Animal Tails: Robin Hood

            I’ve seen a lot of ‘Robin Hood’ adaptations, and this one has always been my favorite. You shouldn’t be surprised; I love animation, so why wouldn’t the animated version be my favorite? A fox as Robin Hood is quite clever, after all. Overall, the film is just darling. It isn’t necessarily a technological achievement, the animation isn’t groundbreaking, yet it’s a lovely film. The dialogue is witty, the scenes evoke a lot of laughter. It’s a simple, fun film.
            The animation is a bit more cleaned up than Aristocats was, giving it a nice, clean look. The characters are all well developed, from the main players to the little rabbit children and church mice. The lovable characters are just wonderful, while you loathe Prince John, Hiss and the Sheriff for being so cruel to them.
            After Walt’s death, the animation studio was concerned they’d be cut. Thankfully Jungle Booksaved them, or we wouldn’t have the incredible animated films that came after JB (imagine a world without Ariel, Belle, Jasmine—Simba! What a terrible place it would be!). The animation studio has always had periods of glory (Golden Age, Renaissance) and periods of strife (the strike, Walt’s death). Robin Hood was created and released during a period of strife. Due to financial setbacks, a lot of the animation we see is recycled from other films. For instance, Phil Harris’ character Little John is a brown version of Baloo (also Phil Harris’ character) from Jungle Book. The scene where the merry band are dancing in the forest after the archery contest comes straight from Jungle Book as well—when Baloo is dancing with the orangutans. Recycled or not, the scenes and characters fit right in. If I hadn’t known about these similarities before watching Robin Hood, I wouldn’t have noticed.

    The similarity I did notice was that of the character Hiss to the snake from Jungle Book, Kaa. They have the same shape and coloring, though Hiss is significantly shorter in length than Kaa. But they both do the same eye-hypnosis trick. They look so similar that James asked if it was the same voice actor as well! (It isn’t).
I’m not the only one who sees the similarities!

            Kaa and Baloo’s character appearances aren’t the only repeats from Jungle Book. Phil Harris has been in the last three films! First he was Baloo, of course. Then he was Thomas O’Malley the alley cat in Aristocats, and now he’s Little John! I’ll be curious to see if he makes in appearance in the next film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

            There’s not a lot left to say about good ole’ Robin Hood. The rabbit children trio are one of my favorite groups, as they are always doing something funny. I especially laughed when the little birthday-boy rabbit shot an arrow at the same time as Robin did behind him, and thought Robin’s winning shot was his own. And we see how wonderful Robin Hood is when he rescues the baby rabbit, risking his own life to save his. What a hero!


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