Robin Hood was by far and away my favourite childhood hero: the gang of mates hanging out in the woods far away from adult supervision, singing lewd ballads, cooking bangers over an open fire, the being super cool with the bows and arrows business, and making a living beating the crap out of the King’s men. And all the time wearing a fetching green: bonus!
So I eagerly awaited this latest rendering of the Robin Fable – this time by master revisioner, Ridley Scott. Think of it as “Robin Begins”, a reimagining the whole “before Robin Hood was Robin Hood” thing – (which I guess kind of misses the point of bothering retelling a much loved story? I refer to Tim Burton’s Alice as a yet more criminal version of this trend.)
I won’t even bother explaining the plot. Not that it’s unengaging, it’s just frakkin convoluted. But it’s Ridley Scott – and (grudgingly) Russell Crowe – and they still hold it all together in a compelling and really rather enjoyable way. The battle scenes are brutal, the detailed portrait of Medieval life is remarkable, the cast is stalwart and universally fine. If you’re wanting japes-ing, wisecracking, thigh-slapping Merry Men, watch Bad Boys. But otherwise sit down, shut up and hang on.
The movie shot in Blighty, of course. The stand-out location is Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire, the site of the tumultuous and bloody final battle of the movie. The Beeb has some great behind-the-scenes images here. You’ll also see it again (if you are so inclined) as the location for Shell Cottage in the next Harry Potter.