The first reviews of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood were scheduled to break with the film’s Wednesday opening at Cannes, but Empire broke first, followed by THR, Variety and indieWIRE. Verdict: decidedly mixed.
A conjectural “origins” story about the career birth of England’s legendary people’s outlaw, Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” is neither as good as the director’s personal best period epic, “Gladiator,” nor a match for Hollywood’s most memorable previous accounts of the beneficent bandit of Sherwood Forest (it is, however, superior to the Kevin Costner entry two decades back, which I at the time dubbed “Robin of Wood”).
“Bottom Line: This rousing “prequel” to the familiar Robin Hood tale strains to appeal to too many demographics.”
“Verdict: Grown-up but not too serious; action-packed but not juvenile… Not only is this the mullet-free Robin Hood movie we’ve been waiting decades for, it’s also Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe at their most entertaining since Gladiator.”
“Can you not sing a happy tune?” growls a not-so-merry man in “Robin Hood,” and one might direct the same question at Ridley Scott’s grimly revisionist take on England’s most famous outlaw. Impressively made and serious-minded to a fault, this physically imposing picture brings abundant political-historical dimensions to its epic canvas, yet often seems devoted to stifling whatever pleasure audiences may have derived from the popular legend. With a brawny Russell Crowe in the title role, pic looks to hit its B.O. target in most markets, though overall muted reactions may hold Universal back from a king’s ransom Stateside.