Released: November 8, 1973
Watched: May 21, 2015
Robin Hood is a film that I never really cared about. I don't know if I ever saw it as a child, and if I did I didn't remember anything about. It's nothing too important in the line of Disney movies, but it's a fun watch none-the-less.
The film is based on the many Robin Hood stories of English folk-lore, which were especially popular in the late-medieval period and written as early as the 1400's. The tales of Robin Hood had been adapted into several different literary and visual works, although the Disney film was one of the earlier film versions. What makes the Disney version unique is that it is one of (if not the only) adaptation using anthropomorphic animals (understandably following the popularity of animal characters in their previous films, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, etc).
Using animals in Disney films was not a unique thing to do but what was unique was the choice to take a story about humans and to make them animals for no real reason. This idea came because the studio was previously working on an animated tale about Reynard the Fox. Reynard was the main character of many fables featuring anthropomorphic animals, and had established the theme that foxes were the tricksters of the animal kingdom. Reynard the Fox stories also became popular during the medieval period, and when the story men at Disney began to feel he was not a good fit for the "hero" of a story most of the work on Reynard was just translated to Robin Hood.
Robin Hood was a fairly low budget film, with no unique or groundbreaking animation techniques. It may be the first Disney film to "recycle" animation where animators would trace previous animated sequences frame for frame with different characters in order to save time. There is a dance sequence in the film that is made of animation from the dance scenes in Snow White, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats (and if you are a Disney dork like me it is very obvious and you can easily pick out which scenes are copied from which movies).
|An example of the recycled animation from Snow White.|
At the time, Robin Hood did fairy well financially and critically. Reviews were good and in general people seemed to enjoy it. Although it was nothing crazy. Over time reviews have turned more lukewarm, as it hasn't held up as well as some Disney classics.
Overall, just like many of the reviews of its time, I thought Robin Hood was a fun watch and that's about it. The rabbit family is especially endearing but otherwise most of the characters are not too memorable. The music is fun, and the idea of having a minstrel narrating through the film is fitting to its medieval setting.
My favorite scene is the one where the kids come into Maid Marian's garden and she joins in their Robin Hood game. This is just some dumb joke video someone made of the scene but it's the best I've got.