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Jan 282014
 

Even though many of the classic Disney movies first premiered way before our generation, they still continue to be big favorites today. One such classic is Disney’s Robin Hood. Believe it or not, this was the very first version I ever saw that wasn’t used as an episode plot in various cartoon series.

There were some confusing factors when compared with other movie versions of Robin Hood. It’s not that all of the characters are animals, far from it. I’m talking about other important items that were left out. They include Robin Hood not being identified as Robin of Loxley, the Merry Men (Only limited to Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck) not featured as a group of Saxons, and there is no Will Scarlet.

Of course, Maid Marian is Robin’s love interest. Even though she wasn’t featured very much in this version, it was easy to tell since they’re both foxes. What I found confusing about Maid Marian is that King Richard is her uncle. So does that mean Prince John is her father? Nah, it couldn’t be. Of course there was no mention of who he is to Marian.

Speaking of Prince John, he is greedy and cruel, but a real mamas boy, unlike other versions. Whenever Prince John thinks of his mother, he goes crazy saying “Mommy” and sucks his thumb. That just makes it too easy to make fun of him, which does happen on a couple of occasions.

Now let’s talk about the Sheriff of Nottingham. In other versions of Robin Hood, the Sheriff desires Maid Marian. Here he just collects taxes for Prince John, even taking from children and the poor boxes without a care. That’s just low, but it makes him a more interesting villain.

Robin and Little John go through many different disguises to rob the rich so they can give to the poor, which explains the extra laundry. One thing’s for sure. They are heroes to the people of Nottingham, including 7-year-old Skippy, who idolizes Robin Hood after getting the perfect gifts from him.

This movie also has plenty of exciting action. I’d have to say that my most favorite part is the fight scene after the archery contest. Maid Marian’s companion Lady Cluck is one tough bird. She uses the golden arrow trophy as a weapon to poke soldiers in the behind.

What really made this stand out was when a bunch of soldiers got caught inside a tent and Lady Cluck turned it into a runaway tent that crashed into everything in this path. It wasn’t clear if the runaway tent actually stopped when it took down that brick tower. It could’ve run into the sunset for all I know.

Right after that there was a romantic scene with Robin and Marian. It was hard to pay attention to because all I could think about was that battle scene. That soon changed when the villagers celebrated with Little John singing about Prince John.

Out of revenge, Prince John increased the taxes, which caused most of the villagers to go to prison. Then he planned to hang Friar Tuck to bait Robin into a trap. Things become more intense as Robin and Little John attempt a jailbreak.

This movie is truly a classic version Robin Hood, next to Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Each character’s persona matches what animal they are. Alan A’dale the rooster claimed that it was the real tale, but I don’t know. What do you think?

Dec 172013
 

Next to seals, the polar bear is a wonderful animal to think of when it comes to the Christmas holiday, particularly the ones that drink Coke from the bottle. In honor of the Coca-Cola polar bear, I have a list of my top ten favorite bears in pop culture. Unfortunately, none of them are from the Arctic. So bear with me.

#10) Winnie the Pooh from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: He’s a quiet and friendly bear that loves honey. What usually stands out to me is Pooh’s classic catchphrase. Whenever he finishes a honey pot, he always says, “Oh, bother. Empty.”

#9) Sancho Panda from The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda: He is the nervous, but noble squire of Don Coyote and rides a donkey for a steed. Sancho is sensible, even though Don never listens to him when it comes to avoiding trouble, but you’ve got to hand it to him for trying.

#8) Lookout Bear (Michael B. Moynahan) from Zoobilee Zoo: This adventurous bear loves to travel. He drives a jeep and lives in a tent. It seems primitive compared to the other zoobles’ houses. I don’t think it even has a bathroom, but Lookout doesn’t seem to mind.

#7) The Country Bear Jamboree from Disney’s Magic Kingdom: This is a group of performing bears that perform country songs. It was one of the main attractions that’s been a part of Walt Disney World since the 70s and still remains there today. I never really had just one favorite among the group, but The Country Bear Jamboree has always been a favorite since I was a kid.

#6) The Buddy Bears from Garfield and Friends: Bobby, Billy, and Bertie are a trio of brothers, who sing, dance, and always get along with each other. Their antics often drive others crazy when their purpose is to teach important lessons to their viewers. Whether it’s to invade Garfield’s personal space or drop heavy objects on Roy the rooster, these bear cubs leave me laughing.

#5) Yogi Bear from Yogi Bear: There’s no doubt that he is one of Hanna Barbera’s biggest icons. Yogi, along with his good friend Boo-Boo, are friendly park bears that love food in picnic baskets and will do anything to get them. Yet it often results in driving Ranger Smith crazy. In later years, Yogi has adventures with the other talking animals of Hanna Barbera. And like Scooby-Doo, he was a team captain on the Laff-A-Lympics. He certainly is smarter than the average bear, not to mention friendlier.

#4) Little John from Disney’s Robin Hood: I totally remember this bear from when I was a kid. He is Robin Hood’s faithful companion when they go out helping the poor by rebelling against Prince John. Little John is a master of disguise just like Robin and has a fun persona.

On a side note: Some might confuse him with Baloo from Disney’s The Jungle Book because the same voice actor did both roles (Phil Harris). Do you think there’s a resemblance?

#3) Tummi Gummi from Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears: He was always my most favorite of the Gummis, mainly because he is very similar to Garfield. Tummi sounds like Garfield and love to eat like Garfield. Isn’t that something?

#2) Teddy Ruxpin from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Technically, Teddy is an illiop, but when it comes down to it, he is in fact a bear. Teddy hails from the country of Rillonia and enjoys going on adventures in the land of Grundo with his best friends Grubby and Gimmick, as well as making new friends everywhere he goes. Teddy’s loyal and positive attitude always comes in handy when there’s a squabble among his friends. It’s all part of what makes this teenage bear such a big hero.

#1) Fozzie Bear from Muppets franchise: What bear could compete with this lovable and comedic performer. Fozzie not only does stand-up comedy. He’s also a singer, dancer, sketch comedy actor, and even plays the ukulele. Although Fozzie’s jokes can be corny sometimes, I find him to be a real creative comic, no matter what Statler and Waldorf say about it.

Sep 222010
 

Mel Brooks has done it again. Cary Elwes plays the lead in this classic spoof of Robin Hood called Robin Hood – Men in Tights. I can tell that this film was based on several other movie versions. Back in high school, I did a whole Robin Hood unit in English class by watching three other movie versions, one right after the other, and comparing them.

One scene I found hilarious was when Robin and Little John (Eric Allan Kramer) fight with staffs over that tiny bridge, which is a classic one on one battle. The staffs kept breaking, but that doesn’t stop them. Then Little John falls in the “river”. Another exciting scene was when Robin and his comrades fight off all of those guards at Prince John’s (Richard Lewis) party, including all of those knights that surround the Great Hall. Dominos!

No Robin Hood story would be complete without the archery contest as a way to trap our hero. There’s a lot of audience approval as Robin is revealed with the wave and the chop.

The Sheriff’s (Roger Rees) first name is actually revealed in this version when he tries to marry Maid Marian (Amy Yasbeck). No wonder he’s only known as “Sheriff”.

This is definitely one of my most favorite spoof films. Mel Brooks has really outdone himself with his comedy and song writing for this classic.