Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Mel Brooks|
Columbia Tristar F/D
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, anyone for pumps?|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, the credits start to roll over closing dialogue.|
The spoof genre does not have a happy history, producing more misses than hits. Robin Hood: Men In Tights is one of the success stories. The major factor in the success of Men In Tights is the casting of Cary Elwes as Robin Hood, and the writing of Mel Brooks. Elwes is the perfect swash-buckling hero, as he showed in The Princess Bride, and he plays the role to perfection here. The support cast are also very good, with Richard Lewis (looking uncannily like Mel Gibson) as the evil Prince John and Roger Reese doing a very good Alan Rickman as the delightfully bumbling Sheriff of Rottingham. Amy Yasbeck as Maid Marian falls somewhat flat (she just look too American), but as her role is not overly large the impact is reduced.
I think there are very few people who do not know the story of Robin Hood. For those that do not, the plot, such as it is, revolves around Robin of Loxley attempting to wrest his family's lands, good name, and all of England back from the usurping Prince John and his lackey, the Sheriff of Notting(Rotting)ham. There is very little in the way of actual story to Men In Tights, instead just a sequence of jokes poking fun at Kevin Costner in particular, Prince Of Thieves in general, and the entire Robin Hood mythology just for completeness. There are many hilarious moments in this movie, my personal favourite being the "Men In Tights" song and dance. My one criticism of the movie is that the individual comic sequences are somewhat disjointed, seeming more like a series of sketches than a whole movie. While this certainly effects the comic momentum, it is not a huge problem as most sequences stand well enough on their own. People who like spoofs will love this movie (it is far superior to most recent Leslie Nielsen efforts), but you do have to be prepared for a very silly experience.
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
As I mentioned, this is a very variable transfer, and it is most apparent in sharpness. While at times the image is clear and crisp (such as 18:29-18:39) showing good detail, especially on foregrounds, there are other occasions (such as 9:48-11:07) when the image simply becomes a blur of grain and it is all but impossible to make out any detail, let alone fine detail. For the most part, the transfer manages to keep the grain in check, but it is always a threatening presence. Shadow detail is quite good, with darker sequences showing a nice amount of depth. There is no low-level noise present in this transfer.
Colour is another variable aspect of this transfer. The majority of the transfer displays very nice colour, with deep rich blacks, and good highlights. The greens of the fields around Robin's castle are especially good, as is the wonderfully lit, sumptuous, meeting between the Sheriff of Rottingham and Don Giovanni (56:11-60:33). On occasion however, there is a vast change to drab colouring with no highlights showing at all. The worst offender here is the sequence from 9:42-11:51, although to be fair this is hampered by location filming on what is clearly an overcast day.
Apart from pixelization caused by the heavy grain in places, there is little in the way of MPEG artefacts. This pixelization cannot be ignored when it is present however, and easily removes the viewer from the movie to pay attention to it. Aliasing is also an occasional problem, but that is not a real surprise in a movie that deals with arrows. An example of this is at 76:58 where the "Patriot Arrow" more closely resembles a series of slits than an arrow. Fortunately, the occurrences are not frequent and do not overly effect enjoyment of the movie. There is a small amount of wobble visible during the opening and closing credits, but again, it does not effect the movie itself. Film artefacts are a frequent, although not constant, problem. For the most part, these are small and not distracting. Some sequences, however, such as 4:06-4:11 are noticeably quite bad.
Subtitles are generally quite good, only occasionally dropping a word when a lot is said in a short period. Even better is that the "Men In Tights" dance is subtitled 100% accurately - now we can all learn the lyrics and sing it to long-suffering friends!
This is a single sided, single layer disc and hence has no layer change.
There are three soundtracks on this disc, being the original English dialogue and dubs in German and Italian. All three sound-tracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded and with the surround flag set.
Dialogue was clear throughout the presentation and there was never a problem with understanding the words.
Audio sync was generally good, although during song sequences there were some noticeable problems. However, as the singing was dubbed in from other performers, this is to be expected.
The score is provided by Hummie Mann and is fairly stereotypical for the spoof genre, being greatly exaggerated in its following of conventions. Bad guys get low plodding brass, while the hero gets, well, heroic music. It works well within this genre, and adds somewhat to the nature of the movie. There are also a number of song (and sometimes dance) routines in the movie that are used to good comedic effect, especially the "Men In Tights" song that was written by Mel Brooks.
The surround channel is not heavily used, but does provide support to much of the score, although at a lower level than the front channels. Surround support is also used for arrow flight, and ambient crowd noise in sequences involving many people. While not spectacular, the surround use is fairly good for a solely Pro Logic mix.
The subwoofer is rarely called upon, but when it is (such as when Robin's family castle is towed away at 14:42), there is a good level of effect provided.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is extremely variable, ranging from clear and crisp to blurry and very grainy.
The audio quality is good for a 2.0 surround sound track, but is all that is needed for this type of movie.
The extras are extremely limited and are quite disappointing. They are of almost no interest at all.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||RCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|