Action – not legend – shoots 2018 “Robin Hood” over the moon


4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / FRAME SHOTS

On the plus side, actors Taron Egerton as Robin of Loxley and Jamie Foxx as his Moorish mentor Yahya/John have great chemistry in Lionsgate's 2018 "Robin Hood." (4K frame shots courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

“ROBIN HOOD”


4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy; 2018; PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive references; streaming via Amazon Prime (4K), FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), iTunes (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube


Best extra: Seven-part making-of






WELL, the 2018 “Robin Hood,” starring Taron Egerton as Robin of Loxley and Jamie Foxx as his Moorish mentor Yahya/John, is nothing like your parent’s Robin Hood.


Or your grandparents or anyone else’s. It’s a first time experience for Ben Chandler and David James Kelly, making their film writing debut, and director Otto Bathurst (“Peaky Blinders,” “Black Mirror”), who swings from TV to the big screen. There’s so many changes to the original story – Marian (Eve Hewson) is no “Maid” here, she’s a thief, not a lady of the court; Robin, veteran of the Crusades, is trained by who used to be Little John (Foxx); battles become contemporary warfare; the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) stands in for Donald Trump; Will Scarlet (Jaimie Doman), Robin’s kinsman, is … different.

Let’s say only the names remain the same. Mostly.


“Clearly this guy, this mythical character was, in my mind, this kind of full-bore militarized, anarchist, truth-seeker, justice fighter. Basically, he was a major thorn in the side of government, organization, king, religion – whatever was oppressing or subjugating or abusing the people at that time, or causing the inequality or the injustice of that time.” – Director Otto Bathurst, “The Legend Reborn: Origins”


Rottentomatoes.com gave “Robin Hood” 2018 an amazing 15 percent, with audiences ranking it at 43. So there are some that like it, and that makes sense. Those who loved the 1938 film starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone – the closest to the original legend and book by Howard Pyle – couldn’t stand the 1991 version with Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman, a favorite for many who grew up in the ‘90s. There have been dozens of interpretations for the big screen and small. Each has it fans. So will this.



Robin, Lord of Loxley Hall, is drafted into the Crusades to fight for the Holy Land allowing the Sheriff of Nottingham to have him proclaimed dead and seize his property. Modern as opposed to Medieval warfare is used throughout the film.

Robin and his fellow soldiers use English longbows against smaller, superior Arabic models. Arrows fly as if released from a Gatling gun. Master Archer Lars Andersen of Denmark, called the "Real-Life Legolas," was hired to teach the cast archery.

Robin and Yahya/John initially meet as enemies.

Yahya pleads for his son's life when they're captured by the English army.


Still, very little of the original remains. Bathurst reboots Sherwood’s medieval setting to modern day including attitudes, customs, clothing and warfare. The Sheriff wears a fake blue suit, and scenes recreate the look of Assassin’s Creed. Robin still tries to right the wrongs visited on the poor and marginalized, while stealing and redistributing the One-Percenters’ wealth. He longs to put an end to political and religious corruption. Like Bruce Wayne, he hides his Batman behind a dim, party-hearty Locksley and while Batman becomes the Hood.


The strain to be relevant is awkwardly obvious; we never lose ourselves in the story. And this is only the beginning. Bathurst, Egerton of the “Kingsman” films, and Foxx of “Ray” and “Django Unchained,” hope their “Robin Hood” is the first of many sequels.


Marian is played by Eve Hewson. She and Robin are lovers before he departs on the Crusades. In this version, she's a thief, not a lady of the court.

Robin and Marian look out over the grounds of Loxley Hall.

Will Scarlet (Jaimie Doman) and Marian feed the hungry and homeless at Nottingham castle. They have become lovers since she believes Robin is dead.

The town of Nottingham.

The Sheriff, obviously based on Donald Trump, rallies the peasants. Some are fanatic supporters, while others obviously distrust him.


VIDEO

IMDB reports “the set and costume designers were instructed to make everything one-third historically correct, one-third contemporary, and one- third futuristic to achieve the movie’s unique look.” Lionsgate Films provides an excellent 2160p transfer (2.40:1) with impressive color, depth and detail. It was shot at 8K and mastered 4K with Dolby Vision. Naturally, this is a serious uptick from the enjoyable Blu-ray. Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ provide natural shadings, highlights and fluctuation in color throughout from costumes to complexions, from sets to locations. “Robin Hood” was digitally filmed in Croatia and Hungary.


AUDIO

An eight-channel Dolby Atmos and default Dolby HD surround delivers a very active soundtrack throughout the room. Battle sequences and crowd scenes make the most of height speakers. Dialogue is crystal clear. Joseph Trapanese of “The Greatest Showman,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Oblivion,” has written a classic orchestral score. “I’m a huge fan of creating modern sounding scores that are contemporary that are interesting, but also classic at the same time,” he says in “Rockin’ Robin: The Music.”


There are no period instruments. Bass and percussive elements soar from shivers to thunder, strings from sweet to mysterious. It’s worth a separate purchase.


“The score … was one area where we really could have gone off beat and could have gone for a really, really rock ‘n roll thing. And I just felt like that was what would’ve been a step too far,” Director Bathurst says.


EXTRAS

A seven-part documentary, “Outlaws and Auteurs: Reshaping Robin Hood,” includes “The Legend Reborn: Origins,” “Who’s Behind the Mask? – Casting,” “Taking Aim: Action & Training,” “Nottingham Anew: Design,” “Donning the Hood: Costumes,” “Rockin’ Robin: Music,” and “Seeing The Forest for the Trees: The Future.” It’s quite detailed with interviews from filmmakers and cast.

There are also outtakes and six deleted scenes.


Kay Reynolds


The Sheriff, played by Ben Mendelsohn, meets with Friar Tuck, played by Tim Minchin. Tuck is the ultimate inside-agent, pushing back against the government and the church. He's "undoing the devil's work."

Egerton - as the Hood - takes on the Sheriff's men. He was trained by Lars Andersen, who is able to hit incoming arrows in flight and shoot and hit 3 marks while performing a single jump from the ground. Anderson uses a smaller Arabic bow and ancient technique requiring him to shoot with his draw and not cross the arrow on the bow like modern archers do. “Taking Aim: Action & Training” explores his methods.

The raid in Uptown Nottingham ... which looks like a shiny, modern day mall.

The sheriff and the Arch Deacon (Ian Peck)

The powers of Nottingham confront Friar Tuck for helping the Hood. The Sheriff warns, "Never forget. God is up there. I'm down here."






Robin reveals himself as the Hood.

Will Scarlet takes a stand.






TRAILER


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