It's an odd beast. Finally saw this a year or so ago. What exactly they were thinking no one knows.
The period setting is done acceptably, the costumes aren't bad at all, but it's very gloomy and not a pleasant place to be in. Sounds fine for setting up an epic tale of heroic triumphs against villainy...oh wait I'm getting ahead of myself.
This picture drags and drags so badly that it is extremely difficult to maintain interest. And it shouldn't. Costner appears as if he were still drained by Dances With Wolves and provides for a Robin so un-affecting that it becomes near impossible to care for anything. The story takes many weird turns in the middle of cliche after cliche that you just want the darn thing to end. It should have not been this bad. All the necessary materials were there to at least make an interesting picture.
By the time the woefully miscast Christian Slater breaks the period setting fourth wall it's far too late to stop. The only good point is Alan Rickman much like Tim Curry in Disney's Three Musketeers a few years later. But he sticks out like a sore thumb due to some truly strange subplots (with the crone...avoiding spoiler....what was that!?!?!) and the fact that the entire climax hinges on not only wedding Marion but....uhm....did I see what I think I saw?????
Arguably the longest ever buildup for a Connery closeup. I'd rather see Robin & Marion again, and that was a low-ish budget confused muddle. For all the flack the 2010 Scott version took, it was rather enjoyable on the big screen for the mishmash of modern film character psychobabble and classical Hollywood.
The 1938 film is the technical pinnacle of the 30's swashbuckler, one of the greatest bits of escapism ever produced and is untouchable. However, I do feel that it does not cover nearly all of the aspects of the Robin Hood story, ones that were better covered in the classic silent version with Douglas Fairbanks. While they are some of my favorites and absolute masterpieces, I feel that both stars had better adventure vehicles-Fairbanks in Mark of Zorro which is arguably the first superhero film ever made, and Flynn in the stupefyingly awesome Captain Blood.
PoT may have its fans, but I'm not one. I found it extremely frustrating because I spent the entire 2.5 hours trying to like it. And if you're going to do Robin Hood all gloomy, at least have some adventure or escapism or...anything.