I have previously voiced my opinion on Disney’s current plan of remaking its classic films into live action pieces. A couple of these remakes have worked, while most have failed miserably. And Disney seem to show no sign of stopping; one of their rumoured remakes is the 1973 film ‘Robin Hood’.
‘Robin Hood’ is the story of Robin Hood of Nottingham, who steals from the rich to give to the poor. All while the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John try to put an end to his actions, and constantly prey on the poor. However, in true Disney fashion, the characters are all animals.
I am disappointed to hear the rumours of this film potentially getting the live action treatment as this was one of my favourite Disney films growing up, and still is. The characters and hand drawn animation, that is recognizable with early Disney films, are charming. However, the film is also good at displaying its settings differently depending on which character is onscreen. For example, when Little John and Robin Hood are onscreen, their surroundings become a little brighter, while the Sheriff brings a certain darkness to his scenes. Furthermore, this darkness is both light-wise and tonally.
While ‘Robin Hood’ has its humorous moments, it can also contain some dark scenes too. An example is when Friar Tuck is being arrested after fighting the Sheriff of Nottingham. Their surroundings are dark and gloomy, and the scenario takes place during a rainstorm, adding to the gloominess. This was a scene that upset me greatly as a child, as I didn’t fully understand the idea of good vs evil at that age and couldn’t comprehend why the Friar was being taken to jail. Like previously mentioned, the film didn’t shy away from the fact that Prince John was a ruthless and terrifying leader that reigned with an iron fist.
But, like previously mentioned, the film does contain humour to balance out the darkness. The constant joke of Prince John feeling guilty over his mother is always hilarious; to see a ruthless prince suddenly start acting childish at the drop of a hat is satisfying to watch.
And even his companion Sir Hiss (whom, yes, is a snake) brings a lot of comic relief to the film which is much needed at times. The film has a lack of songs compared to a previously released Disney film, but the decreased amount works perfectly here. ‘Robin Hood’ is focused more on storytelling and character development, so a full soundtrack of songs wouldn’t have worked here.
While this can be viewed as bland, I would respectfully disagree. ‘Robin Hood’ showed audiences that Disney could still tell a compelling story, with good action scenes and lovable characters. Furthermore, it showed that Disney could still create a fantastic animated film after the death of Walt Disney. I also have fond childhood memories of this film, and it still holds up nowadays and is still one of my favourite Disney films.
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