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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Robin Hood Men in Tights [Blu-ray]


(Mel Brooks, 1993)






Also part of the Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray



Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Brooksfilms

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: FREE!

Runtime: 1:44:22.256

Disc Size: 35,356,074,241 bytes

Feature Size: 29,128,335,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.96 Mbps

Chapters: 32

Case: Standard U.S Blu-ray Case

Release date: May 11th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 4045 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4045 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2060 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4045 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, French & Spanish



• Commentary with Mel Brooks

• Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy – in HD (13:49)

• Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend Had it Coming – in SD (26:14)

• Isolated Score Track in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

• Theatrical Trailer


Description: Fox’s Mel Brooks Collection, released in December 2009, included nine of Mel Brooks' ten films - absent only The Producers. At that time three of his movies were already available on Blu-ray (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs) and it seemed only a matter of time before the other six would find their way to becoming available outside the collection. Fox is releasing three of them separately on May 11: Robin Hood: Men in Tights, History of the World: Part 1, and High Anxiety. Presumably the remaining three will come out on their own at some later date.



The Film: 4
Well, Mel, it's been quite a climb, sort of like the one by Dante and Virgil. He started with the likes of The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein and ended with Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Itself a parody of the Reynolds/Costner Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Brook's final movie to date is a better vehicle for sending up, or hommaging, or whatever, than To Be or Not To Be - this much is certain. I like the title and the line by the generally underrated Cary Elwes ("Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.") A couple of the supporting actors are worth our time: Roger Rees as the Sheriff of Rottingham and the awesome Tracey Ullman as Latrine, the ugliest witch on the planet with a yen for Prince John. Amy Yasbeck is a Maid Marion lovely to look at, but Richard Lewis as Prince John is a bore, and Dave Chappelle as Achoo is not nearly as funny as he can be. Mel Brooks' direction here is lazy and without a clue as to how to fill his frame. There is no excuse for a parody to look amateurish in the bargain.



Image: 8/8  NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Wouldn't you know that one of the lesser movies in this collection gets one of the better transfers! Such is comedy, I guess. In all fairness I should add that the visuals benefit from its highly resolved, color-rich image. Dimensionality would be better is it were lit accordingly; on the other hand, detail and contrast are very good, with perhaps a touch crushing of the blacks.














Audio & Music: 8/8
The DTS-HD MA mix does what it can to breathe some life into this otherwise dull movie, and I have to admit it almost succeeded. The music score, once again ably supplied by John Morris, as he has from the start for Mr. Brooks, offers some majesty and the occasional humping. Effects busily engage the surrounds with everything from whistling arrows to Latrine's bubbling pot.



Extras: 7
Imported from the DVD is the commentary with Mel Brooks – anecdotal and entertaining, as expected. "Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy" considers the cross generational talents of the likes of Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patton, and Dave Chappelle, using this as a springboard to talk about the making of the movie. Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend had it Coming" is a very good vintage HBO special that would have been nice in HD. The title is self-explanatory. John Morris's excellent music is accessible in uncompressed audio in the Isolated Score Track.


Bottom line: 6
The movie has its moments, but is not one of Brooks’ better efforts. The PQ is very good, as is the audio. Extra Features are entertaining and worth the effort, better than the movie, as it happens.

Leonard Norwitz
May 15th, 2010





Also part of the Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray



About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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