By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 9, 2010 at 9:06AM
The first reviews of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood were scheduled to break with the film's Wednesday opening at Cannes, but Empire broke first, followed by THR, Variety and indieWIRE. Verdict: decidedly mixed.
A conjectural “origins” story about the career birth of England’s legendary people’s outlaw, Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” is neither as good as the director’s personal best period epic, “Gladiator,” nor a match for Hollywood’s most memorable previous accounts of the beneficent bandit of Sherwood Forest (it is, however, superior to the Kevin Costner entry two decades back, which I at the time dubbed “Robin of Wood”).
"Bottom Line: This rousing "prequel" to the familiar Robin Hood tale strains to appeal to too many demographics."
"Verdict: Grown-up but not too serious; action-packed but not juvenile… Not only is this the mullet-free Robin Hood movie we’ve been waiting decades for, it’s also Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe at their most entertaining since Gladiator."
"Can you not sing a happy tune?" growls a not-so-merry man in "Robin Hood," and one might direct the same question at Ridley Scott's grimly revisionist take on England's most famous outlaw. Impressively made and serious-minded to a fault, this physically imposing picture brings abundant political-historical dimensions to its epic canvas, yet often seems devoted to stifling whatever pleasure audiences may have derived from the popular legend. With a brawny Russell Crowe in the title role, pic looks to hit its B.O. target in most markets, though overall muted reactions may hold Universal back from a king's ransom Stateside.