Robin Hood Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The cover is boring for me. It’s a face and some blood and the star power is supposed to get me all hot and bothered. It doesn’t. The menu is another story. It’s got action from the film but with a painterly filter all over it to make it look like an oil painting in motion. I am a sucker for anything art related so this is where the hot and bothered comes in.

Features: 7/10

  • Unrated & Theatrical Version – Is this a feature? It’s the movie with the director’s original cut.
  • Director’s Notebook – I do like to see all the behind the scenes of action period piece movies. I feel like I’ve seen it all by now, but it’s a good thing to put on the disc for extra viewing pleasure. This is a feature that runs through the movie when you watch it again with screenshots of artwork, behind the scenes, and making of all with some commentary by Scott and others. I like to see how each element of the movie is put together behind the scenes.
  • The Art Of Nottingham – How do you create a real place with a fiction flare several hundred years later? Research and lots of mud.
  • Deleted Scenes – I don’t really get excited about deleted scenes, and these don’t add much so it’s no big loss that they ended up on the digital cutting floor. There are a couple that show a few seconds of character stuff like maid Marion suiting up for battle, but if it were left in the film it wouldn’t really have much impact except to add a bit of humor that’s not needed.
  • Rise & Rise Again: Making Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood – Lots of interviews and talking heads and background on the movie, which is awesome. I loved this one.
  • Digital Copy & DVD Version Of The Movie – Uh huh, it’s a digitial copy.

The Movie: 8/10
I won’t pretend to have LOVED Robin Hood. My ‘review’ might be a bit confusing because I really really enjoyed it on one hand and yet it didn’t rock my world on the other. I’ll talk about the best parts and the less than satisfying parts and see if I come up with a balance, a score, and a fair recommendation.

First, the weakest elements of the movie for me are hard to describe. I’m not a huge Russell Crowe fan so I’m always looking to him to rock my world and in this movie he’s just who he is. He does the physical stuff, he shoots a mean arrow. He’s commanding and compelling, but there isn’t much to sink my teeth into in terms of a character who lives up to his legacy, a great speaker, a motivator, an inspiration to the masses.

I sat watching the movie and there wasn’t any big spark for me. I can’t say how it is when a movie just grabs my guts and I’m totally THERE along for the ride. I was compelled by the history and the fiction, but maybe I was too confused by where the line is drawn between the two so my mind is racing wondering what is fact and what is movie magic. I don’t think that’s a flaw, let’s face it, movie maker people want to tell a dynamic story, not cater to my need for either truth or fantasy:0

Now, what’s good? I really dig Kate Blanchett, mostly. I’m not a fan of her actorly ways, and she has a bit too much coy on ocassion, but then again she’s playing a woman who has been alone for 10 years while her husband is off to the crusades. She might be a bit playful when a sweaty dirty stranger crosses her path.

I really do love the epicness of it all. Ridley Scott is a master of the big and beautiful sets, sprawling landscapes and massive numbers of extras to fill the story and the screen with a sense of reality. I would like more grit and blood and guts, but I can accept a more tame version, even though I imagine those fights and battles would have been much more harrowing.

The telling of the tale of Robin Hood is a good change from the frolicking versions we have seen in the past. His origin story is fascinating so that is my favorite part of the whole thing. I have no idea of the reality, but I have to trust that Scott and his writers and producers did a fair amount of research. That’s why it feels so substantial. Even if I still have a hard time skirting the line between real and fantasy, it’s still a great potential rise of a legend.

There is a bit too much humor stuff in  places it doesn’t seem to fit, so that’s a turn off. I like dark, deep, gritty legends with battles and whatnot. So, I have to overlook the tamed version and hope for a really gory version sometime in my life.

I recommend Robin Hood if you love epic stories, history, drama, and action that makes you want to go to the Renaissance festival:) I actually do like all that so it’s a good one for me, even with the little bumps in the dirt road in my mind along the trail.

Audio & Video: 9/10
As always with Ridley Scott movies the cinematography and overall detail of every frame  drips with detail. This is one movie you really should see in high definition on as large a screen as you can get your hands on. The AVC encoded image is really a sight to behold as the movie is mostly candlelit and would be a nightmare for a lower bitrate format. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio really allows for some amazing vista and action sequences especially the final battle on the beach.

Audio is also handled well using the DTS-HD Master Audio codec, this really is an action packed event movie that has sound coming at you from all angles. The only complaint I did have was occassinally you could not tell what some of the actors were saying, I am going to blame it on some of the lame British accents (I am not saying British accents are lame, I am actually British! However, some of the actors in this movie have not quite got the hang of it).

Overall I loved Robin Hood (I am not in the majority though) and eagerly await Mr Scott’s Alien prequels which are coming very soon 🙂

Value: 8/10
This is a satisfying movie and the extras are substantial, so how can it not be worth the price? If it’s over 20 bucks, that’s too much for me to put it on my shelf, but if you tip the scale down a bit to around 15 I’m happy to have this incarnation of the Robin of Hood in my collection. If all you want is to experience the modernish take on the old tale, rent it and spend the rest of your cash on something lovely like some mead 🙂

Overall Score 8/10