bad King John, who then turns himself into Good King John


What have I left out?  Well, what about Cate Blanchett?  She’s the widowed wife of Robert of Loxley, who died in France at Sir Godfrey’s hands.  Smart Robin takes Robert’s place at the Loxley palace and is introduced as the long-lost son who’s been away on a Crusade for the past ten years.  Cate, not fooled at all, makes Crowe sleep on the floor and not in her bed, until he shows that he’s worthy of her.  She is, however, the Cate who’s played enough of these roles to know her way around.  “12th-century widow?  Not a problem.”  She has evidently also caught the morning flight from Nottingham, because she shows up as well at Dover, on her horse and in chain mail.  Hey, why not?  It’s just a movie, right?