Robin Hood (2010 film)

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Robin Hood
Robin Hood 2010 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRidley Scott
Produced by
Screenplay byBrian Helgeland
Story by
Starring
Music byMarc Streitenfeld
CinematographyJohn Mathieson
Edited byPietro Scalia
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • 12 May 2010 (2010-05-12) (United Kingdom/Ireland)
  • 14 May 2010 (2010-05-14) (North America)
Running time
140 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States[1]
LanguageEnglish
French
Budget$155–200 million[2]
Box office$321.7 million[3]

Robin Hood is a 2010 historical adventure film based on the Robin Hood legend, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, and Max von Sydow.

Development first began on the project in January 2007 with Universal Pictures' purchase of a spec script by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris which would see the film focus on a more prominent and sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham. Crowe would be cast in the title role, with Ridley Scott hired to direct later that same year. Rewrites would delay the film throughout 2008, with Brian Helgeland hired to rewrite the screenplay, which saw a refocus of the story to be about Robin Hood once again, abandoning the Nottingham angle entirely. Filming would commence in March 2009 throughout England and Wales.

Robin Hood held its world premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival the same day as its United Kingdom and Ireland releases. It was then released on 14 May 2010 in North America. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $321.7 million worldwide.

Plot[edit]

In the year 1199, Robin Longstride serves as a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart. A veteran of Richard's crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the King's conduct when the King asks his opinion, and Robin and his comrades—archers Allan A'Dayle and Will Scarlett and soldier Little John—find themselves in the stocks.

When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey, an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate King Richard. After chasing Godfrey away, Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. Before they depart to sail across the Channel, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley, to return his sword to his father in Nottingham.

Awaking to find his party in the Thames estuary, Robin must continue to assume the identity of Loxley to inform the royal family of King Richard's death. He witnesses the coronation of King John, who orders the collection of harsh new taxes and dispatches Godfrey to the North to do so—unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and to prepare for King Philip to invade England.

Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxley's elderly and blind father, Sir Walter, asks him to continue impersonating his son to prevent the Crown from seizing the Loxley family lands. Loxley's widow, Lady Marian, is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant.

Godfrey's actions incite the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes that King John agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and to unite his country. Having realised Godfrey's deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, French marauders plunder Nottingham. Robin and the northern barons arrive to stop Godfrey's men, but not before Godfrey has slain the blind Sir Walter.

As the main French expeditionary force begins its invasion of England on a beach below the cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the now united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempts to kill Marian and flees until Robin finally kills him with an arrow from afar. King Philip realises that his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrendering to Robin instead of to himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London, King John reneges on his promise to sign the charter and declares Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham announces the decree, and Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marian narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the kingdom of King John. "And so the legend begins."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development and pre-production[edit]

Earlier drafts of the script featured a bigger, more sympathetic focus on the Sheriff of Nottingham, with one idea being Robin Hood beginning as the Sheriff.

In January 2007, Universal Studios and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment acquired a spec script written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, creators of the TV series Sleeper Cell. Their script portrayed a more sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham and less virtuous Robin Hood, who becomes involved in a love triangle with Lady Marian. The writers received a seven-figure deal for the purchase.[4] The following April, Ridley Scott was hired to direct the film, with Sam Raimi and Bryan Singer also considered for the position.[5][6] Scott had attempted to get rights for himself and 20th Century Fox, but had previously collaborated with Grazer on American Gangster and signed on as director rather than producer.[7] Scott was not a fan of previous film versions of Robin Hood, saying "the best, frankly, was Mel Brooks's Men in Tights, because Cary Elwes was quite a comic".[8]

Scott's dissatisfaction with the script led him to delay filming, and during 2008 it was rewritten into a story about Robin Hood becoming an outlaw; at one point Crowe was even being considered for a dual role as both Robin and the Sheriff. Scott dropped the latter notion and Nottingham was retitled to reflect the more traditional angle. In June, screenwriter Brian Helgeland was hired to rewrite the script by Reiff and Voris.[9] Producer Marc Shmuger explained Scott had a different interpretation of the story from "the script, [which] had the sheriff of Nottingham as a CSI-style forensics investigator".[7] Scott elaborated the script, portraying the Sheriff of Nottingham as being Richard the Lionheart's right-hand man, who returns to England to serve Prince John after Richard's assassination. Though Scott felt John "was actually pretty smart, he got a bad rap because he introduced taxation so he's the bad guy in this", and the Sheriff would have been torn between the "two wrongs" of a corrupt king and an outlaw inciting anarchy.[10] Locations were sought in North East England including Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh Castle, and Kielder Forest. A portion of filming was intended to take place in Northumberland. As a result of the WGA strike, production was put on hold.[11] Scott sought to begin production in 2008 for a release in 2009.[12]

