Back in 2017, I started regularly reviewing movies, and over time I found that I enjoy retrospective movie reviews more than writing about comics. As much as I want to get back into comics someday, movies have been a much bigger part of my life overall. So have video games, but I don’t really have the time to write about them regularly. These days it takes me weeks to finish one game, if not months, so why bother covering them even sporadically? Anyway, I started these movie blog posts by looking at all 56 movies from Disney Animation Studios. At least, there were 56 at the time. Now there are 60. A number of them I never saw before, and I wasn’t completely sure how I felt about some of those. Among those, you have the two “Robin” movies.
I’m referring to 1973’s Robin Hood and 2007’s Meet The Robinsons. This is going to be a relatively quick post. I’ve already talked about both of these films’ backgrounds in my original post – no reason to expand on them. First, let’s talk about Robin Hood.
When I saw Robin Hood back in 2017, I thought it was just ok. I found it overall entertaining. My complaints were that there was never a real sense of danger for the title character, I felt that the slapstick comedy went too far at times, and Prince John was too much of a wimp.
The second time round, I enjoyed the comedy a bit more. There are a lot of creative decisions behind the animation style, like John’s snake friend using his tail as a propellant after his head is stuck in a balloon. If you’re going with the animal route for the characters in general, making Robin Hood a fox fits perfectly, and turning Prince John into a whiny lion is kind of hilarious. Even so, I found that Prince John is too much of a wimp for my tastes, and he’s also clearly an idiot who hasn’t thought through his taxation all that much.
Well, I can think of some modern politicians who are the same way, but let’s not get into that.
For me, the best part of this movie is its dramatic side, showing the hardships that the people of Nottingham are facing due to over taxation from a cruel leader and his cronies.
With that said, my overall opinion of this movie hasn’t changed all that much. I personally know several people who very much enjoy this movie. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it more if I saw it as a kid. But since I never saw this until my late 20’s, it’s got no nostalgic value to me. My main complaint is that, outside of the climax, it never feels like Robin is in any kind of danger. That’s fine for a movie that’s mostly a comedy, but Disney has released comedic adventures with a greater sense of danger. I like the movie, and I did enjoy it a bit more the second time round, but not enough to change its place in the list of all the Disney movies I made at the end of my marathon.
Meet the Robinsons on the other hand, I enjoyed it quite a bit more on my second viewing. Maybe it’s partly because I’ve found Disney’s last few releases to be lackluster at best. Maybe it’s because the movie actively tried to do something different. Maybe my enjoyment of the movie the first time round was dampened by how mediocre most of the other 2000’s movies are, and I was just looking forward to getting to the far superior early 2010’s. But whatever the case, the first time round I thought the movie was just ok.
Meet The Robinsons has several big things going for it. There’s the very creative visual style for this movie’s version of the future. It’s strange, sure, with bubbles being a major form of transportation, but it’s a quirky strange that works with the movies overall tone. The comedy is just the right level of over-the-top, giving the movie a cartoony feel without taking it too far. Third, and most importantly, it’s got several great messages behind it. There’s both the message of perseverance, which the movie handles very well, and there’s a strong message of being able to let go of the past in order to move forward. This is something that both the main character and the main villain need to learn.
Lewis, the main character, is a genius orphan who is trying to develop a memory machine to see the mother who left him at an orphanage as a baby. Eventually he gets the opportunity to see his mother in person, but by then he’s grown enough as a character to let that moment go. The core catchphrase of the Robinsons family, “Keep Moving Forward”, works with both of these messages.
And of course, the Bowler Hat Guy is hilariously stupid and over-the-top.
It’s a shame that Meet The Robinsons bombed, when the abysmal Chicken Little somehow made a profit. It should have been the other way around. Meet The Robinsons isn’t quite a great movie, but it’s a charming movie with a great message behind it. It’s more than enough to overcome the movie’s understandably cheap looking animation.
To conclude this re-evaluation, if you’re an adult, I wouldn’t really recommend watching Robin Hood for the first time. That said, it’s an easy recommendation for kids, and from what I’ve seen, those who enjoyed it as a kid will still enjoy it as an adult. Meet The Robinsons on the other hand is definitely worth checking out. It’s no masterpiece, but you may be pleasantly surprised.