Allan-A-Dale: Y’know, there’s been a heap o’ legends and tall tales about Robin Hood. All different too. Well, we folks in the animal kingdom have our own version.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Many people including myself learned the story of Robin Hood through the Disney version. And to be frank it is not a bad version of the tale. In the time of Disney dark age this movie was one of the few gems to come out of it. While it may not have the magic of the early Disney movies it still has a very unique niche among the greats of Disney.
The story involves the two outlaws Robin Hood and Little John who steal from the rich and give to the poor in attempt to defeat Prince John. Robin is in love with MaidMarian and disguises himself to win an archery contest to win her heart but ultimately gets discovered in the process. They manage to fight off Prince John and his forces through many battles.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this is that this is the first Disney movie where all the characters are animals. There are no human beings in it whatsoever. But it’s a very interesting choice and the animals they pick to represent the characters make sense. For instance having the sly and sneakyRobin Hood be a fox, having Little John as a gigantic bear, the villainous sheriff being a wolf, having King Richard be a lion (since he was known as Richard the Lionheart), etc. All the other characters as animals work their way to a lot of creativity and humor as well.
The story doesn’t have much going on in it but within the protagonists, there’s a certain likeability and cuteness factor to them that keeps you invested in them. It genuinely makes you feel for what they’re going through under the tyranny of the villains.
The animation looks particularly impressive for the time. While it will be very clear to most Disney experts where they recycled animation the action sequences are very creative and given that it’s animated and allows for more liberty.
Both Robin Hood and Maid Marian are likable leads with a good relationship. Both are heroes longing for Nottingham to return to its glory and are willing to do anything to ensure it does.
Perhaps the most memorable characters in this movie, however, are the villains. Prince John is a very comedic villain, particularly when paired with his henchman Sir Hiss that often result in arguments that make them seem like a married couple. The Sheriff of Nottingham is also a very despicable and funny villain finding all sorts of evil ways to steal money from the poor.
The songs while they are by no means iconic are still very catchy and do a great job of contributing and making you feel the atmosphere of the various moments.
The climax is one of the more underrated ones in Disney history. For a movie that’s made up of several cute animals, it gives a good sense of suspense. The first part of it is done almost in silence. Upon the outlaws being found out however it goes into some fast-paced and engaging action. Everywhere Robin goes there is just something or someone running after him. And the whole thing is set up very well and keeps mounting higher and higher.
Robin Hood didn’t break any new grounds for Disney but is still very entertaining. It knows how to balance emotion and action and overall is something that kids and adults alike can find some value of enjoyment in.