Have I mentioned how much I love Disney's animated Robin Hood? I suspect I have, but allow me to repeat myself, because hey, it's delightful and possibly my favorite. A few of the reaons I love it so dearly, in no order other than as I thought of them:
- Kids that are believably kids--which is a sad scarcity in most forms of fiction (with fanfic being especially egregious, I must admit). The interactions between the little gang of rabbits and their turtle friend is spot on--and I speak as someone who spends a fair amount of time around kids in that age range.
- Robin Hood and Little John's friendship--man, I love it so. It just ... is. We're not given any backstory, there's nothing to endanger it; their bickering is comfortable, like that of people who care deeply about each other and have spent a long time living in each other's pockets. It's fitting that the first words of the actual story are "Robin Hood and Little John, running through the forest", because that's them.
- ...Have I mentioned how good the music is? Because the music is fantastic.
- Prince John is funny without it making him any less of a threat; he's always entertaining and interesting when on screen, without making him any less of a despicable character. We understand him, but don't feel sorry for him, as every bad thing that happens to him is either self-inflicted or just recompence for prior actions.
- Robin Hood & Maid Marian knew each other before the story starts--which is a rarity among the Disney fairy-tale retellings. Aurora and Prince Philip have a single brief afternoon together; even Rapunzel and Flynn know each other for a day and half, perhaps two. But Robin Hood and Maid Marian knew each other as children, and are both longing to be reunited. It's lovely to see an old relationship cherished like that.
- Also lovely: the animation. The landscapes in this are gorgeous, the action scenes hum with energy, and all the water scenes are beautifully animated. When I think of "classic" animation, this is the prime example.
- Even though I've now seen the movie many, many times, Robin's "death" still always gets me a bit--Little John's grief is so palpable, and Skippy's desperate need to be reassured only intensifies that grief. It's a beautifully executed scene.
- ...this one's a little odd, I'll admit, but: having to explain to a 5 year old the concepts of taxes, "ethical" theft, dynastic politics, and the difference between imprisonment and slavery. For all that it's a fun movie, it's also full of really, really big and heavy ideas, laid out in a way that a young child can start to engage with them--and that's a hard thing to do right.