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Why Disney's ROBIN HOOD is a Bad, Bad, Movie: A Dialogue

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ernest Rister, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    A: Hey, B. Thanks for coming. I know you don't want to be here and you don't want to hear what I have to say.

    B: Just make this quick. And stop trying to ingratiate yourself to me. I already want to beat the crap out of you for dragging me down here.

    A: All right.

    B: And what is this place -- looks like some sort of halfed-ass Bat Cave.

    A: This is my basement home theater set up. Dual screens. A 100" screen on the left, another on the right. Set up for just this event.

    B: You need to get laid. Seriously.

    A: Never mind that. What is your favorite Disney movie.

    B: Iron Will.

    A: Okay. Favorite animated Disney movie.

    B: The one with the Giant monkey.

    A: Okay, what is your favorite Disney CARTOON movie.

    B: Robin Hood. You know that.

    A: Exactly. Yes. Yes, I know that. Okay. We're making progress.

    B: Do you have anything to drink? You're starting to bore the @#$^ out of me.

    A: An entire litre of Knob Creek awaits you - now...pay attention to the image on the right...

    (a moment plays on the screen to the left...a shot of Mole from "The Wind in the Willows", a shot where he outruns a knife thrown towards his bottom)

    B: Yeah, that's from some old movie, right? So?

    A: Watch this.

    (a shot plays on the screen to the right...a shot of Little John during the "Oo-de-Lally" number, a shot where he outruns an arrow fired towards his bottom)

    B: Whoah. That looked like the same shot.

    A: It was. It was the same animation, only with a new character drawn on top of it.

    B:...Well...so? Who cares? Robin Hood is still great. Dude, I've seen that movie 20 times growing up. There is no way a lot of that movie was traced from another movie.

    A: How many instances of such footage would it take to convince you otherwise?

    B: I don't know. 20?

    (the screening continues...with a demonstration of how mutliple shots in Robin Hood were traced from "Mr. Toad", "The Aristocats" "Snow White" "Goliath II" "The Jungle Book" and more...)

    B: (shaken)...uhm...uhm...that don't mean nothin'.

    A: I'm sorry?

    B: It don't mean NOTHIN!

    A: Do you know what legendary Disney animator Milt Kahl screamed when he saw what was going on with Robin Hood, all the tracing and cut corners?

    B: No.

    A: I can't repeat it. But...it was not good...and not polite. He compared certain Disney employees to...well...prostitutes.

    B: So? Just because, like, a lot of the footage was traced from other cartoons, the movie is like, still fun. It has a great ending.

    A: Oh, does it? What is the ending?

    B: Robin Hood frees everybody and burns down the castle and defeats Prince John.

    A: He does?

    B: Yeah.

    A: Robin Hood defeats Prince John?

    B: Yeah.

    A: Actually, not yeah. In fact, Disney's Robin Hood is actually strangely unique in that the hero DOES NOT soundly defeat the villain and restore order. Robin Hood actually runs away. He shakes his fist and he runs away.

    B: But wait...the movie ends with..

    A...ends with the castle on fire. Yes.

    B: and then we see, um, we see...I can't remeber how but, Prince John is defeated. And we see that moment somewhere. I don't remember it but it must be there.

    A: No. You don't see that. You know why?

    B: Okay, smart ass. Why?

    A: It was cut from the movie.

    B: Dude.

    A: Dude. The original ending of Robin Hood had the Sheriff all but destroying the castle trying to kill or capture Robin Hood, and Robin, of course, escapes. He leaps out of a burning tower into a moat and survives. And then he runs away. RUNS AWAY. Prince John realizes he has lost his hostages, his gold, and now - his castle! He freaks out. BUT...Later...in the darkness...a shadow emerges. Trigger and Nutsy demand the figure show himself...it is King Richard, and he is pissed off.

    B: Oooh, cool! He raises hell, I bet.

    A: None of the King Richard footage is in the movie. It was cut. Why was it cut? I don't know. But the entire "King Richard Returns" sequence was cut from Robin Hood DESPITE the fact that at least a good healthy part of it was INKED and PAINTED. Moments from this aired on the Disney channel in the 80's on the old Disney Family Album, my alphabetic friend.

