Reality Entertainment // 2010 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // April 8th, 2010
Learn the truth behind history's most famous outlaw.
Cleverly timed to hit shelves just ahead of Hollywood's latest iteration of the Sherwood hero comes a documentary that takes us behind the history and mythology of the character, shedding light on Robin Hood's legend.
Things start strongly enough, with a look at who and where Robin Hood (as a historical figure) may have come from, but problems persist almost from the beginning. The presentation is haphazard, featuring footage of an SCA-style historical group in costume doing their thing, while the narrator drones on as though he's reading from a textbook. Interspersed throughout are extremely cheesy 3D renders that could have come from the early 1990's, and they often have very little bearing on what the narrator is speaking about.
So while the presentation is weak, the subject matter doesn't fare much better. By the midpoint, the Robin Hood myth has been connected to such diverse sources as The Bible, the Ramayana, the Arthurian myths, and even Beowulf. It might be intriguing, if we had more to go on than soft-spoken narration. Many of the connecting strands are tenuous at best, and there's zero input from any sort of mythology or Robin Hood expert to corroborate what the internet tells me is total hogwash (admittedly, I am no Robin Hood scholar). Talk of solar deities, little green men, and druids fighting the encroaching Catholic Church are definitely new conversation pieces when talking of Robin Hood, but i can't help thinking the theories are off base and the documentary doesn't go a long way toward substantiating its arguments.
Most disappointingly, this earnest effort speaks of Hollywood's most filmed legend, but nothing of the films in question. No mention of the classic Errol Flynn version, no Sean Connery, not even Kevin Costner's feathered mullet. The marketing materials even manage to name drop the new Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott version. It would have been great to take a look at the many filmed versions of Robin of Locksley, but that ship has not yet come in.
Technically, the disc is awful, with an anamorphic image that's full of digital noise, aliasing, and digital artifacts. The sound is harsh, often distorted and muffled, and the menus are incomprehensible. There are a few vignettes included after the main feature, which is more of the same cheesy classical music with similar narration and one or two interviewees. It does little more than repeat information already delivered, and stretch out the runtime, which already felt three times longer than it actually was.
Above all else, the whole affair is just so bloody boring. This thing runs at a snail's pace. 101 minutes of your life will never feel longer, i can pretty much gaurantee it. Remember those horrid elementary school slide shows that teachers made you watch while a cassette tape droned on in the background, a special tone sounded to let the dozing teacher know when to twist the knob to the next picture of a Blue Whale? It's that dull.
This is one Robin Hood that the Sherriff of Nottingham can have. Guilty, and sentenced to hang from the neck until dead.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Reality Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Wikipedia: Robin Hood