Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Mel Brooks Collection: Robin Hood: Men In Tights Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 33.0 GB
Film Size: 27.1 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

Robin Hood: Men In Tights come to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks quite good in high-definition, although not as good as a few of the older films included in The Mel Brooks Collection. The look of the film itself is quite accurate to many films produced around it's time, slightly soft but still features a pleasing amount of detail.

The transfer is left untampered, free of any noticeable DNR or edge enhancement. Certain scenes do look a bit rough, but it's to be expected. Colors are quite rich and feature a very natural look to them, they are never oversaturated. Black levels also are solid at all times.

Textures can be nice such as the felt-like material present on Robin Hood's clothing, although they are never too impressive. The film may not be a high-def gem, but it certainly looks better than I anticipated. 7.5/10.

The highlight of Men In Tights on Blu-ray is the included 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The track is quite engaging, featuring a nice amount of surround use and clarity. Dialogue was usually crisp and clear, although a few moments were a bit muffled.

The film's effects expanded into the surround area (although a bit more on the front heavy side). The track is not demo material by any means, but it was definitely more active than I expected it to be. The film's score comes through the front and surround speakers nicely as well. Direction of the mix was also good, but certainly not among the best we have heard on Blu-ray. 8.5/10.


Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy (13:49) (HD)
A new featurette featuring new cast and crew interviews. Mel Brooks talks about the film and the mixture of both old and new talent involved in it. There is a good amount of behind-the-scenes footage included.

HBO Special - Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend Had It Coming (26:14) (SD)
An old HBO special hosted by Cary Elwes, it's basically a decent promotional piece featuring footage from the set of the film.

LaserDisc Audio Commentary
by Mel Brooks

Isolated Score Track
Presented with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, listen to only the score while viewing the film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:14) (HD)

Mel Brooks Trailers (HD)
High Anxiety
History of the World Part 1
Silent Movie
To Be or Not To Be
Young Frankenstein

The included extras are fine, but I wasn't really excited about any of the features. The new featurette is great for fans of the film, but I thought it was a bit bland compared to the ones featured on the other discs. 5/10.

The Packaging
Blu-news Summary
Robin Hood: Men In Tights, one of the most recent Mel Brooks films is probably his most disappointing film. The movie has some very funny moments, but really loses the charm associated with Mel Brooks films. As a standalone comedy it's fine, but realizing this came from Mel Brooks makes it a bit more disappointing.

I understand he had to update the humor a bit, but the rap moments among other things were slightly ridiculous. I did enjoy the cast, with Cary Elwes as Robin Hood, Tracey Ullman as the sorceress Latrine, Richard Lewis as Prince John, Dom DeLuise as mob boss Don Giovanni and Mel Brooks himself as Rabbi Tuckman. Other notable faces include Patrick Stewart, Amy Yasbeck, Mark Blankfield, Megan Cavanagh, Dave Chapelle and many more.

It was disappointing to see such a talented cast fail to always deliver, I think the writing itself was very weak for the film more than the actors themselves were. I can see how some of the 'funny' scenes could be very funny, but I think the execution itself of much of it was where it was most off.

I did find myself laughing at the humor from time to time, but definitely more at the random moments as the 'highlight' gags were mostly mediocre. I like the film in some aspects, but I don't see myself revisiting the film for quite some time. There are many better Mel Brooks films that keep this one at the bottom of my list. 6/10.

The Blu-ray release itself is strong, featuring good video and audio presentations. Extras are fairly bland aside from the newly produced featurette. The film is not available as a standalone release, it's part of The Mel Brooks Collection which is 'Highly Recommended.'

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