Filming was scheduled to begin in August in Sherwood Forest if the 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike did not take place,[13] for release on 26 November 2009. By July, filming was delayed,[14] and playwright Paul Webb was hired to rewrite the script.[7] The film was moved to 2010.[15] The Sheriff of Nottingham's character was then merged with Robin.[16] Scott explained Robin "has to retire to the forest to resume his name Robin. So he was momentarily the Sheriff of Nottingham."[17] Hedgeland returned to rewrite, adding an opening where Robin witnesses the Sheriff dying in battle, and takes over his identity.[18] Scott chose to begin filming in February 2009 in forests around London, having discovered many trees which had not been pollarded.[8] Scott was also pleased that the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Nottinghamshire set that was built during 2008 had aged into the landscape.[19] By February 2009, Scott revealed Nottingham had become his version of Robin Hood, as he had become dissatisfied with the idea of Robin starting as the Sheriff.[20]

Casting[edit]

Russell Crowe was cast into the role of Robin Hood in January 2007, with a fee of $20 million against 20% of the gross.[4] The next addition to the cast would be Mark Strong. When interviewed about his role, Strong stated his character of Sir Godfrey was originally called Conrad and was based on Guy of Gisbourne. He described the original character as having blond hair and a disfigurement from being struck by a crossbow bolt.[21]

In February 2009, Cate Blanchett was cast to play Maid Marion, replacing Sienna Miller who was previously cast, but exited in late 2008 as due to rewrites in the script, she was now considered too young for the role.[22][23] Rachel Weisz and Kate Winslet were considered for the role prior to Blanchett signing on.[24] Prior to the start of filming in March, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes and Alan Doyle were cast to portray Little John, Will Scarlet and Allan A'Dayle respectively, with Vanessa Redgrave as Eleanor of Aquitane, Oscar Isaac as Prince John and Léa Seydoux as Isabella of Angoulême.[25][26] Redgrave would withdraw from the film following the death of her daughter Natasha Richardson, replaced with Eileen Atkins.[27] The castings of William Hurt and Matthew Macfadyen were announced in April, with Macfadyen portraying the Sheriff.[28][29] Danny Huston would join in July as King Richard, a role Rhys Ifans was initially in line for.[30][31]

Filming[edit]

Mock castle at the Bourne Wood at the end of filming, showing the burnt-out castle gate.

Filming began on 30 March 2009.[32] In June and July, the crew filmed at Freshwater West, in Pembrokeshire, Wales.[33] The arrival of the dead king's cog (boat), accompanied by Robin and his men, at the Tower of London was filmed at Virginia Water, where a partial mock-up of the Tower was built. Extensive scenes from the film were filmed on the Ashridge Estate, Little Gaddesden, on the Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border.[34] Filming of the siege of Castle Chalus took place at the Bourne Wood at Farnham, Surrey during July and August.[35] Filming also took place at Dovedale near Ashbourne, Derbyshire.[36] On July 31, thieves broke into the props building at night and stole cameras that were being used for the film.[37]

The battering ram used during the filming at the Bourne Wood in Surrey, which was nicknamed 'Rosie' by the film crew and is worth £60,000, was donated by Russell Crowe to a Scottish charity, the Clanranald Trust to be used for battle re-enactments at a fort named Duncarron, built in a forest near the Carron Valley Reservoir in North Lanarkshire.[38]

One of the horses used in the film was named George, and was ridden by Crowe. This would be the same horse Crowe rode on during filming of Gladiator.[39]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack to Robin Hood, with music written and performed by Marc Streitenfeld, was released on 11 May 2010.[40]

No.TitleLength
1."Destiny"3:36
2."Creatures"2:09
3."Fate Has Smiled Upon Us"2:02
4."Godfrey"3:32
5."Ambush"1:16
6."Pact Sworn in blood"2:52
7."Returning the Crown"1:13
8."Planting the Fields"1:18
9."Sherwood Forest"2:19
10."John Is King"4:02
11."Robin Speaks"2:33
12."Killing Walter"2:02
13."Nottingham Burns"2:12
14."Siege"2:11
15."Landing of the French"2:49
16."Walter's Burial"3:05
17."Preparing for Battle"2:41
18."Charge"1:20
19."Clash"2:41
20."The Final Arrow"2:30
21."The Legend Begins"1:28
22."Merry Men"1:48
Total length:51:39[41]

Release[edit]

Robin Hood held its world premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival the same day as its United Kingdom and Ireland releases. It was then released on 14 May 2010 in North America.[42] The film premieredi in Japan on 10 December 2010.[43]

Home media[edit]

Robin Hood was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 20 September 2010 in the UK,[44] and the following day in the US.[45] While the UK home media releases only consisted of the extended 'Director's Cut' version (15 additional minutes), the US DVD and Blu-ray discs consisted of both the 'Director's Cut' version and the shorter theatrical version.[46]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

On its opening week, the film took £5,750,332 in the UK, ahead of Iron Man 2 and $36,063,385 in the US,[47] and grossed a total of £15,381,416 in the UK, $104,516,000 in the US and $321,669,741 worldwide.[48] The box-office figures were seen as somewhat of a disappointment, even though films set in medieval times tend to fare poorly and Robin Hood actually ranks as the second highest-grossing medieval film in recent memory.[49]

Critical reception[edit]

Russell Crowe's performance as Robin earned a mixed response, with some specific criticism aimed towards his accent in the film.

