Written by Pirata Hermosa
Just in time to coincide with Ridley Scott's new feature film based on the story of Robin Hood, 20th Century Fox has released the Blu-ray version of the Mel Brooks’ comedy spoof based on the famous swashbuckler. Robin Hood: Men in Tights was originally made in 1993 right after the big-budget Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner as the lead character. That is why a lot of the jokes and the basic storyline pokes fun directly at that version as well as some of the earlier Errol Flynn films.
While not nearly as good as some of his well-known classic comedies, it does contain its share of laughs and has the usual plethora of Hollywood stars rounding out the cast: Cary Elwes as Robin Hood, Dave Chappelle as his sidekick Ahchoo, and Richard Lewis as the completely inept Prince John, just to name a few.
As this film was released 17 years ago, most people have already made up their mind in regards to whether they plan to watch it or whether or not they like the type of humor Mel Brooks is known for. So the most important new information regarding this current release is whether or not it’s worth buying the Blu- ray.
For the Blu-Ray version the video is in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and the audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Since I also have a copy on regular DVD it was fairly easy to compare the two. The original DVD is pretty grainy and it’s very obvious that the film was recorded before the advent of DVDs. The sound quality was adequate, but felt more like you were watching something on television as opposed to the quality you might have in a theatre. The Blu-ray still showed a little bit of the grain from the original, but from the quality of the DVD and what they obviously had to work from, I would have been surprised if it didn’t. The DTS-HD Master Audio track was worlds better than the original and was just as good as if you were sitting in the theatre during its initial premiere.
It contains two special features, “Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy,“ and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend Had it Coming,” which is an HBO special. And finally there is a commentary by Mel Brooks. The original DVD contains only the first feature.
If you were just buying your first copy Robin Hood: Men in Tights and had to choose between the DVD and the Blu-ray, there’s no question that you should get the Blu-ray as it is the superior product. But if you already have the DVD, it’s not necessary to run out and buy the new version because the film focuses more on jokes than it does on visual effects or a grand audio track.
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Robin Hood: Men in Tights on Blogcritics.