In reality, it has only been a month since my last posting – though I am sure we can all agree it has felt like a whole lot more than that. After discussing whether or not we should even post one this month, we decided that little distractions such as this blog are helpful in getting through tough times. While I briefly thought about posting a review of Outbreak (rank 818th in case you are curious) given the climate we are in, I settled on a movie that fits the bill as a little distraction for me. That movie is the Disney animated version of Robin Hood (dir. Wolfgang Reitherman).
Everyone knows the Robin Hood story, whether it be from the delightfully tame Errol Flynn version, the remarkably bad Russell Crowe version, or the good-except-for-the-Kevin-Costner-part Kevin Costner version. My personal favorite has always been and likely will always be the animated version. As Disney tends to do, they anthropomorphized various animals to take on the various inhabitants of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. This makes the film extremely palatable to children (and those of us who still consider ourselves children when it comes to movie watching). The Robin Hood story deals with some very adult and unpleasant things (poverty, oppression, starvation), but when a dancing and singing fox and his bear friend are dealing with it, those things don’t seem nearly as bad.
I can truly re-watch Robin Hood just about any time. It’s not very long. It elicits significant positive nostalgia for me from having regularly watched it growing up. (Indeed, even today my sister – who is about two years older than me and is my best friend in the world – and I can make each other laugh with a simple “Yay, dad” or “I’ve got a dirty thumb” or “Come again…at my birthday.”) It’s also just a ton of fun. You basically get to see Baloo from The Jungle Book as Little John (Phil Harris voices both characters, who are both bears, and even do that super familiar dance move that Mowgli and Baloo do in the Bare Necessities). What’s not to like?
I am a realist when it comes to films, so you can see the scores are good but not off the charts good. Is it the world’s greatest movie? Of course not. I could sit here and quibble about the animation being a little stale for 1973 or the songs not being particularly inventive in their lyrics, but that isn’t what I think about when I watch the movie. I simply fall into the story and smile. So in many ways, it might just be the most perfect movie for this particular time and this particular place.
For those of you wondering, there is a great website that lets you search for various movies and where they are available to stream right now. (As you might guess, Robin Hood is only available on DisneyPlus.) That site is helpful for creating a quarantine playlist and can be found at https://www.justwatch.com/. Just type in any movie or TV show in the search bar and find out how you can watch it at home.