Critical reaction to Robin Hood has been mixed, with the film holding a 43% rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 245 reviews with an average rating of 5.34/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Ridley Scott's revisionist take on this oft-told tale offers some fine acting and a few gripping action sequences, but it's missing the thrill of adventure that made Robin Hood a legend in the first place."[50] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, rates the film at 53% based on a normalised rating of 40 reviews.[51]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two stars out of four, writing that "little by little, title by title, innocence and joy is being drained out of the movies."[52] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News felt that "the problem with Russell Crowe's new take on the legend is that it has one muddy boot in history and the other in fantasy. The middling result is far from a bull's-eye."[53] David Roark of Relevant accused Scott of replacing depth with detail and manipulative themes, like vengeance and unjust war, and stated that Scott had sucked the life out of a cherished fable, writing that "Scott has turned a myth, a concept essentially, into a history which emerges as dry, insensible clutter."[54] Anthony Lane, writing for The New Yorker, found the film "dour and dun", and was critical of Crowe's performance, stating "His Robin, however, seems pathologically glum; even when leading a cavalry charge on a white steed, he cuts a lonesome figure, marooned in his own feuds and ruminations".[55] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly was critical of the film not holding any traits of the Robin Hood myth, and said of Scott's direction and Crowe's performance "Scott and Crowe made a great movie out of Gladiator, tapping deep into the showbiz masculine bravura of ancient-world Hollywood spectaculars. In Robin Hood, Scott tries to go deep again, but in a misguided way — he thinks he’s making a pop-medieval Saving Private Robin. The battles are grainy and ”existential,” but what they aren't is thrilling. They're surging crowd scenes with streams of arrows and flecks of blood, and Crowe, slashing his way through them, is a glorified extra. He's so grimly possessed with purpose that he's a bore, and so is the movie".[56]

Among the film's more positive reviews, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "Scott has great command of his action sequences" and praised his "sophisticated approach to the material."[57] Ty Burr of the Boston Globe called the film "smart, muscular entertainment" and wrote that Crowe "possesses a presence and authority to make you forget all about Kevin Costner."[58] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post called Robin Hood "head and shoulders above the sort of lightheaded epics Hollywood typically offers during the summer season."[59] While making note of the film downplaying several of its characters, Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter was complimentary of the film, and gave praise to John Mathieson's cinematography and Marc Streitenfeld's musical score.[60]

Russell Crowe received criticism from the British media for his variable accent during the film. Empire said his accent was occasionally Scottish,[61] while Total Film thought there were also times when it sounded Irish.[62] Mark Lawson, while interviewing Crowe on BBC Radio 4, suggested there were hints of Irish in his accent, which angered Crowe who described this as "bollocks" and stormed out.[63][64]

A number of reviewers have criticised historical inaccuracies in the film. In The New York Times, A. O. Scott complained that the film made "a hash of the historical record".[65] In The Guardian, Alex von Tunzelmann complained that the film was filled with historical impossibilities and anachronisms. She notes that Richard the Lionheart was indeed fighting in France in 1199, but that he had actually come back from the Holy Land seven years earlier, so it is inaccurate to depict him fighting in France on his way back from the Holy Land in 1199, as is the case in the film.[66]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Notes
2010 Satellite Awards Best Costume Design Janty Yates Nominated [67]
2011 Art Directors Guild Awards Excellence in Production Design Award - Period Film Arthur Max Nominated [68]
People's Choice Award Favourite Action Film Robin Hood Nominated [69]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Stunt Ensemble Robin Hood Nominated [70]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Action Robin Hood Nominated [71]
Choice Movie Action: Action Russell Crowe Nominated
Choice Actress: Action Cate Blanchett Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture Richard Stammers, Allen Maris, Jessica Norman, Max Wood Nominated [72]
Saturn Awards Best Action/Adventure Film Robin Hood Nominated [73]

Potential sequels[edit]

Scott indicated he had been considering further films, in an interview with The Times on 4 April 2010, stating, "Honestly, I thought why not have the potential for a sequel?"[74] and "Let's say we might presume there's a sequel." At the world premiere in Cannes, Crowe declared he was willing "if I had the opportunity to address what happens next with Ridley and Cate, then great, let's do it."[75]

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External links[edit]