The plot is much changed from the usual Robin Hood story, and the whole thing is rather a damp squib.
From Errol Flynn's dashing turn as a caddish outlaw, to Disney's much-loved animated version, all the way to the 1991 epic starring Kevin Costner, Robin Hood has been a hit with cinema-goers for decades. What a shame, then, to find that this latest version of the fabled hero's adventures, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett (as Robin and Marion respectively), is a rather a damp squib. Directed by Ridley Scott, Hood is a lowly archer who assumes the life of a dying knight - Robert Loxley - whom he happens upon while returning from war. In fact the storyline has changed so much that it could almost have been given a different name. Chances are it would have received more favourable reviews, for although this version of Robin Hood is not a bad film, the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies. Gone is Richard the Lionheart (killed in the opening battle sequence) and gone is Hood's main adversary, the Sheriff of Nottingham, replaced instead by the fictitious English knight (and traitor) Sir Godfrey, played by Hollywood's go-to British bad guy Mark Strong. What's more, there's no stealing from the rich to give to the poor here. Still, in spite of all the changes to the familiar version of the story, Crowe saves the day in his role as the kind-hearted marauder Robin Hood. Even with his questionable accent, the gruff New Zealand-born actor is without doubt the strongest aspect of the film. Also making a big impact is the long-time Scott collaborator, the composer Marc Streitenfeld, whose soundtrack adds to the movie's blockbuster appeal. All things considered, it's a decent enough adaptation, but it leaves you with the feeling that it could have been so much more.