Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 30, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Robin Hood” is a family fun film that families can sit down and enjoy together. With the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray, with the wonderful digital restoration, it’s now the definitive version of the film to own. Recommended!
TITLE: Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition
FILM RELEASE: 1988
DURATION: 83 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD HR 4.1, Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audiences)
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Story by Larry Clemmons
Character and Story Conceptions by Ken Anderson
Story Sequences by Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry, Frank Thomas, Eric Cleworth, Julius Svendsen and David Michener
Produced by Wolfgang Reitherman
Music by George Bruns
Edited by Tom Acosta, James Melton
Art Direction by Don Griffith
Featuring the voices of:
Roger Miller as Allan-a-Dale
Peter Ustinov as Prince John/King Richard
Terry Thomas as Sir Hiss
Brian Bedford as Robin Hood
Monica Evans as Maid Marian
Phil Harris as Little John
Andy Devine as Friar Tuck
Carole Shelley as Lady Kluck
Pat Buttram as Sheriff of Nottingham
George Lindsey as Trigger
Ken Curtis as Nutsy
To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Disney proudly presents the unforgettable animated classic Robin Hood on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Experience all the fun, thrills and celebrated music of this legendary adventure with perfect picture and sound! Join Robin Hood, his trusted companion Little John and his hilarious band of Merry Men as they outfox greedy Prince John to save the good people of Nottingham. Dashing from one daring deed to the next, Robin won’t rest until he wins the hand of Maid Marian and restores King Richard to the throne. One of Disney’s most beloved movies is even better on Blu-ray Combo Pack!
In 1973, “Robin Hood”, Disney’s 21st animated feature of the Walt Disney Animated Classics series was released in theaters.
Based on the legend of “Robin Hood”, the Disney animated feature would feature animals as the characters and because the film was made on a small budget, many of the footage for the film was referenced from previous animated features, including dance sequences traced from sequences that were used for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “The Jungle Book” and “The Aristocats”.
The film received positive reviews at the time and the film received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Song” for the track “Love” performed by Nancy Adams (and written by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns).
“Robin Hood” was re-released in 1982 and also was nominated by the American Film Institute as part of their “Top 10 Animated Films” list.
And now 40-years later, “Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” will be released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in August 2013.
The film begins with a narration by the rooster Alan-a-Dale who explains the story about Robin Hood and Little John who live in Sherwood Forest. Both are wanted by the Sheriff of Nottingham for stealing but both have earned their reputation of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
And times are very tough for the poor living in Nottingham. When Prince John and his assistant, the snake named Sir Hiss arrive in town, Sir Hiss puts King Richard in a hypnotized state and leaves his throne to go on the Crusades.
This allows Prince John to take the throne and become the new king.
But the new King is cruel. He has the Sheriff become the new tax collector and making sure he takes money from the poor. But Prince John is also after both Robin Hood and Little John putting a bounty on their heads.
Meanwhile, when the Sheriff tries to take money from Friar Tuck and also a poor family of Rabbits (especially Skippy who was given a coin for his birthday), a disguised Robin Hood comes to visit and he gives Skippy a bow, but also a Robin Hood hat, but also making sure that he gives the rabbits money for their guardian to properly take care of them.
Excited about his new gift, Skippy tests his archery skills by ends up shooting an arrow inside castle grounds. As Skippy sneaks inside the castle to retrieve the arrow, Skippy meets Maid Marian and her attendant Lady Kluck. When Maid Marian realizes that Skippy looks up to Robin Hood as a hero, Skippy’s friends who are invited to come into the castle by Maid Marian ask many questions wondering if she and Robin Hood are in a relationship.
Maid Marian tells the children that she and Robin Hood were sweethearts during childhood and when asked if they kissed, Maid Marian blushes but explains that she has not seen Robin in years.
Meanwhile, Friar Tuck finds out that an archery tournament will be taking place. He tells Robin and Little John and when Robin finds out that the winner gets a kiss from Maid Marian, Robin decides to participate in the tournament and disguises himself as a stork. But Sir Hiss find out that Robin is in disguise and immediately Prince John tries to have Robin arrested and executed.
Will Robin be able to escape from Prince John?
“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition for the very first time. The first thing you will notice how the colors are much more vibrant, details are much more pronounced. For example, in the previous DVD release, there was darkness when it came to the colors. With Prince John’s coat, it was dark blue and the backgrounds were dark blue but with the digital restoration, his robe is now light blue and you can see the gradient colors much more clearly with the curtained background.
The colors are much more vibrant, the film does not look like it’s 40-years-old. In fact, Disney must have done major restoration work because the film is clean! No aging, no white specks or dust. The film looks magnificent on Blu-ray and if there is one reason to upgrade, it’s because this film looks much better than it ever has with this Blu-ray release!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD HR and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Dialogue is crystal clear from Allan-a-Dale’s whistles to the spoken dialogue and music. I didn’t hear any pops, any hiss. The lossless soundtrack was very good, but it is mostly front channel driven. I didn’t notice too much use of the surround channels for this film. But for the most part, fans of the film should be pleased with the crystal clear lossless soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English SDH.
“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Never-Before-Seen Deleted Story Line “Love Letters” – (7:33) A deleted storyline featuring concept art and voice acting.
- Alternate Ending – (4:34) Featuring an alternate ending presented in sketch format.
- Music & More – Disney Song Collection– Play the individual songs for “Oo-de-lally”, “Love”, “The Phony King of England” with optional lyrics on screen.
- Robin Hood’s Merry Games – Featuring two “Robin Hood” games: “Archery Trivia Challenge” and “Rescue Maid Marian”.
- Backstage Disney: Robin Hood Art Gallery – View via still gallery (using remote or keyboard to cycle through images) or stills presented via a video gallery.
- Ye Olden Days – (8:14) A classic black and white animated short from 1933 featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Dippy Dawg.
“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover and a DVD plus a digital copy version of the film.
“Robin Hood” was a family film that I can remember growing up, going with my mom and my little brother and watching the re-release in the theater.
Before I watched any live action film or played any video game in regards to Robin Hood, my primary knowledge as a child of the hero was through this Walt Disney animated film.
Watching “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray for the first time in possibly three decades later, my impression of the film hasn’t changed all that much.
For a Disney animated film, it has what one expects and that is action, drama but also a storyline that would attract children and adults. Of course, decades later, there are some critics who feel the animated film doesn’t hold up to other well-known Disney animated classics but for me, I felt that 40-years-later, “Robin Hood” is still a family film that will entertain adults and children.
I suppose it’s a film that is quite subjective to the viewer but I enjoyed how the film has that sketched out look and while I do acknowledge that backgrounds are not as detailed as older Disney animated films, when it comes down to story, the Disney adaptation of “Robin Hood”, the use of animals and also the innocent nature of the younger characters, the film still holds up after all these years as there are action scenes, dramatic elements and plenty of humor.
With this 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood”, while I would have loved to see more special features, you do get the never-before-seen deleted story line “Love Letters”. All the previous special features from the 2006 DVD are still included but this time around, you get the definitive version of “Robin Hood” thanks to its picture quality via Blu-ray.
The animated film classic looks better than ever and there are obvious differences with the vibrant colors and better contrast in the new digital restoration versus the previous DVD version that fans of the film will most definitely want to upgrade to Blu-ray. You also get a lossless soundtrack featuring crystal clear dialogue and music.
“Robin Hood” is a family fun film that families can sit down and enjoy together. With the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray, with the wonderful digital restoration, it’s now the definitive version of the film to own.
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