MovieBob Reviews Robin Hood

first_imgStay on target MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Robin Hood is one of the worst movies I’ve watched this year. Before you go digging, most of the worst are things I didn’t end up having to review (did you know they remade Puppet Master? It was awful!) and it’s easily the stupidest by a country mile. But, in a dilemma that comes up more and more lately, it’s SO bad and SO stupid that I can’t honestly say I didn’t have a blast watching it. It absolutely sucks — it’s a hilariously incompetent, wrongheaded film on almost every level save that Otto Bathurst (late of Peaky Blinders) can apparently direct the heck out of an action sequence even if you don’t necessarily comprehend who’s supposed to be fighting who.We all kind of saw this coming, I realize: Nobody cared the last time they did Robin Hood as a feature and that was Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott reuniting to get sort-of back to Gladiator territory, they definitely weren’t going to care about a slightly overbudget BBC special ostensibly featuring Taron Edgerton fitting in one more action-guy part before that Elton John movie. But I don’t think anyone was sincerely expecting something that would end up so memorably botched — the kind of bad movie people end up talking about for years after, that fails because someone thought they had a big idea that nobody told them was a terrible idea until it was too late.The big idea in question: What if the legend of Robin Hood — already one of the most commonly-applied allegories for clashes of class and economic inequality — was even more head-slappingly obvious about it? Kicked-up for a Millennial audience not only with sexy young stars, strategically-diverse casting and a mandate to rework the characters and setting to be more like a 21st Century superhero story than most 21st Century superhero stories are already like Robin Hood stories in the first place; but also with familiar plot elements, characters and themes re-framed with specific blunt-force impossible-to-miss metaphorical reference to present-day political figures, social controversies, scandals, conspiracy theories, newsworthy events, etc.Remember the scene in Time Bandits where they meet John Cleese as the “real” Robin Hood and he’s talking about “redistributing wealth” like a modern-day Marixst/Socialist/whatever-you-like? It’s meant to be funny (and it is!) because that obviously only vaguely aligns with the “rob-from-the-rich” Robin Hood ethos and even if allowing for historical allegory that level of direct anachronism sounds absurd on its face. This Robin Hood didn’t get that message, though, and thus features Edgerton’s Robin of Locksley rallying his Merry Men with the same literal language (“It’s time we redistributed some wealth!”) in a scene clearly meant to be taken as serious and thoughtful.More absurd still, the movie seems to have no idea how stupid this all looks and sounds; going whole-hog on present-day classism allegory so unapologetically it feels like the first piece a preteen creative writing student comes up with after learning that “using famous stories as metaphors for modern issues” was a thing you were allowed to do. You can almost feel the tragically unselfconscious joy surging through the filmmakers as they land on each new reference point: “Robin Hood like Robin… HOODIE??” The proto-“Merry Men” managing to look like a medieval Antifa facing down royal guard wielding inexplicable wrought-iron SWAT Team riot shields, Nottingham miners looking like impoverished Virginia coal miners, bows and crossbows being wielded, edited and goosed-up with sound effects to come off more like machine guns, etc.The unquestioned centerpiece of this glorious idiocy: an extended Crusades sequence shot, edited, scored and even color-graded with unmistakable echoes of our universal film, TV and video-game visual-coding for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – featuring infantry-squads of archers conducting modern-style house-to-house urban warfare sweeps with longbows and arrows cocked and ready instead of rifles, then scattering amid a crossbow attack edited and foley’d to look and sound exactly like a machine-gun turret siege ending in “missile strike” aka catapult bombardment and a postscript with Things To Say about Abu Ghraib and Blackwater. You will not see a stretch of film concurrently more technically-sound yet astonishingly idiotic in theaters this year – I’m impressed that they pulled it off and I’m in AWE that nobody stopped them. To be clear: apart from the miscasting, cheesy dialogue and Ben Mendelsohn auditioning to be the new “Jeremy Irons wants too much money” guy – there’s nothing that says blatant metaphor is innately bad. But Robin Hood has no coherent sense of allegorical narrative holding its references together.Instead, it’s a ridiculous hodgepodge of blunt symbolism where one piece doesn’t connect to another in any meaningful way, the mixed metaphors clashing so badly it feels like unintentional parody: Going strictly in terms of allegorical reference point, the new Robin Hood legend (which we’re told upfront we ought to decouple from any specific time or historic reference point) is the story of how Robin of Locksley invents Antifa by organizing West Virginia coal miners against a conspiracy by The IRS and The World Bank because he’s angry that his house was foreclosed on after being drafted to fight in The Iraq War. Yes, I did say drafted – they don’t even bother to keep their “modern allegories” to actual modernity and just randomly throw some Vietnam in there too because it moves the plot along.And in case you thought Hollywood executives had stopped telling filmmakers to turn everything into Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, well… skip beyond the spoiler warning if you don’t want to know for sure, but:BEGIN SPOILERSThe big new angle here is that nobody knows Robin of Locksley is “The Hood” so does the Bruce Wayne “I’m a dumb rich guy” thing to “gather intel” because instead of “taxes because monarchy” now there’s a conspiracy storyline where The Sherriff of Nottingham is gouging the people so he and an evil Cardinal can secretly bankroll the Arab side in The Crusades to make the war run longer so the British Crown will falter and The Catholic Church can take over England. Because they thought Robin was dead for a while, Maid Marian is dating Will Scarlet who’s a rising-star pragmatic centrist politician who thinks he can “reason with” the evil rich guys instead of doing Hood stuff but during the big final battle against The Sherriff he figures out Marian is still into Robin because radicals are sexier and he accidentally gets burned up by a molotov cocktail on half his face (no, really) and this makes him turn evil so in the end he becomes the new Sherriff of Nottingham who’s going to hunt down Robin Hood for taking his girl. I didn’t make a word of that up.END SPOILERSSo, yes, Robin Hood sucks. But it certainly sucks with conviction; and I can sort of respect it for that even while acknowledging that it fails on every conceivable level including being bad enough to “so bad it’s good” (the PG-13 might be hurting there: Nothing this stupid should be so free of pointless blood-geysers or gratuitously-bared breasts.) I can’t say I wasn’t laughing the whole time, but I also know that I wasn’t supposed to be.last_img

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