So you might know the basic story of Robin Hood, the guy who shot arrows, robbed from the rich to give to the poor, and who lived in Sherwood Forest. Well, if you think you know the whole story, think again. Disney’s Robin Hood is quite a different tale, or maybe I should say tail.
This fun animated film has no human characters. The entire cast is animals, and they are so cute you’ll forget you’re watching animals of all kinds playing the parts in this legendary story. And the voice talent is amazing. Peter Ustinov, Phil Harris, Andy Devine, Pat Buttram, George Lindsey, Roger Miller and others provide the voices for this endearing story. And if you think it’s only for kids, you’re wrong. This is one of those fun animated films that is just as entertaining to adults as it is to kids.
The story is about Robin Hood and his friend Little John (a fox and a bear) who are fighting against Prince John’s taxation of the people. John has assumed control of the country while King Richard (a lion) is off on the crusades. John is evil and along with his cohort Hiss (a snake), they plot to get every last cent in the land, and leave it up to the Sheriff of Nottingham to collect the money and to put the “people” in jail.
Without spoiling anything, since most people know how the story ends, I’ll just say that Robin is triumphant, and with the return of King Richard, he is no longer considered an outlaw. As a matter of fact, he joins the royal family by wedding Maid Marion.
What I found fun while watching this movie, were the comparisons between many of the characters in Robin Hood and other animated Disney films. For instance, the bunnies reminded me a lot of Thumper and his family from Bambi. And Little John reminded me a lot of Baloo from The Jungle Book. Phil Harris did provide the voices for both Little John and Baloo, but besides that, the characters looked a lot alike and had many of the same characteristics. While you watch the movie, see if you can find more similarities between the animals in Robin Hood and other Disney films.
Bonus features include the “sing along with the movie” feature and an alternate ending shown in storyboards, in which Prince John and Hiss hunt down Robin who was injured and decide to kill him, until King Richard returns and stops them just in the nick of time. There is also a deleted scene also done in storyboards, in which Prince John schemes to get Maid Marion and Robin Hood together so he can ambush them and kill them both. If you haven’t guessed by now, Prince John is really not a nice guy.
Disney’s Robin Hood 40th Anniversary Edition includes both a Blu-ray and a DVD and Digital Copy.