The results are in for the weekend box-office, and Tony Stark has officially delivered a beat-down to Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. After catching Scott's Robin Hood over the weekend, I can't say I'm surprised that Iron Man 2 has emerged victorious, but it is surprising that a movie with so much going for it on paper has landed with a thud. Everything seemed to be in place, you had two Academy award winners, a great figure from popular myth, and origin-story fever in full swing. But, so far the flick has only earned so-so reviews and unfortunately, even more bad press for Crowe.
Maybe I should have suspected that something was up when reports from the production were gossip items about last minute rewrites, casting musical chairs, and even acts of God working against the production. But I'm an optimist and I was ready and willing to give the film a chance, but I just left that theater feeling kind of cheated and wondering; where did it all go wrong? So even though it may seem a tad harsh to point the finger, no one ever said that life was fair, and after a good long think I've come up with three possible suggestions for the guilty party.
After the jump; whose fault was it?...
As much as it might pain me say it, sometimes Ridley Scott doesn't know when to quit. I remember telling a friend once that what I loved about Scott as a director was as I put it: "If the man wants a slow-mo shot of a unicorn, dammit, he's getting one". Unfortunately, what used to be a compliment has now become a complaint. Sitting in that theater, I couldn't help think that there was a pretty good 90-minute movie in there somewhere, but by the time Scott had bloated this sucker out to two hours, the thrill was long gone. Scott's cache as a director allows him a certain amount of wiggle-room to create his epics, but I think he needs a reminder that bigger (or in his case, longer) isn't always better.
One common theme of the reviews for Hood was the 'morose' Robin that Crowe presents in the flick. Personally, I think some critics were letting their personal impressions of Crowe feed their interpretation of the performance, because in the myth, it wasn't Merry Robin and the Merry Men, and Crowe is as merry as he needs to be considering the context of the story. But, personal feelings aside, I can say that I look forward to the day when Crowe gets to go back to doing a variety of roles and not just variations on Maximus. Sure, he's got a great thousand-yard stare and is built for macho pontification, but he's also an incredible dramatic actor, and these kinds of manly-men parts (while satisfying to a gal who digs the gruff type) are getting stale.
This might not come as a welcome thought for fans of Loxley and the gang, but it was about half-way through the film that I realized that the 'origin' of Robin really isn't all that interesting. When it comes down to it, the tale of Robin Hood doesn't really get exciting until he's Robin Hood -- you know, robbing from the rich, giving to the poor. But in Hood, so much time is devoted to creating a supposedly 'realistic' setting around the myth that you kind of wish they would just get to the good part.
Well, now that I've given you three possible reasons as to why Robin Hood failed to set the box-office on fire this weekend, I'm going to turn it over to you; place your votes for who you think deserves the blame.
(Also check out Dawn Taylor's "From Nottingham to Robin Hood" piece from yesterday.)