Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Crowe And Scott Reunite For The Big Budget Mess ‘Robin Hood’

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Crowe And Scott Reunite For The Big Budget Mess ‘Robin Hood’

The ads for Robin Hood, the new film by screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River) and director Ridley Scott (American Gangster), feature a rough-and-gruff, bear-like Russel Crowe grimacing at the camera while firing an arrow. Is this enough to draw audiences in? Crowe is certainly not the same leading man he was back when he teamed up with Scott for the first time in Gladiator back in 2000, for which he urned an Academy Award. Since then, he has starred in such vehicles as Proof of Life, Cinderalla Man and State of Play. All had Crow as top billing…all were bombs. But producers at Universal, which had a disastrous year in 2009 and continues to this year with such duds as Leap Year, The Wolfman, Green Zone and Repo Men, are hoping that the familar story about a noble thief will be enough attract big audiences (they won the rights in a vicious bidding war with all of the other major studios). The story of Robin Hood has been told many, many times. And, from Prince of Theives to Men in Tights, it’s often equalled box office gold. Just as it might this time. Maybe.

Aside from Crowe’s questionable box office clout, the production was plagued with bad press, including Sienna Miller‘s high profile exit from the project (she was to play love interest Marion but was replaced by Cate Blanchett) and a name change late in the game. The original title was Nottingham, the city where the story takes place, but Scott felt that it lacked recognition. He also blasted the original draft of the screenplay by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. In April, he told Cinema Spy:

It was terrible, a page-one rewrite,If you’re going to invest in a Robin Hood story, why call it Nottingham? You’d end up spending 80% of the publicity budget explaining why it’s Nottingham and not just Robin Hood. It doesn’t make any sense.

That kind of squabbling, re-writing and last minute name change (it only became Robin Hood in February) is never a good sign for a big budget epic.

THE BUZZ: Based on most critics’ responses Scott’s revisionist epic is pleasant, if unremarkable escapist entertainment. However, none of those qualities is likely to be enough of a draw to compete against the blockbuster juggernaut that is Iron Man 2.

The Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert:

Robin Hood is a high-tech and well made violent action picture using the name of Robin Hood for no better reason than that it’s an established brand not protected by copyright. I cannot discover any sincere interest on the part of Scott, Crowe or the writer Brian Helgeland in any previous version of Robin Hood. Their Robin is another weary retread of the muscular macho slaughterers who with interchangeable names stand at the center of one overwrought bloodbath after another.

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