Saturday, May 15, 2010
A posse of filmgoers (including moi) chatted each other up in the street, as we waited for management to swing open the doors to the theatre, and grant passage to the latest Ridley Scott helmer starring blustery Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe.
When you consider the gist of the scuttlebutt, sane folks catching snippets of the dialogue as they passed by, might have been mystified as to why we were waiting in line to catch the flick.
"I heard it sucks," one forty-something male hissed to all within earshot in attendance with his wife.
"Russell Crowe stormed out of an interview in Cannes yesterday when a journalist probed a little too far in respect to the legitimacy of his accent," I snickered.
"Well, that's Russell Crowe," another sniped.
"At least Crowe didn't toss a phone at him," I laughed back.
Yes, there has also been a lot of negative ink spilling out from the perches of major film reviewers around the country, which piqued my own curiosity.
In view of the comments that have been offered up in recent days - it became evident to me that Crowe's "Robin Hood" - was not going to turn out to be your run-of-the-mill band-of-merry-men action-adventure.
Thus, die-hard film buffs would have to come to grips with the novel hybrid, in their own way artistically (and cerebrally).
For example, film fans expecting opening scenes that dive into familiar territory - with Robin and his gang of thieves stealing from the rich and giving to the poor right-off-the-bat - may be a bit confused by the opening scenes.
In what amounts to a sort-of prequel - Ridley Scott has back-tracked - and laid the groundwork for an obvious sequel while squaring away precious details that have any bearing on the current epic on tap at a Theatre near you.
For example, when the flick lights up the silver screen, Robin Hood (and his loyal men) are archers in the King's army during a ten-year crusade in Ye old England.
When the King is murdered during a ferocious battle in the field, Robin is assigned the task of informing the Queen, at which point the heir to the throne (King John) is installed in his Royal stead.
In a final battle against the French, Hood ends up playing a significant role in the successful defeat of the enemy, at a crucial point in English history.
At a time when the military is divided against the unpopular King, Robin rises to the occasion when he promises to smooth the waters over with the King's men provided there is a "Charter of Rights" for all citizens.
"You want a castle for every man?" King John mocked in disgust.
"No. Every man's home is his castle."
There is a roar of approval from the soldiers in the rank and file.
"We only ask for liberty."
The persuasive Hood manages to influence the King with the noble notion.
"I swear on my Mother's grave that you shall have it."
Of course, the King turns out to be a snibbling little weasle, with no backbone.
Once the battle is won, King John burns the Charter, and denounces Robin Hood as an enemy of the state.
Now, the legend as we know it, begins!
There is a lot to like about this film - the superb acting - for example.
Both Russel Crowe and Kate Blanchett inhabit the skin of their characters seamlessly.
All the supporting players have been ably cast, too, in roles that suit them.
The script was well-crafted - with a delightful balance - between the dramatic and the humorous.
On occasion, the spoken word rises up and resonates, earmarking the film as a potential classic.
Although the soundtrack echos the Gladiator theme on occasion - for the most part - the original music buttresses up the emotions and intensifies the drama to a level where it can't help but drive the filmgoer to the edge of their seat rooting for their heroe (or - anti-hero - whichever the case may be).
Yes, even the villains are so well-fleshed out, that it is difficult not to applaud them, their delicious machinations are so diabolical.
The costumes are beautifully-crafted.
Likewise, the cinematography, is visually-stunning.
And, of course, Ridley Scott is at the top of his game.
Long live Robin Hood!