Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Robin Hood |
Most Wanted Edition
Actors: Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Andy Devine, Monica Evans, Carole Shelley
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Musicals & Performing Arts, Animation
The bandit and his merry men are animals.
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Worth the upgrade? Probably.
Seth Paul | Troy, MI United States | 11/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Previous to this 'Most Wanted Edition' release, Disney had released a Gold Collection version. Having seen the two head to head, the Most Wanted is definitely a worthwhile purchase, though purists may wish to hang onto their Gold Collection Edition.
For those interested in the movie's plot (though if you don't know it by now), this 1973 Disney film follows the adventures of the classic Robin Hood story (though all the characters have been replaced by Disney animal versions), where he and his pal Little John are constantly thwarting the plans of Prince John, his servant Sir Hiss, and the rotten Sheriff of Nottingham. It doesn't follow the original legend too closely, but then, Robin Hood is a walking, talking fox, so don't expect historical accuracy. Made during Disney's less 'talked about' era (the void between Disney's untimely death and the song stylings of Elton John), the film is still a delight for adults and children. At least, I like it, but critics and animation buffs seem to have some issues with it (not the least of which is a segment where several sequences reuse animation from other Disney films). It's not as plot intensive and tightly told as Disney's later films, but it has quite a few memorable sequences and some great one-liners ("Oo-de-lally! A CROWN!").
But onto the DVD and its features.
VIDEO: The film is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio, making it widescreen. However, (and this is where the purists may take offense), the film was initially created in 1.37:1 aspect, thus making the fullscreen version available on the previous Gold Collection release the 'correct' video standard (a viewing of the widescreen next to the fullscreen does, in fact, show cropping at the top and bottom). However, this does not mean that the widescreen is automatically a problem. Not only is the transfer noticeably clearer and more detailed, but the film was animated to take both fullscreen and widescreen into respect (theatres at the time were capable of displaying one or the other), so technically both aspect ratios can be termed 'the original theatrical.' Because of this, no significant portion of the picture at the top and bottom is lost (though like I said, purists should hang onto their Gold Collections for this reason only). Perhaps a choice of viewing options should have been made available because of this issue, but unfortunately only the widescreen is included on this DVD.
AUDIO: Sound is noticeably better, especially the music (at least, on the sound system I compared them). The 5.1 transfer, while not causing the sound to do miraculous things, does sound more dynamic and sharper. A definite improvement here.
SPECIAl FEATURES: This release includes all the features from the Gold Collection release, with the notable exception of the Read-Along Storybook (a DVD version of the printed storybook released alongside the original movie) and switching out a trivia game for...another trivia game. Interesting. However, everything else is there, along with some additional features (including a storyboarded alternate ending) not previously available.
So, what's my pick? I say, especially if you don't own the film, this is the best version of the two to get. The picture's better, sound's better, and the special features overall are better (and since the previous release, Disney invented its 'Fastplay' feature, which is nice to have compared to the Gold Collection's 'fast forward through the trailers'-only option). But, this is mainly a caution to those looking for the 'Ultimate, Never Have to Buy It Again' edition: the fullscreen, uncropped version is not here. Perhaps in a future two-disc release, though it is doubtful Disney cares enough about this film and its era to do that."
Clever Cartoon Version of a Classic Tale
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 11/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been dozens of movies and television shows that capitalize on the legend of Robin Hood. This version is clever and funny, and the music of country music legend Roger Miller makes this movie one for everyone to watch.
Everyone knows the tale of Robin Hood. Forced to be an outlaw, though always loyal to King Richard, Robin Hood fought against the usurper Prince John. Robin Hood sheltered and protected poor people and redistributed wealth from the rich to the needy poor. Robin Hood performed these deeds from his base in Sherwood Forest.
Though we have seen this movie with many different great actors, this version has excellent comedy and very good animation. Robin Hood is appropriately swashbuckling and handsome, and Maid Marian is beautiful; both characters are drawn as foxes. In fact, all the characters in this movie are animals, as Alan-A-Dale points out at the beginning of the movie.
This film has its share of great actors. Englishman Brian Bedford provides a perfect voice for Robin. Monica Evans, who also appeared in "The Odd Couple," voices Maid Marian. The role of Maid Marian was the last for Monica Evans. The incomparable Peter Ustinov ("Quo Vadis," "Blackbeard's Ghost") voices both Prince John and King Richard. Terry Thomas ("Tom Thumb," "The Abominable Dr. Phibes") is the voice of Sir Hiss. Roger Miller is the minstrel Alan-A-Dale. Miller also provided the songs for this movie. Andy Devine (who had more than 180 movie and television appearances dating back to the 1920's) voices Friar Tuck. Pat Buttram ("The Rescuers," "Back to the Future III") voices the Sheriff of Nottingham and George Lindsey ("The Rescuers," "The Andy Griffith Show") voices Trigger.
