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Robin Hood (1973) Review

At this stage, I truly don’t have any excuse for not viewing the Disney classics. As I’ve said numerous times, I didn’t grow up with these films and am still thankful I avoided them for most of my life. It was inevitable that I’d have to sit through them at one point or another though, their impact on the field of animation is without question one of the most important game-changers for the genre. It also happens to be adored and loved by fans of cinema across the globe. Robin Hood is one of the many animated pieces Disney offered up that have gone on to receive the “underrated classic” title, and from an outsider’s perspective with no nostalgia, it’s hard to see why.  

Reimagining the classic tale of Robin Hood and his merry men in an animal-led cast is quite a nice idea for children or those who can’t handle reality. It’s completely harmless at the best of times, thankfully held together by original songs that get the job done. While the lyrics are forgettable, I knew I’d heard that timeless whistling in just about every advert, television show and park I’ve been to, so to find out the source of a noise that has haunted my life for two decades was a nice bit of closure in an otherwise solid yet forgettable soundtrack.  

Outside of the solid enough soundtrack and the startlingly good animation style, there isn’t all that much to Robin Hood. The complacency and similarities between the majority of Disney films becomes a burden after a while, only those with a rose-tinted remembrance for the film will be able to heave any enjoyment out of it. A completely pedestrian rendition of an age-old piece of legend, with voice acting that fits the bill for such a project. It’s wholly harmless, and that’s perhaps the part I hate most about Robin Hood. Its lack of risk-taking moments, complacency in safety, make it a tremendously boring film. Nothing incredible happens, at no point does the narrative ever break free from the complacent mould of the Disney formula, it’s a sad shame.  

Thanks to a fairly interesting villain in Prince John, the film is slightly salvageable. Robin Hood is nowhere close to the high points of Disney animated classics. Without the charm of Lady and the Tramp or the memorable and unique leading characters from The Lion King, this adaptation of Robin Hood is a harmless and frankly boring piece of film. A firm crowd-pleaser among those blinded by nostalgia, like most Disney films it presents the bare minimum of storytelling and composition and mixes in some solid performances but with nothing else of interest available.   

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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