The tales of Robin Hood have been told in numerous movies, but Disney’s version is one of the few that stands out from the crowd. As you’d expect, this incarnation features animals instead of humans, but that never interferes with the story or lessens the entertainment value at all. The basic premise is just what you’d think, as Robin Hood and his band of merry men attempt to lessen the burden of the common folk, who suffer under the tyranny of Prince John. The two sides clash here and there, as Robin seeks to do the old “steal from the rich, give to the poor” routine, while Prince John and his cohorts try to crush the people under thumb. Prince John happens to be a little dim however, which helps Robin and his friends pull the wool over his eyes at times. Can Robin and his crew fend of Prince John’s forces and return the proper ruler to the throne, or will Prince John’s rule continue? And more importantly perhaps, can Robin win the hand of the fine Maid Marian?
As someone who loves the Robin Hood stories, I always have a lot of fun with Disney’s take on the timeless legend. This movie manages to nail a lot of the elements that make Robin Hood so beloved, from his quick wit to the kinship of his men and the general romance and adventure of the stories. The talking animals angle doesn’t hinder things at all, as the story shines through and the visuals/voice work are terrific. The animation is rather simple by modern standards, but it is still beautiful and is able to really stand out in this restored high definition treatment. The movie looks good, but the real draw is the story and it is well told, with ample romance, humor, and adventure. To me, the crucial element in a Robin Hood movie is whether or not the spirit of the legend is captured and in this case, it is. This is just a fun movie that an entire family can watch and be entertained by, even four decades after it was created. This is one of the crown jewels in the classic Disney crown, so fans should grab this excellent treatment and add Robin Hood to their collections.
Video: How does it look?
Robin Hood is presented in 1.75:1 widescreen. The visual treatment here is superb, thanks to a digital restoration that spruced up the picture. The image is cleaner and sharper than any previous versions, while remaining true to the intended visual design, so the detail hasn’t been scrubbed out. The colors are vivid and pop off the screen, while contrast is stark and dead on. I was simply amazed at how excellent this movie looks here.
Audio: How does it sound?
A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is included and this one sounds great. The film’s music and songs really come to life here, in an active, fun audio experience. The surround use is frequent and used well, so the movie never sounds thin or gimmicky, just a clean, well crafted soundtrack. The sound effects are done well also, while vocals are crystal clear and never impacted by volume or harshness concerns. This release also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The extras include a never before seen storyline, alternate end sequence, sing-a-long option, Ye Olden Days bonus cartoon, art gallery, and storybook.