“Why a spoon, cousin, why not an axe?” … “Because it’s dull, you twit, it will hurt more!” – The Sheriff & His Cousin
Studio: Warner Home Video
Runtime: 155 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Audio: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Purchase Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Extended Version) [Blu-ray]
Much like Braveheart, this is one my most cherished movies of all time. It’s in my top five. In fact, as a youngster growing up I watched this movie over and over again. I remember I used to actually count how many times I watched this movie. I’ll say this, I stopped counting after 75! And I’ve seen it at least five times since then. But hey, who’s counting ? :-p
I guess you have figured out by now, that no matter what, my opinion on the movie portion of this review will be totally bias. So yes, 5 stars, 5 Discs, 10 out of 10, 100% whatever criteria you’re going by its TOP NOTCH! So in other words, if you haven’t seen this movie, you haven’t lived life. Don’t rent it, just buy it! Robin Hood is one of my all-time favorites.
“There was a rich man from Nottingham who tried to cross the river, oh what a dope, he tripped on a rope, now look at him shiver!” – Singing Will Scarlett
Over the years Robin Hood has stood the test of time. Robin Hood has graced movies, TV shows, comics and cartoons. The story has been a favorite for film makers to portray, re-invent, and show case on film again and again. He has been portrayed by Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Richard Todd and Sean Connery. (Who makes a small cameo in this movie.) Each one successful in its own right, as the story premise in itself sells. A hero clad in his green attire, bow and arrows at his mercy, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor and taking the fight to evil. All of this during a time period where being rich had nothing to do with what you made of yourself or the skills you had. You had to be born into riches, noble, or very political I guess. As you can see, that foundation for a story has global appeal and it’s no wonder why this story is put to film many times throughout the years.
The movie is filmed in Britain and France, so realistic landscape can be seen throughout your viewing experience. The film has an all-star studded cast. Kevin Costner (The Rookie, JFK) stars as our protagonist Robin Hood. Where as our antagonist, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is portrayed by Alan Rickman. (Die Hard) You’ll recognize Rickman to be an antagonist in a lot of movies.
Robin Hood’s sidekick in this movie, which presumably you would think is Little John (Nick Brimble) is in fact actually Azeem “The Great One” a Moorish warrior who is played by legendary Morgan Freeman. (Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight) Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio plays Maid Marian and even Christian Slater has an important role as Will Scarlett. Plus, who could forget the beer guzzling Friar Tuck. The film is directed by Kevin Reynolds. (Waterworld, 187, The Count of Monte Cristo)
The story starts out in a Jerusalem prison where Robin escapes with his boyhood friend an English nobleman/soldier (Joseph) of the crusades (like himself) and Muslim Moorish warrior Azeem. During the escape Joseph dies and once Robin and Azeem get away Azeem vows to protect Robin until he has fulfilled his goal with Allah. That of which saving Robin’s life as well.
Robin of Locksley returns home only to find his father has been murdered and his loyal servant Duncan has had his eyes cut out. Upon visiting Marian to inform her of what happened to Joseph the Sheriff’s brother and his men come to apprehend Robin Hood since he bested a few of the Sheriff’s men on his way home for trying to capture a little boy. Thus Robin Hood is forced to retreat to the Sherwood Forest where the rest of our adventure flick takes off.
One of the biggest gripes this movie has gotten over the years is why not an accent for Kevin Costner’s role as Robin Hood. Well let me clear some things up for those haters out there. At the time this film was being made it was on a super tight production scale as two other Robin Hood films were being made all at the same time. Story is, the first film finished would be getting the theater release. One production gave up and backed out which left only two left. The obvious one with Kevin Costner, and the other starring Patrick Bergen.
Because of this tirade, Costner’s accent was dropped and was supposed to be dubbed over in post production. However, they supposedly didn’t have the time to worry about accents to get the movie finished. In which case, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was completed and the Bergen film got slated for TV instead. I presume they also thought it was fine as well without the accents like many of us have. It’s never stayed 100% true to history in the first place. This is basically a realistic looking Robin Hood in the sense of environment and great costumes, but it’s obvious that this flick relies less on historical accuracy and more on Hollywood flair.
