Robin Hood (Unrated Director’s Cut) (Blu-ray)

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Rating: PG-13 and Unrated

Starring:
Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride
Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley
Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley
William Hurt as William Marshal
Mark Strong as Godrey
Oscar Isaac as Prince John
Danny Huston as King Richard the Lionheart
Eileen Atkins as Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mark Addy as Friar Tuck
Matthew Macfadyen as Sheriff of Nottingham
Kevin Durand as Little John
Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet
Alan Doyle as Allan A’Dayle
Douglas Hodge as Sir Robert Loxley
Léa Seydoux as Isabella of Angoulême

Directed by Ridley Scott

Special Features:
The Art Of Nottingham
Deleted Scenes With Intro And Commentary
Rise And Rise Again: Making Of
Director’s Notebook

Includes DVD Copy Of Robin Hood

Includes Digital Copy Of Robin Hood For Portable Media Players

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
French and Spanish Languages
Running Time: 156 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and visionary director Ridley Scott (‘Gladiator’) reunite for the untold story of the man behind the legend. In an age of oppression and shameless tyranny, an outlaw becomes the unlikely hero that saves a nation and inspires generations to fight for freedom.”

“Robin Hood” is rated PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content

Mini-Review:
The best way to describe this movie is “Robin Hood Begins.” In fact, the final text on the screen is “And the legend begins” (or something like it). Rather than being a typical Robin Hood movie showing Merry Men stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, we see all the events leading up to putting Robin in that situation. We see the end of the Crusades, Robin returning to England under the guise of a knight, Robin going to Nottingham, etc. All the elements like Prince John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, Little John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and others are here, just in their earlier incarnations.

And like in “Batman Begins,” we see a grittier, more realistic telling of the story. When people are shot with arrows or sliced by swords, there is blood. The costumes and sets are more historically accurate (or at least it seems that way). They also take liberties with the legend – King Richard is killed early on and Prince John quickly becomes King John. We see a lot more of the politics leading up to the terrible situation and more religious commentary. The result is less pulp adventure and more historical drama.

As you would expect, the performances are excellent. Russell Crowe is good as Robin Longstride. His action scenes are impressive and his scenes flirting with Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley are a lot of fun. The two of them are different from a lot of previous versions of their characters because they’re both in their 40′s. I don’t recall Marion being as realistic as she’s portrayed in this version. They’re backed up by an excellent cast that includes Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley, William Hurt as William Marshal, Mark Strong as Godrey, and Danny Huston as King Richard the Lionheart. Kevin Durand also finally gets a chance to play a hero as Little John.

The only marks against “Robin Hood” is that it is pretty long. It clocks in at over 2 and a half hours and it starts to feel more like a mini-series than a feature film. And thanks to a lot of the political intrigue necessary for the setup, it can drag on at times. The ending also seems a bit rushed. Robin going into hiding with his Merry Men is practically a footnote to the film. Marion also riding into battle in the finale seems quite forced.

If you’d like to see a good period action drama, then “Robin Hood” will fit the bill. Fans of Ridley Scott, Crowe and Blanchett will also want to check it out.

This Blu-ray set includes a DVD and digital copy of the film. You also get the theatrical and unrated director’s cut of the film. The director’s cut is 15 minutes longer than the theatrical one. The highlight of the bonus features is a documentary covering pre-production, production, and post-production. You get detailed looks at the costuming, sets, locations, props, filming, and more. Crowe and Scott also discuss their strategies for re-imagining Robin Hood. Also included are some deleted scenes, art galleries, and the “Director’s Notebook.” In the “Director’s Notebook” you can watch the film and at key scenes it jumps out and shows little featurettes with Ridley Scott. Overall it’s a pretty comprehensive look at the making of the movie.

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