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Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . PG . PAL


Mel Brooks has a history of spoofing the stories and creations of others in his films, with Young Frankenstein, History of the World: Part 1, Spaceballs and, more recently, Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Men In Tights was released during the time Brooks' fans were hoping to see Spaceballs 3: The Search for Spaceballs 2 (Brooks has stated publicly he will never make a direct sequel to any of his films), and the tag line to film sums the style of his films nicely: "The Legend had it coming." What makes a good basis for a spoof? A story that everyone is already intimately familiar with, something that has ingrained itself into the culture, giving you more freedom to focus on the humour and gags.

Underlying Men in Tights is the basic story of Robin Hood - Robin escapes from a Saracen prison cell during the Crusades, and returns to England to find that Prince John has usurped the throne in the absence of his brother, King Richard the Lionheart. Aiding John in his opression of the good peasantfolk, is the Sherrif of Rottingham, a nasty piece of work, and the perfect nemesis for Our Hero.

On the side of good, assisting Robin to overthrow John, are the Merry Men - Little John, Will Scarlet (O'Hara, from Georgia), Blinkin - Robin's faithful blind manservant, Ahchoo - son of Ahsneeze, and Rabbi Tuckman to provide spiritual guidance (and of course, the sacramental wine). And where would Robin be, without the love of his life, the fair Maid Marian?


Not the best looking disc available, but not too shabby nonetheless. The picture is presentable, with the occassional flecks from a somewhat dirty film source. A low bit rate encoding has not helped things much, resulting in some fairly constant low-level pixellisation within some of the more solid colour blocks. In its defense, I am looking for these things when watching the disc - had it been a casual viewing these minor flaws would have gone unnoticed. The soundtrack stands up a little better, with clear dialogue, and fair use of the front soundstage, mainly for the score, but also the occasional effects shot.

A basic set of extras are included, with the standard five minutes of intercut film footage and cast interviews labelled as a Behind the Scenes Featurette, a few pages of text for the principle actors in the Cast and Crew Talent Profiles, plus the original Theatrical Trailer.

Mel Brooks' films tend to be a love it or hate it affair, and Men in Tights is no exception, though everyone has their favourite Brooks film (Young Frankenstein for me). The disc is a decent version of the film, and definitely no worse than what you'll find on VHS, worth buying if you're a Brooks fan, or simply renting if you'd like a good laugh.

And remember - unlike some other Robin Hoods, this one can speak in an English accent.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Robin Hood and his Merry Men (just merry, mind you - don't get any ideas) find their legendary story twisted, in ways only Mel Brooks could conceive."
    - Andrew MacLennan
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
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