Compared to previous releases, it’s a step up in the right direction. However, it wasn’t the right direction that should have been taken with this release. It’s obvious that this release is tied to its DVD extended version hand in hand. Even the cover art is all the same, except for the UK version. (Which is of the first VHS/DVD release) This film should have been a total remaster from its original film print. It seems as if this title was a rush to get out the door. It has a 1080p/VC-1 transfer that suffers from some scenes with too much edge enhancement. Although a lot of it looks great, there are some scenes that look like they could’ve been treated better. Even in the night scenes, particularly the one around the camp fire. It’s an obvious improvement, but no matter what I still feel like a better job could have been done. Hopefully in 2011 we may get a totally remastered 20th anniversary edition. I know this film has age to it, but I pray for a better edition to release someday soon.
Well with the not so great review on the video quality I bet your hoping to hear better with the Audio. Well, again it’s definitely better than any other but with the care that was provided to the video leads me to believe this could have been better as well. None the less, it boasts a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround track. Thankfully, because of that I think it sounds very good to the average listener. Seems like the sound effects may have been redone though as they sound very clear and that’s a bonus. You can really get into the metal clashing and arrows whizzing by and Azeem’s magical explosions near the end. Although it puts your bass and rears to work to engulf you, it still just feels lackluster in so many scenes when it sounds like you hear distortion. Overall, good audio but I feel it could’ve been better. That and I hope so for a future remastered edition.
Well if you’re a Robin Hood fan like myself and already owned the Extended Edition on DVD (2003 release) then you’re in luck. No extra footage! Yay! Don’t you just love my sarcasm? I was happy to get the extended cut with the added extra 12 minutes, but for crying out loud give us some more bonus footage or extras. You know, you could just put some historical Robin Hood stuff on their and that would be different and new and there is masses of media of that kind to be found,(and licensed) or created. Oh wells, at least their Hi-def … Not! Total letdown here WB, ruining my top favorite movie of all time first release to blu-ray. I beg of you, 2011, 20th anniversary new totally remastered video and audio with more bonus features! Make it happen! Kthxbye. :p
For the sole fact alone that they did at least include all the DVD extras is the only thing that kept this rating as high as it is.
- Audio Commentaries: The best part of the special features. The first with director Kevin Reynolds and actor Kevin Costner that covers every aspect of the production. The second is the making of the film with Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, and screenwriters/producers John Watson and Pen Densham.
- The Man, The Myth, The Legend (SD, 32 minutes): Hosted by Pierce Brosnan
- One-On-One with the Cast (SD, 21 minutes): Interviews with Kevin Costner, Alan Rickman, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Christian Slater a brief opportunity to discuss their characters, the story, and the production.
- Isolated Score: You can listen to the full film sans dialogue and sound effects with Warner’s Isolated Score track.
- Live Bryan Adams Performance (SD, 4 minutes): Bryan Adams perform his 90’s hit, “I Do It For You” at Slade Castle.
- Trailers and TV Spots (SD, 5 minutes)
Because it’s Robin Hood, and only because its Robin Hood is why it barely scraped by to clinch a 4 disc rating over all. Yes, I’m bias. However, it’s still the best Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves out today. It does include all the DVD Extras and the video quality is better and the audio quality is decent. Overall, it’s a good purchase just not at full retail unless you’re as big a fan as me. Like I’ve stated earlier, I truly hope we can get a 20th anniversary edition in 2011 that really takes the cake.
For any who have not yet seen this movie, then please by all means purchase it or rent the movie at bare minimum. The actors portray the characters ten fold and the costumes and make up will surround you with Sherwood realism! This title does come recommended as I really can’t say enough good things about this film. I was just a little let down with what was almost a mirrored release compared to the DVD Extended Cut version, besides of course the step up in video quality. Never the less, I hope everyone can enjoy this film at least once in some sort of capacity.