By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
I’m really on the fence with this one. On the one hand, Russell Crowe is an excellent Robin Hood, compassionate, courageous, and he looks fierce firing a bow and arrow. On the other hand, this prequel to the classic tale barely scratches the surface of the things that make this story timeless. It plays more like any other medieval war film, with Robin only becoming Robin Hood in the last three minutes of the movie. The acting is solid, the themes (about personal liberty and governments being accountable to their subjects) are timely, and the action is appropriately epic. There’s even some good messages suggesting that morality and integrity keep one close to God.
However, the film’s tone is aggressively joyless, and while the drama is engaging, there is little fun to be had here. Furthermore, the film contains rear nudity, a surprising amount of innuendo, and is hands-down the most graphically violent PG-13 movie I’ve ever seen, with realistic medieval battles. Families would be wise to consider Disney’s Robin Hood, or the 1930’s classic starring Errol Flynn instead.
For teens and up, I recommend (as an alternative) the vastly-underrated Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.