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Wolfgang Reitherman
Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas
Writing Credits:
Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons

The story of the legendary outlaw is portrayed with the characters as humanoid animals.

Box Office:
$15 million.
Domestic Gross
$32.056 million.

Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
French DTS-HD HR 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 8/6/2013

• “Sing Along with the Movie” Subtitle Feature
• Deleted Storyline and Alternate Ending
• Art Gallery
• Storybook
• Sing-Along Song
• “Ye Olden Days” Classic Mickey Mouse Short
• Disney Song Selection
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Robin Hood [Blu-Ray] (1973)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 26, 2017)

Ask fans of Disney animation and there's a really strong chance that 1973's Robin Hood will end up getting the lowest ratings. There's a good reason for that: Robin Hood remains one of the studio’s worst efforts.

The umpteenth telling of the legend, in Disney’s version, Prince John (voiced by Peter Ustinov) rules Nottingham with an iron fist. Along with his band of “Merry Men”, rebellious Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) strikes against this reign, with an eye toward the support of the locals.

Everything about this film screams its mediocrity. Whatever my synopsis may imply, the movie lacks an actual plot, as instead, Robin Hood connects a conglomeration of mildly related sequences.

As I discovered during Alice In Wonderland, that kind of film can work, but the material has to be good enough to stand on its own, which is not the case with Hood. Virtually all of the mini-sequences seem bland and uninspired.

Although the Robin Hood legend features some strong personalities, you wouldn't know that from the generic characters we find here. Our main leads, Robin and his lady love Maid Marian (Monica Evans) feel completely flat and lifeless. Nothing about either of them stands out in any way, so I could not have cared less about their fates.

However, fairly dull protagonists are not unusual for Disney animation, as going all the way back to 1937’s Snow White, we find many uninteresting leads. At least Robin becomes an active participant in his life, unlike some of the passive personalities we've seen in the past.

Robin's still dull, though, and as is often the case, the usual roster of wacky sidekicks comes along for the ride to make the film livelier. Few of these characters work.

As Little John, we find Phil Harris in his third straight Disney animated release. As Baloo in The Jungle Book, he played a bear version of himself.

For The Aristocats, he branched out a little and went for a cat who also became our leading man. O'Malley retained much of Baloo's swagger and looseness, however, so the similarities greatly exceeded the differences.

At least O'Malley offered a minor stretch for Harris, which isn't the case for Little John. We again find Harris in big, fat bear form, and the character comes across as a blatant reprise of Baloo. The part isn't as good, however, and Little John adds no spark to the proceedings.

Almost none of the remaining supporting characters makes an impact either. In fact, Prince John turns into the only interesting character.

Ustinov does a nice job with the role, and although it's a one-dimensional part – Prince John never appears as anything but a greedy, malicious, sniveling coward - Ustinov at least adds life and makes him much more entertaining than anything else in the movie.

Perhaps this was just a transference of my enjoyment of the character, but Prince John also seems better animated than the other roles. This doesn't mean John displays terrific art, though - it's more of an indictment of the relatively weak quality of the rest of the film.

Hood displays some of the sloppiest Disney art on record. Stray lines flit about the screen, and the general presentation appears crude.

It even looks as though some of the animation simply duplicates efforts from other films. The scene in which Maid Marian dances in the forest seems suspiciously similar to a portion of Snow White.

Speaking of Maid Marian, does anyone else fail to understand how she – a fox - can be related to Prince John - a lion? Yeah, I know it's a fantasy, but some internal consistency would be nice.

Actually, this connects to the most daring aspect of Robin Hood: it was the first Disney film to feature no human characters. Granted, Bambi came close since we never saw the men, but their affect on the story was immense.

Obviously, a lot of other Disney offerings focussed on animals, but humans remained part of the mix. Another "all-critter" flick wouldn't appear until 1994's Lion King.

But that ends the similarities between Hood and the entertaining 1994 hit. Robin Hood is such a cheap, lifeless affair that even the credit sequences appear generic.

At the start, we get a quick and tacky introduction to the participants, as we see an animated image of each character with his/her name and species beneath it. For example, we might view "Robin Hood - A Fox". The typeface used for these introductions is so bland that you'll initially think you've activated the subtitle function.

Disney spared every expense for Robin Hood. I didn't hate this film, as my affection for Disney animation remains strong enough that even their worst efforts still give me some pleasure. However, I found it difficult to resist fast-forwarding through this movie, and that ain't good.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C/ Bonus D+

Robin Hood appears in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After a rocky start, the image satisfied.

