Film (with rating): Robin Hood (PG-13)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
unique retelling of the classic tale of Robin Hood (Russell Crowe), an expert
archer who tries to save the corrupted town of Nottingham from the clutches of
a despotic sheriff.
off, this is not the “Robin Hood” of your youth, nor is it for
today’s youth. That’s not to say it’s good or bad. Just different than what
some might believe they’re in store for.
Many reviewers have been peeved that director Ridley Scott’s
“Robin Hood” is not a modern version of the Errol Flynn classic, nor
is it historically accurate. Then others gripe that all the “fun and
fantasy” has been ripped from a classic fable and replaced with the dark
reality of 12th century England. But let’s step back here. This is
Scott and Crowe, teaming up one again. Think of “Gladiator:” Was that
fleshed from the history books? Probably not. Same with “Robin Hood.”
It was not created to be viewed as a documentary or a glorified version of
When judged on its own, the film is not bad. Don’t try to
make it a documentary or a “Gladiator Part 2,” or else you will be
disappointed. Scott successfully took lots of creative license in his latest
movie, mixing his own vision in with historical truths and Hollywood
style. See it for the amazingly
strong cast (which also includes a superb Cate Blanchett, once again shining in
a period piece) and the beautiful yet brooding cinematography.
It also appears this movie is a prequel to other films,
which will most likely detail the more well-known legend of Robin Hood. That
explains some of the deviations from the Robin Hood lore we’ve all grown up
Crowe displayed his acting prowess once again, but in this
role, he unfortunately seemed a bit understated.
If you’re looking for a dark, mysterious action film with
flavors of a classic legend, “Robin Hood” will work for you. If you
want a swashbuckling tale with Friar Tuck, Merry Men and lovely and docile
Marion, then rent the Flynn version. This one will not please you. For me, I
enjoyed it. I went in knowing I was getting a dark period-type piece with lots
of action, brooding and atmosphere. I didn’t really care about those Merry Men
“Rise and Rise Again: Making Ridley Scott’s ‘Robin Hood’”
What to serve for dinner: Rather than dine on 12th century food,
let’s dish up a few menu items famous at the Robin Hood British pub in Sherman
Oaks. Whip up some steak and kidney pie (southernfood.about.com) with a side of
Scotch eggs (allrecipes.com) and the best English beer you can find.
Steak and Kidney Pie
* Pastry for 1-crust pie
1 beef kidney
2 lbs. round steak, cubed
2 tablespoons oil, drippings, or shortening
2 cups chopped onions
* 2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups water
4 cups diced raw potatoes
6 Tbs. flour
Cover beef kidney with lightly salted water, cover and
refrigerate overnight. Drain; cut out tubes and white membrane with scissors.
Dice meat. Brown kidney and steak in hot fat. Add onions, seasoning, and 1 1/2
cup water. Simmer until meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.
Blend together flour and remaining 1/2 cup water; stir into
meat mixture. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture thickens. Pour into
Roll out pastry slightly larger than top of casserole. Place
over meat mixture and trim to overhang 1″. Fold under and flute against
inside edge of casserole. Cut several steam vents in center. Bake at 425
degrees until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Serves 8.
NOTE: You can use the milder-flavored lamb kidney instead of
the beef, if available. You can skip the soaking.
1 quart oil for frying
2 pounds pork sausage
4 cups dried bread crumbs, seasoned
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375
degrees. Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover,
remove from heat, and let eggs sit in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove
from hot water, cool and peel. Flatten the sausage and make a patty to surround
each egg. Very lightly flour the sausage and coat with beaten egg. Roll in
bread crumbs to cover evenly. Deep fry until golden brown, or pan fry while
making sure each side is well cooked. Bake in the preheated oven for 10
minutes. Cut in half and serve over a bed of lettuce and sliced tomatoes for
garnish. If mustard is desired it looks beautiful over this.
What to talk about over dinner: Compare this to more traditional tellings of the
legend. Did you like it or not? Why? Would you have preferred a more
“merry” telling of the tale? Do you think Crowe did a good job? What
did you think about Blanchett’s Marion? What is your favorite Crowe movie? How
many pairings have Crowe and Scott done? What was the best? What do you want to
see Crowe do next? Do you think this is a prequel to a more traditional
retelling of the Robin Hood legend? Or do you think Scott just tagged on the
Robin Hood name to attract viewers to his brooding, dark actioner? What is your
favorite period piece about this time in English history? Has Crowe finally
shed his bad boy personal image?