Yesterday I was chatting with my old pal Amanda Conner — she of POWER GIRL renown — and she mentioned that she and her man, Jimmy Palmiotti — of JONAH HEX and many other comics — were on their way to see Ridley Scott's new ROBIN HOOD FLICK. My friend Olliver loved it, but I am always skeptical of any attempt at a rebooting of one of the legends held most dear in western culture, so I asked Jimmy to send in his analysis and here it is for your enlightenment:
I wanted to like ROBIN HOOD…and that might have been some of the problem. It had all the right elements; fantastic groundbreaking director, academy award-winning screenwriter and two fantastic actors. I was warned by early reviews, friends and random Twitter people that it was not very good, but I never let others make that call for me. If I'm interested in the movie and subject, I am going to see it, and I did.
Right off the bat I have to say that this movie is missing a key element in any Robin Hood movie. It’s missing the thrills, chills and…any form of joy. There are great little moments here and there, but between them we have way over two hours of men on horseback riding about, growling barely comprehensible dialogue that never seems to move the movie forward. Maybe if they cut some of the slow motion closeups out and trimmed a bit of the bad guys, it would have played better.
This is a classic example of style over substance in every single sense. Scene after scene, we see men fight and die and yet feel no emotional tug other than that we know Robin is the good guy and the guy with the scar is the bad guy. I had a hard time finding why I should care for Robin in the first place, and the by the numbers flashbacks of him and his dad were not helping one bit. I would have rather watched a movie called “Maid Marian: The Beginning,” but then I would have to cut out the scene in this movie where, along with the Lost Boys by her side, we are forced to witness the ridiculous cliché of having Marian fight in the final battle. Nothing pulled me right out of the movie more than that scene. To me, having them find the post-apocalypse Statue of Liberty half sunk in the sand would have made more sense to me.
Overall, its not horrible; it just felt really hollow to me. I kept wishing for the characters to be written less like cardboard cutouts and, worst of all, the movie felt worn-out and familiar. Look, GLADIATOR (2000) was brilliant, ALIEN (1979) a staple sci-fi film. This movie felt like it was shot the week after KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2005). I found myself bored…and that’s something a movie named ROBIN HOOD should never do. If the last 10 minutes were the first, then we would be having a different conversation. If you enjoyed KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, then you will like this..I guess. I expected something more, even after being told to expect less.