This meant the opening credits looked iffy, as those elements seemed soft and lacked much clarity. However, the movie improved after that, and overall sharpness worked great, as the movie exhibited fine definition and delineation, with virtually no signs of softness.

I detected no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. Print flaws also weren’t a concern in this clean presentation. Weak clean-up animation left the impression of defects, but I saw no actual specks, marks or other concerns.

Colors fared well. The tones consistently seemed lively and distinctive, and they showed the film’s broad palette nicely. Blacks were similarly concise and tight, while shadows demonstrated good delineation. Few problems materialized in this pleasing presentation.

As for the film’s remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, the soundfield could best be described as broad mono. Music spread generally to the side speakers but failed to demonstrate real stereo imaging. This meant the score and songs didn’t come across as distinctive in the way they used the side speakers.

Nothing about the rest of the soundfield stood out as memorable either. Speech remained bound to the center, though the lines occasionally bled uncomfortably to the sides.

Effects seemed pretty heavily focused on the center channel as well. If the track used the surrounds, I didn’t notice it. Essentially this was a mono mix except for the bland spread of music to the front sides.

Audio quality was acceptable and no better. Dialogue sounded clear and intelligible but lacked warmth. Effects were suitably realistic and they displayed no distortion but they also seemed flat and lifeless.

The songs and the score came across as acceptably smooth and clean but suffered from the same thin and dull quality that affected the rest of the mix. Though a few percussive elements provided mild punch, low-end stayed very restricted most of the time. This soundtrack seemed acceptable for its era but I can't say anything more positive about it than that.

How did this Blu-ray compare to the 2006 “Most Wanted Edition” DVD? Audio was similar, as there wasn’t much the lossless track could do with the limited source material.

Visuals demonstrated good improvements, though, as the Blu-ray looked cleaner, more distinctive and bolder. This was a solid step up in quality.

The Blu-ray mixes old and new materials, and we get a 1933 Mickey Mouse short called Ye Olden Days. This eight-minute, 18-second cartoon is completely unrelated to the legend of Robin Hood, but it appears because the medieval theme connects the two to a degree.

In any case, it's a fun little piece. Days is not phenomenal - almost no Disney shorts without Donald Duck achieve greatness, in my opinion - but it's entertaining and cute.

Historical footnote: Ye Olden Days marks Goofy's final appearance under his original name. With his next cartoon - "Orphan's Benefit" in 1934 - he went Hollywood and changed from "Dippy Dawg", which is how he was known through his first six pictures. And the rest was movie history!

Fans will look forward to the Alternate Ending. This four-minute, 34-second clip uses storyboards and audio to depict a conclusion in which Robin gets wounded during his escape and Little John saves him.

Prince John and Sir Hiss follow them as the other try to heal Robin. It’s a darker ending than the one in the final flick and seems a little more interesting.

New to the Blu-ray, we get a Deleted Storyline. “Love Letters” runs seven minutes, 33 seconds and depicts Prince John’s attempted manipulation of Robin and Marian. It offers mild entertainment and it’s fun to see here.

In the Art Gallery. we can check out drawings via automatic “Video Gallery”. You’ll find 48 images along with narration. These span concept designs, character illustrations, behind the scenes photos and publicity materials. It’s a nice little collection of materials, though I miss the old DVD’s still frame option, as I’d prefer to scan the art without the commentary.

Disney’s Song Selection allows you to jump straight to any of the movie’s three ditties. These include “Oo-de-lally”, “Love” and “The Phony King of England”. There’s also an option to play the tunes with on-screen lyrics via Sing Along with the Movie, and we find a Sing-Along Song for “Oo-de-lally”.

What makes the last one different than “Sing Along with the Movie”? The “Sing-Along” version acts more like a music video, and it presents a longer version of “Oo-de-lally”. It’s still pretty forgettable.

The disc opens with ads for The Little Mermaid, Planes, The Muppet Movie and Super Buddies.

Sneak Peek adds promos for Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Return to Neverland. No trailer for Robin Hood appears here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Robin Hood. It reproduces the “Most Wanted” edition from 2006.

As a Disney die-hard, I’ll keep Robin Hood in my collection. However, only folks like me will want to own this mediocre and bland film. The Blu-ray presents very good picture with acceptable audio and a smattering of bonus materials. I feel pleased with this Blu-ray but the movie itself remains one of Disney’s worst.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of ROBIN HOOD

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main