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robin hood
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Robin Hood

Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Matthew Macfadyen, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Léa Seydoux, Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand, Alan Doyle
Written by Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris and Brian Helgeland and Paul Webb
Directed by Ridley Scott

Very early on in our screening of director Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, we can remember thinking: "Uh Oh. Forgot to make wallpapers for this one..." Two plus hours later we walked out of said screening thinking . . .

IN SHORT: Just what we needed. An English history lesson. [Rated . 140 minutes]

Robin Hood or, for our African-American friends, "Robin of the Hood" (that's really in the film. Swear to God.) is a ponderous origin story, tracing the history of one Robin Longstride from his orphanage at age six through his role as an archer in King Richard's (Danny Huston as the Lionheart) crusading army and a long and winding road that leads to the ascension of evil Prince John and nom de crime, sorta kinda, Robin Hood.

The film begins in 1199 A.D., at the end of ten years of war, with a battle on French territory during which Richard, and a good hunk of his army, is killed. Luckily, our soon to be hero has been locked in stocks for gambling between battles -- seriously -- and, while fleeing the scene, stumbles across dying nobleman Sir Robert of Loxley (Douglas Hodge). Said nobleman entrusts Robin with his sword and extracts a vow that the commoner will return said weapon to his father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max Von Sydow). That is where the former Maid, Marion (Cate Blanchett), comes into the picture. Blink and you'll miss hearing the chronology of her one week long marriage to Loxley. Don't blink and you'll have no problem understanding why the Robin is convinced by Sir Walter to masquerade as his son. (You need all that to bring this film into line with all the earlier films that just start with Robin of Loxley as Robin Hood).

Meanwhile, the Lion-Heart's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Eleen Atkins) has caught her youngest son John (Oscar Isaac) en flagrante with the niece of the French King. Which would be one heckuva a way to deliver the peace, if the Prince ever becomes King.

while John's bald henchman Godfrey (Mark Strong) goes about the kingdom collecting exhorbitant taxes and the heads of the noblemen who can't pay them. Godfrey's fealty isn't a question to the newbie King. But then, said newbie has dismissed from service the one man in his inherited court that knows anything about the art of war or the definition of "fealty". That would be William Marshall (William Hurt), who retires to his castle until the idiot King comes calling, just about the time the French bring the war to English shores.

Robin Hood does so very little thievin' it's almost an insult to the professionals who have given name to the profession. Besides, thievin' in wartime is called pillaging and, as long as you are on the winning side, pillaging is just all right by the powers that be.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Robin Hood, he would have paid . . .



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