    B: So? So what? So what's the big deal about this ending?

    A: How does Robin Hood end now?

    B: I don't know - let me think. Uh - Robin and the bunny - they're in the water. They, uh, they shake their fist and say a pox on you or some such and then they get away.

    A: And?

    B: And what?

    A: And what happens after?

    B: The Prince watches Robin get away and he gets mad and he chases the snake and the castle burns. So? And?

    A: Exatly. AND...? What happens NEXT?

    B: I don't know. The picture fades. Then we come back. Yeah, I know. That rooster steps out from behind a tree playing his guitar.

    A: EXACTLY. You remember what the rooster says?

    B: No.

    A: He says, "You know, I thought we'd never get rid of [Prince John and the Sherrif and Sir Hiss], but lucky for us, King Richard returned, and - well - he just straightened everything out.

    B: Um...really?

    A: Yeah. They cut the scene where Richard returned and restored order. So they just had the Rooster tell us what he did.

    B: I never realized that.

    A: Yeah, you know, this is probably the only version of Robin Hood on film where Robin Hood runs away at the end, and somebody steps out from behind a tree and tells us the bad guys got defeated by someone else.

    B: Wow.

    A: Now put that togetjer with the several instances of animation traced from other movies.

    B: Uh huh.

    A: And what are you left with?

    B: Robin Hood is a movie with shoddy production values, a movie that traces moments of animation from several other Disney animated films, and is the only version of Robin Hood on film where Robin Hood runs away instead of defeating the Prince and the Sherriff, and the true ending was cut, and a rooster steps out from behnd a tree and tells us how the bad guys were brought down, instead of the movie showing us.

    A: But the songs are good.

    B: The songs are great.

    A: And so -- what have you learned today?

    B: This is actually a bad movie, with a bad script, only with fun characters and great songs.

    A: And?

    B: Someday I hope to see the full version on DVD.

    A: And?

    B: It can't be that bad if I want to see more of it.

    A: (pause)

    B: Hello?
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Well-Known Member

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    That was great! I'm trying to form a frame of mind here, but I guess you win on the plot points.

    The cartoon style just avoids the blood and gore, and I don't think anyone will ever know for sure exactly what, if anything, happened in real life.

    I did buy that mostly for the rooster, and Roger Miller's songs. If he wasn't in it (or just his voice), I wouldn't have it in my collection. The snake takes a close second. Almost like the one in the 'Jungle Book'.

    Glenn
     
  3. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Well-Known Member

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    I have very fond memories of Robin Hood, one of the first (third?) new Disney movies released after I was born, and my introduction to the Robin Hood legend. True, the movie doesn't have the classic status of a Pinochio or a Peter Pan, but I had a copy on VHS and have it on DVD. I'd love a deluxe edition, but can't see it happening, as RH was always one of Disney's "second tier" (or third tier) movies.
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I wouldn't normally give this subpar Disney more than a moments thought Ernest, but from the few times I've seen it I recall the dance sequence using the same animation movements from Jungle Book and Snow White but with different characters traced over, naughty naughty you filthy old soomka! [​IMG]
     
  5. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    The dance sequence also recycles animation from The Aristocats.

    See, its not the drawing that takes the time...its figuring out how all the arms and legs are supposed to move, and knowing why they should move that way. That's where the art and the talent comes into it (and not coincidentally, all the time, and time = money so, you cut down the time, you save the money. Robin Hood is almost like a rap album with all the "sampling" going on from other movies).

    In Robin Hood, a healthy chunk of that movie's animation is simply recycled from another film, with the new character drawn on top of the old. Throw in the fact the movie has no plot on-screen resolustion to the conflict, and a rooster has to step out from behind a tree and tell us that King richard returned, and "well, he just straightened everything out"...I mean, that's about as low as you can go in a movie without fear of being lynched by the audience. And yet, everyone seems to love Disney's Robin Hood, regardless. I wonder if Michael Eisner has paid too much attention to that fact...

    EISNER
    Look, slaves. It doesn't have to be that good. Look at Robin Hood. Those old bastards traced a lot of that movie and it didn't even have an ending and everybody loves it! Don't come to me with budget problems asking for more money! Just trace it, baby! And who needs an ending? Just have a rooster step out from behind a tree and tell people what happened. They'll love it! They loved it in Robin Hood. That's what we should have done in Treasure Planet. Note to self -- more talking roosters in climax of Chicken Little.
     
  6. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I think what saves Robin Hood from the dustheap of animation are the voice actors, Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas in particular are good value. To be fair the film is colorful fun for the kiddies and I'd rather have this on my Disney shelf than Home on the Range or Brother Bear.
     
  7. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    My four year old niece and two year old nephew *love* Robin Hood. Disney's Robin Hood would actually make a great saturday morning cartoon TV series. The movie itself seems to be made up of "story chunks", like individual episodes of a tv series stitched together.
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Well-Known Member

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    I agree with that Ernest, I think that's the appeal to me. Plus the voice acting and songs as you and Steve mentioned, also the look of the characters is something I like.

    I didn't realize so much of the animation had been traced from other works. It just looked like typical work from that era to me, now I know why.

    The ending always did bug me, but the awkwardness seemed to fit with that "chunks of story" aspect you mentioned.
     
  9. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    Since Sam mentioned his desire for a "deluxe" edition, would it be possible to finish inking and painting the original ending digitally and reinstate it to the film?
     
  10. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. If people are buying the title as is, EisnerCorp. would need a reason to spend the money to finish it. I suppose it is not outside the realm of possibility, if the restoration of Bedknobs and Broomsticks is any guide.

    What I saw in the 80's on the Disney Family Album episode devoted to Ken Anderson was already fully inked and painted...Nutsy and Trigger doing the "who goes there" routine, and then King Richard appearing from the shadows, looking extremely pissed off.

    At the least, a new Robin hood DVD could include it as a deleted scene, but we may not see that until HD-DVD.
     
  11. Michael Costa

    Michael Costa Active Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jim Barg

    Jim Barg Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I never knew they cut so many corners. I loved this as a kid, and would happily buy a deluxe edition with the added ending. (I may need to look into getting the CD, as well.)
     
  13. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    I still can't believe that Robin Hood ends that way. Instead of ending the film like almost every other version of the Robin Hood tale, with Robin restoring Justice and defeating the Prince and the Sherriff, preparing the way for the King to return -- Disney ends with Robin Hood running away from the Castle, which is on fire. We then dissolve to the town square, and Alan-a-Dale, the Rooster, steps out from behind a tree and says:

    ROOSTER
    You know, I thought we'de never get rid of that ol' Prince John, but luck for us, King Richard returned and, well, he just straightened everything out.

    (sound of Church bell)

    ROOSTER (CONT.)
    Hey! Let's get to the Church! Sounds like someone's getting hitched!

    They don't SHOW US what happened, they just tell us --they cut the scene where King Richard returns and lays down the paw.

    Imagine if any other movie had tried to get away with that...

    Imagine if Star Wars had ended in a similar fashion -- C-3PO stepping out from behind a tree at the Rebel Base and saying:

    "You know, I thought we'd never get rid of that Death Star. But lucky for us, Luke, Han, and the Rebels took off and - well - they just straightened everything out."

    (sound of Rebel Fanfare)

    "Hey! Let's get to temple! Sounds like someone's gettin' a medal!"

    ***************

    Or Mayor Vaughn in Jaws:

    "You know, I thought we'd never get rid of that ol' shark, but lucky for us, Sherrif Brody went to sea and - well, he just straightened everything out."

    (sounds of 50's rock music)

    "Hey, let's get to the beach! Sounds like someone's doin' the limbo! Everybody limbo!"

    ****************

    Or Sallah in Raiders:

    "You know my friend, I thought Indy would never get rid of those Nazis, but lucky for us, Belloq opened the Ark and God - well, God just incinerated their infidel bodies with hellfire and cast their unclean souls into eternal damnation, and He just straightened everything out.

    (sound of a camel farting)

    "Ooo! Sounds like a well-fed camel! My brother will be so pleased! Let's find it before it gets away!"

    ------------------------------------
     
  14. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Well-Known Member

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    ROFL, Ernest.

    I've got a soft spot for Robin Hood in spite of its extremely obvious shortcomings, but wasn't the picture part of the gaping creative chasm at Disney following Walt's passing and known as the Card Walker years? Nobody in Disney's top brass took creative decisions or control and everything wound up being written and produced by committee.

    Everything from that period 1973-1985 was pretty lacklustre, and there are a couple of live-action turkeys that got made that show considerably lower production values than Robin Hood. IMHO, until they made Little Mermaid, I think the Disney board was happy to think of the company as a theme park company that occasionally made movies. When they got a success on their hands, they suddenly remembered their core business again.
     
  15. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Well-Known Member

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    Or an ape steps out:

    "You know . . . even I don't know what the hell happened after Marky Mark left that planet!"

    (sound of spray paint can rattling)

    "Well, off to vandalize the Chimp Lincoln Memorial!"
     
  16. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Well-Known Member

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    I never really liked this film, but I'm shocked to find out so much had been traced from other Disney movies.

    The ending sounds a lot like that segment of And Now For Something Completely Different with the giant cat. The narrator goes on to tell of an epic battle, but it's all over a completely still shot of the storyteller sitting in a chair. [​IMG]
     
  17. JeremySt

    JeremySt Well-Known Member

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    Dont you see John and Hiss in a rock quarry in shackles at the end of the movie? Seems like they were defeated.
     
  18. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Well-Known Member

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    We know they are brought down because the rooster tells us what happened. Then we see the wedding, and the carriage rolling by the rock garden.

    Oh, by the way -- the music during the sequence when Little John and Skippy think Robin Hood has been killed? The sad music?

    That music was recycled in five different movies by composer George Bruns. It appears:

    When the Three Fairies look on at Sleeping Beauty in her bed, asleep, victim of Maleficent's curse.

    When Pongo and Perdy wait sadly for news of their stolen puppies in 101 Dalmatians.

    When Wart sits alone in the kitchen after "popping off" to Sir Ector in The Sword in the Stone

    When Baloo appears dead in The Jungle Book

    And then the aforementioned scene in Robin Hood. The same exact music cue every time.
     
  19. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Well-Known Member

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    Or Galadriel in LotR:

    "You know, I thought we'd never get rid of that old Ring. But Gollum, he just bit off Frodo's old finger and fell in the volcano and Aragorn straightened everything out."

    (sounds of Fellowship theme)

    "Hey, let's get to the White Tree! Sounds like someone's getting hitched!"
     
  20. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    Since you brought up Bedknobs, it should be pointed out that the reconstruction of that film was done in 1995/1996 (things have changed at EisnerCorp. since then), and all the footage reinstated was live-action, and there was about 20 minutes of previously unseen footage. I have no idea what it cost, and Disney did a good job overall on the reconstruction itself but a lousy job promoting it. Happiest Millionaire was also reconstructed in this time period if I recall correctly, and with even less promotion.

    A theoretical restoration of the original ending to Robin Hood would depend on:

    1. The existence of the 35mm successive exposure negatives to
    the parts that were finished, and of negatives for the test animation before the management scrapped the ending.

    2. Extant sound elements (as many voice actors have died, new ones will have to be hired by Disney Character Voices).

    3. The ability to ink-and-paint and clean up the remainder of the sequence (how much of it was shown on TV in the program you mentioned?) by computer, as we all know what happened to Feature Animation. Shouldn't be that hard.

    Disney apparently took the scissors to a lot of their films after Walt's death, but I assumed all of them were live-action. For one specific example I'd like to remind you all of:

    The idea of reconstructing the original version of "Watcher in the Woods" (1981) was suggested by Anchor Bay, but Disney nixed it even though AB found that the elements were in the inventory). There was even a thread about it, which you can read here (despite the fact that the main crux of the thread was removed):

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=68372
     

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