Customer Review

480 of 491 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the upgrade? Probably., November 21, 2006
This review is from: Robin Hood (Most Wanted Edition) (DVD)
Previous to this 'Most Wanted Edition' release, Disney had released a Gold Collection version. Having seen the two head to head, the Most Wanted is definitely a worthwhile purchase, though purists may wish to hang onto their Gold Collection Edition.

For those interested in the movie's plot (though if you don't know it by now), this 1973 Disney film follows the adventures of the classic Robin Hood story (though all the characters have been replaced by Disney animal versions), where he and his pal Little John are constantly thwarting the plans of Prince John, his servant Sir Hiss, and the rotten Sheriff of Nottingham. It doesn't follow the original legend too closely, but then, Robin Hood is a walking, talking fox, so don't expect historical accuracy. Made during Disney's less 'talked about' era (the void between Disney's untimely death and the song stylings of Elton John), the film is still a delight for adults and children. At least, I like it, but critics and animation buffs seem to have some issues with it (not the least of which is a segment where several sequences reuse animation from other Disney films). It's not as plot intensive and tightly told as Disney's later films, but it has quite a few memorable sequences and some great one-liners ("Oo-de-lally! A CROWN!").

But onto the DVD and its features.

VIDEO: The film is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio, making it widescreen. However, (and this is where the purists may take offense), the film was initially created in 1.37:1 aspect, thus making the fullscreen version available on the previous Gold Collection release the 'correct' video standard (a viewing of the widescreen next to the fullscreen does, in fact, show cropping at the top and bottom). However, this does not mean that the widescreen is automatically a problem. Not only is the transfer noticeably clearer and more detailed, but the film was animated to take both fullscreen and widescreen into respect (theatres at the time were capable of displaying one or the other), so technically both aspect ratios can be termed 'the original theatrical.' Because of this, no significant portion of the picture at the top and bottom is lost (though like I said, purists should hang onto their Gold Collections for this reason only). Perhaps a choice of viewing options should have been made available because of this issue, but unfortunately only the widescreen is included on this DVD.

AUDIO: Sound is noticeably better, especially the music (at least, on the sound system I compared them). The 5.1 transfer, while not causing the sound to do miraculous things, does sound more dynamic and sharper. A definite improvement here.

SPECIAl FEATURES: This release includes all the features from the Gold Collection release, with the notable exception of the Read-Along Storybook (a DVD version of the printed storybook released alongside the original movie) and switching out a trivia game for...another trivia game. Interesting. However, everything else is there, along with some additional features (including a storyboarded alternate ending) not previously available.

So, what's my pick? I say, especially if you don't own the film, this is the best version of the two to get. The picture's better, sound's better, and the special features overall are better (and since the previous release, Disney invented its 'Fastplay' feature, which is nice to have compared to the Gold Collection's 'fast forward through the trailers'-only option). But, this is mainly a caution to those looking for the 'Ultimate, Never Have to Buy It Again' edition: the fullscreen, uncropped version is not here. Perhaps in a future two-disc release, though it is doubtful Disney cares enough about this film and its era to do that.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 27, 2006 4:30:32 PM PST
dooby says:
Excellent review. Very informative. Thank you very much. The vote button doesn't seem to work so I'll leave a comment here. I'll pass on this edition and wait for the next. Cheers.

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 7:00:27 AM PDT
Eric K. says:
Wow. What an awesome detailed review. That's exactly what I wanted to know: should I upgrade? You perfectly answered my questions and convinced me!

Posted on Apr 6, 2008 9:24:08 AM PDT
JasonK says:
One of the best reviewers! Thanks for the detailed, clear info that should be included on every item!

Posted on Aug 9, 2008 9:01:42 PM PDT
Rocko W. says:
Usually I have to go through some reviews to find out what I want but thanks to your review I got all the info I wanted. Thanks.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 5:33:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2009 5:33:26 AM PDT
Joevn says:
I was wondering whether to get this since I already have the Gold Collection release and was glad to find this review that addressed the two releases. Thanks for the informative review!

Posted on Sep 6, 2010 4:55:51 PM PDT
Mayfayre says:
Excellent review! You gave me all the information I was looking for, when comparing the two versions. Thanks!

Posted on Oct 18, 2010 5:26:18 PM PDT
If only every review could be this thorough and delicious! High-five to you, Mr. Paul. Thanks.

Posted on May 22, 2012 6:58:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 22, 2012 7:00:51 AM PDT
hitokage says:
I want to point out that just because a film is shot full frame doesn't mean it was meant to be shown that way. For example Back to the Future was also filmed full frame, but meant to be shown in 1.85:1. This led to problems when they first released the trilogy on DVD, as the 2nd and 3rd movies ended-up not being framed correctly in portions of the film, and Universal eventually offering replacement discs.

The likely reason Disney continued to film full frame was that it was easier to use for TV broadcasts. So 1.85:1 is "correct" for theatrical showings (widescreen formats were more common at the time of release) and 1.37:1 (actually 1.33:1 for TV) is "correct" for broadcasts.

For those who can't decide or want both (fullscreen & widescreen) you could hold out and see what they do (if they do) a Blu-ray release. Next year is the 40th anniversary, so maybe another reissue will happen.

Posted on Jul 10, 2013 7:49:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2013 7:56:21 PM PDT
Rick says:
According to IMDb the theatrical aspect ratio is 1.78:1, with a negative ratio of 1.37:1.

Robin Hood (1973)
Technical Specifications
Runtime 1 hr 23 min (83 min)
Sound Mix Mono (RCA Photophone Sound Recording)
Color Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio 1.78 : 1
1.37 : 1 (negative ratio)
Laboratory Technicolor
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2013 3:34:11 AM PDT
jean says:
I was to young to see it in 1973.... Discoverver it in 1.33 on VHS and DVD wich is the correct format for TV screens...
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