So I went to see "Robin Hood" this weekend. Despite perfect
casting, beautiful scenery and the fact that Russell Crowe really
is ridiculously good-looking, I thought it was pretty
mediocre. I also thought it was a two-hour setup for a sequel. And
by and large, I'm not wild about people being shot in the neck with
But mostly, I just thought it didn't hold a candle to the
original. And no, I don't mean "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (which
is also excellent). I mean the original, the 1973 animated version
in which Robin Hood is a fox.
The entire cast is made up of animals: King John is a maneless,
mangy lion, Little John an affable bear, and the Sheriff of
Nottingham something that, looking back now, seems to be a
wolf-bear hybrid, or maybe some kind of overweight, upright weasel.
In any event, it's something dark and mean, and the point is easily
understood. Maid Marianne, of course, is also a fox, since any
interspecies hanky-panky was far too risqué for Disney back
People always seem surprised when I tell them Robin Hood is my
favorite Disney movie. I loved The Lion King, and The Little
Mermaid (the first movie I ever saw in theaters) remains an
indelible part of my childhood, but Robin Hood was just
It's accessible, funny, and has the advantage of showing fewer
people being shot in the neck with arrows. In fact, even the king's
armies (elephants and rhinoceroses) seem dopey, but not actually
all that threatening, and usually do things like slam
headfirst into rocks or trip over their ears.
Plus, it has this ditty. I dare you not to sing along:
If there's one thing a star-studded Hollywood blockbuster
doesn't want to do, reminding viewers that the 35-year-old
animated version in which the main character is played by a fox is
better is probably high on the list.
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