Anchor Bay // 2010 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 19th, 2010
A revisionist history of The Prince of Thieves as imagined by nerds.
You know what's been missing in the various retellings of the legendary Robin Hood story? Dragons and bald sorcerers!
When Robin Hood was but junior archer, he had the unfortunate experience of watching his father get torched by a dragon. Years later, he's assumed his do-gooder status of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor and rebelling against the totalitarian rule of Prince John and his flunky, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Julian Sands, Boxing Helena). He also strikes up a budding relationship with Maid Marian (Erica Durance, Smallville).
But before he can totally get into his groove, the dragon reappears and starts messing around with the countryside. Worse, he/she/it appears to be working for the Sheriff, forcing Robin and his band of Merry 20-something hipsters to, wait, what is this, go through a forest portal and talk to wizards?!
Oof. I took this one straight to the solar plexus. I have no doubt that Peter Deluise -- he of 21 Jump Street and Stargate fame -- did not intend to cause irreparable damage to my brain, but, alas, he succeeded. Beyond Sherwood Forest is a giant bag of flaming emu droppings, a film noteworthy because a) it manages to make dragons and wizards and Robin Hood hugely boring, b) while also dropping a monster deuce on the Robin Hood mythology.
All of this would be forgivable if there was a subatomic particle of fun to be had here. And I'm not picky, either. Even if the amusement arrives via the time-tested "so awful that it's inadvertently entertaining in its crappiness" I'm cool with that. But Sherwood is a vast wasteland of nothingness, a soulless, made-for-TV corpse of a fantasy adventure that hates me.
The trouble starts with the characters, none of whom ever approach three dimensions. Robin Hood is a weenie, Little John a bumbling meathead, the Sheriff a cardboard cutout and...who else was in this stupid thing? Oh, right, the lovely Erica Durance, who's spunky and charismatic in Smallville, but the stereotypical tough-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold caricature here. Actually, the only character that is even mildly interesting is the dragon.
That's right, typically the weakest element in these low-budget adventures -- the CGI beastie of the week -- is the high point. The dragon animation that the visual effects craftspeople have cooked up is actually one of the stronger computer-generated creations I've seen in a Syfy movie. Faint praise, I know, but genuine; the dragon stuff was cool.
Too bad it was wasted on a ridiculous plot, a slab of incoherence about magic slavery and revenge and redemption and supernatural trees. I just watched this movie yesterday and I'm already struggling to conjure up the finer plot points, even though the characters talked about it incessantly.
I think we've devoted enough Internet monkey power to this turd. If you should stumble upon Sherwood Forest in the wild, do us all a favor and empty your quiver into it.
The disc: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 surround, no extras.
Sherwood needs a healthy dose of deforestation pronto.
Guilty. What lies beyond Sherwood Forest? Pain.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated