“The Hero rose until he became a Legend!”
Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Relativity Media in association with Scott Free Productions present…
Truly, a master of epic films! The story revolved on how a man with a vague history became the hero and how his legend began!
Interestingly, the director and crew have given the right ambiance to relive the tale and make it memorable for the audience to see! To add, I can say that it was entertaining fun to watch though less gritty from the other films produced in the past especially comparing it with Kingdom of Heaven. The beginning of the film was quite slow in setting the tone from two countries with a bitter rivalry! Here, it carries on what is happening simultaneously on both France’s battlegrounds and London’s infidelities which sets in motion a bloody conspiracy!
Director Sir Ridley Scott (Gladiator) delivers another sword and sandal film that follows a story of a man who was born to lead and to serve his country despite the oppression from the law! Cinematographer John Mathieson (Hannibal) collaborates with the Director to capture the lore of an anarchic land! He works with clear vision giving awe aspiring shots on both in-land landscapes, fields of green and scenic coasts of England!
Most of the cast made a commendable performance including Mark Strong’s stoic character. Other performers were a stereotyped and dull like Danny Huston (The Constant Gardener) is King Richard “The Lionheart” who I always find not interesting. He is well received by critics but I do perceive his monotonous delivery and facial expressions with any profoundness for neither intensity nor versatility his undoing. He was the “comeback King” so to speak and we can leave it at that! Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) is Lady Marion Loxley, as a strong woman she resembles duty and honor for her husband and inherited land from her Father–in-Law Sir Walter Loxley played by the greatly adulated Max Von Sydow (The Minority Report) who always delivers a wonderful performance! She gave a decent portrayal of a wife torn by her husband’s return home. I just cannot approve her constant annoying and repetitive smirk on men bantering about her capabilities or in her lost marriage. Nonetheless, still a great find for talent to portray the female lead role, partnering with Russell was a match made in heaven!
I simply find it profound on how Sir Ridley captures very intricate details that gives the film its form to not just tell the story and be entertained but to also to learn from it especially in history. Things like how people from Royalty have this opulent lifestyle which is given and yet when it comes to servitude to his people becomes unrepentantly disgraced! While they have this luxury not by mere wealth alone as basis, with family and having wives to do with becomes a social norm and yet making them untouchable by laws of man!
Another example was with Chancellor William Marshal, a trusted and faithful servant of King Richard, portrayed by William Hurt (The Incredible Hulk) who sees a foreboding treachery that lies within their ranks! They have this saying “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer!” which covers the overall impact of the premise from the start until the end!
Other points to ponder is the children of Sherwood Forest which gives a good backdrop on how they came to be juvenile delinquents in the first place since London’s men has been fighting in the Crusades for the last ten years which I easily find as a strong foundation giving emphasis and meaning to the whole story, although it was quite ironic when they started as a nuisance for the Loxley estate then turned into a “small force” to reckon with and even served a better purpose as allies with the uprising.
The fight scene at the shores was a bit inadequate and superficial. Which I do consider one of the lowest points of the film, with so little room to move and expand the storyline it was given emphasis merely on a duel of two countries rather than of its significance in the past! The climactic battle between Robin Longstride portrayed by the indispensible Rusell Crowe (Cinderella Man) shooting the arrow at Godfrey played the consistently repugnant and outstanding at the same time Mark Strong (Sunshine) was the only moment that gave me shivers to my spine. This mole was the first foe to be circumvented before the Sheriff became his mortal enemy! On a side note, why would there be a need for Marion to be in the fight? And more so, the children who rode on smaller horses seemed farfetched considering they will be in a fight with French knights with armor and battle training, it was not necessary and more importantly looks absolutely ridiculous!
It was a wonderful film, not with the same calibre with his other films having the same type of battle scenes and great speeches before the conflict commences but still it got me thinking of the connection with Balian of “Kingdom of Heaven”! In end of the story, it showed that King Richard the Lionheart was going to Jerusalem to bring it back to Christians from the Muslims, then with shame and bankruptcy, he plunders every Kingdom he could set upon before trying to go back to London. These crusades have so much more to teach the populace not just with the Kingdoms involved seeking to conquer other lands or the prove which is the more deserving religion to rule the world but rather it was the men who impose their power and be responsible for their actions…not just to his fellow men but to God as well!