Disney has released several versions of this movie. The previous "gold" version is adequate and if you have that version and are satisfied with it, I recommend you pass on this version. If you are a first-time buyer of this film then I recommend this version because of the restored picture and the cleaner sound. Also, this film does have an alternate ending that some viewers may find interesting. The other added features are marginal in value. I find myself avoiding the extras more and more, especially on Disney DVD's.
This movie is fun to watch again and again, and is a favorite of children of all ages. I recommend this movie to anyone looking for a pleasant story to watch, and to anyone with young children.
A Good Transfer of a Good Film
Jeffrey Rickel | Palm Harbor, FL | 12/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly, those who have complained about the aspect ratio are partially correct. This film was drawn in 4:3 BUT it was shown in widescreen when it was exhibited to the public upon its initial release. While it is true that some of the material is missing primarily from the top of the cell, the film was drawn so that that area could be missed. I must give credit to Disney for delving into their own history and discovering how each film was exhibited. Take a look at the recent reissue of The Fox and the Hound to prove this point. They could have cropped that film into widescreen but did not because it was shown in 4:3 originally.
As to the transfer, it is quite good and much improved over the Gold Collection release. The colors are crisper and there are less artifacts that can be seen.
I must admit that I enjoy Disney's Robin Hood quite a bit. It's not the best film in the Disney stable but it is enjoyable and has its charms. Roger Miller's music adds a nice touch and gives this English tale a bit of an infusion of Southern and Western charm (Western charm is also added by Andy Devine and Pat Buttram - two men associated with the old westerns). This, combined with the use of animals in all roles, makes Disney's Robin Hood a unique twist on the tale and one of the more enjoyable films. It may be Disney's best animated feature to be released in the 1970s, a decade that was Disney's worst for animation as the company was trying to find itself after Walt's death.
There's one notable complaint in the reviews here about the ending, a take I have to disagree with. This DVD does provide what the alternate ending would have been and, frankly, the way it ends as is is superior. We don't merely hear the rooster tell us how the tale ends; we see Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Sir Hiss all working the quarry as prisoner while Good King Richard waves farewell to the newly married Marian and Robin. The ending works quite well for the film and leaves Richard's return to our imagination. It works well in how the movie is envision with a minstrel telling us the story.
The Extras on this DVD are a bit disappointing. I'm not much into the games nor do I care for the sing-a-longs. Kids will get a kick out of both. What I would have loved to have included would be a documentary detailing the making of Robin Hood. This was the first film that was greenlighted after Walt Disney's death. It'd be interesting to hear about how everyone at the studios handled this feature and approached it. After all, Robin Hood was the film that made or broke Disney after Walt's death. It was a success and we continued to get Disney features, but I'm sure the stress of putting this film together was enormous.
The movie is well worth the price, especially if you love Disney films as I do. The extras are disappointing but that goes for all copies of Robin Hood right now. This one is a worthwhile purchase."
I'm probably going to be incredibly biased here...
Cloud | Canada | 03/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was a kid, I had the original VHS release of Robin Hood and I must've watched dozens of times. Sure we had all the other ones but for some reason, I re-watched this movie more than any others. Watching it recently, I still find myself completely engrossed and it's probably one of the more effortlessly fun movies Disney had done. Over the years, the film's reception got mixed with people saying they preferred the staying power of Bambi and Cinderella but I find this one of my favorites movies the House has done.
Prince John took over the throne when his brother, King Richard left to fight the Crusades. Taxing everyone in the country, Robin Hood decides to step in and take his money and give it to the poor. Robin has his buddy Little John, church member Friar Tuck and the love of Maid Marian to help him while Prince John has his companion Sir Hiss and the Sheriff of Nottingham and their hopes that they will capture Robin.
One thing I found noticeable was just how great the characters were even if they got little to no development. While the main guy's of course Robin Hood, you find yourself amused by Prince John and Hiss just as much while having the strangest soft spot for characters like the church mice couple or the little rabbit kids. Some of the dialogue at times doesn't seem like traditional kids fare either and it helps make the film a bit more accessible since it's not so eye-rollingly cheesy that you wish your kids popped in a different movie. Songs, provided by Roger Miller of "King of the Road" fame does a couple of great songs including the solemn-but-not-depressing Not in Nottingham as well as provides the voice of Alan-a-Dale, the rooster who narrates even when he's in the scene.
When it comes down to Disney's DVD releases you sometimes notice a trend: the Platinum Editions, big restorations with plenty of special features to the simple Special Editions such as Pocahontas or Mulan which are pretty big as far as features but not as prestigious. Then we have stuff like this DVD. While the transfer and clean-up is pretty surprising, considering how ugly VHS was, the special features are unbelievably light. No one could've done a commentary or at least some kind of making-of? This was the first Disney film done without Walt Disney input since he passed away so we could've had someone mention that. But oh well.
This is no Snow White so don't even think it is. But instead this is probably one of the most underrated films they've done."