Vulcan’s Peak

“Most Wanted”

December 4, 2006 2:10 am

A surprising number of people who know me know that I adore Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood. Of course that could be because I bring it up anytime the subject turns to favorite Disney movies, favorite childhood movies, or homemade Halloween costumes (yes, my wonderful mother made me a purple dress out of old curtains so I could be Maid Marian when I was four). It could also be that I’ve made you sit through it with me. So I guess it won’t surprise you that I’m blathering about the new DVD version they’re advertising this Christmas: the Most Wanted Edition. (Though it might surprise you that it isn’t on my list of most wanteds.)

Obviously, I can’t deny that I squealed when I first saw the ad on tv. But the name, Most Wanted Edition, really bothers me. I mean, really bothers me.

When I started this entry, I was unconvinced that there are enough weirdos like me who adore this movie to warrent calling it “wanted” at all, let alone “most wanted.” But I’ve read enough enthusiastic reviews and other comments to admit that there’s a market. If nothing else, perhaps the first DVD release of Robin Hood (the “Gold Edition,” which is what I have) sold well enough to make Disney’s marketing masterminds think that they could exploit that market all over again.

I’ve also learned that the new edition is reputed to be better in terms of video and audio quality, assuming you don’t already own the movie. (Though there is a little matter of aspect ration, but you can look on Amazon for the details there. Reviewer Seth Paul gives the clearest explanation.) Personally, having grown up with a video copy that had inherent tracking problem at the beginning of the credits and (briefly) at the beginning of the big fight at the fairgrounds, just wiping out the glitches was enough to warm the cockles of my little heart. I have NO quarrels with what I have. YAY.

But here it is. You all knew this was coming . . . The English-major-editor-person in me is in a tizzy over the moniker. “Most wanted” compared to what? Movies in general? (Please.) Disney movies? (Still not buying it.) Robin Hood movies? (Uhhhh?) Recordings of Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood? Pretty shaky ground, if you ask me — especially since this isn’t one of Disney’s better known films. So yeah, it bothers me. I can only assume that someone is trying to play off the fact that a “Wanted” poster of Robin Hood makes several appearances in the movie, though you would think that the cover art or the ads would make use of a correlation like that.

Plus, there’s always the fun, paranoid notion that this edition is “most wanted” because that’s what the marketing masterminds want us to want. Devilish as usual, they’re dangling a “deleted scene” with “an alternate ending!” in front of our faces — though apparently the scene was never animated: what you get is the storyboard (not so much of a sugarplum after all, is it? Not exactly a $30 sugarplum, or even a $17.99-from-Amazon sugarplum.). It bothers me that the idea of an alternate ending intrigues me — it bothers me that I’m entranced by the bait. (Did they actually contemplate killing Robin as he swims across the moat? Surely not. Maybe they sent him off to the Crusades with Richard, as happens in Robin McKinley’s version of the tale. The idea of an alternate ending for this movie is just bizarre — that’s what you do for Clue, not this!) But I have faith that it’ll all hit the internet eventually, in some form.

Speaking of better known Disney films, though, there must be some kind of test by which you can guess someone’s age based on the Disney movies they grew up with. I mean, nearly everyone remembers the classic damsels in distress — Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty — and other highlights like Pinocchio, Peter Pan, The Lion King, and others. But past a certain level…well, saying that I used to know the words to all the songs in Beauty and the Beast, but was scared of The Little Mermaid when my parents took me to see it in the theater would give someone a pretty good idea of my age.

Edit: The alternate ending has already hit the ‘net, or at least a summary of it has. Reviewer Brian Orndorf at DVD Talk gives the overview under “Extras.” Of course nothing as extreme as I was coming up with. The rest of the review is worth reading too — I wonder if he hits on the reason this movie resonates with me: “it’s an unusual Disney film because it stays exceptionally tight on characterization.”

2 Responses to ““Most Wanted””

Tae wrote a comment on December 4, 2006

I need that McKinley Robin Hood book. I loved it and loved the fact that the story went on after the end (of course, they probably all died over in the Promised Land very horribly, but I like to pretend they’re sailing around with Sinbad the Sailor or something).
And this made absolutely no sense. But I agree- the whole buy, buy, buy every freakin’ edition of a movie pisses me off.

Pug wrote a comment on December 4, 2006

Tae, you need the book – I haven’t even seen most of the mentioned movies, let alone read any of the books.

Anyway, in situations like this I’d recommend renting a copy if you really want to see the new ‘extra features’, and then if you like them, copy the disc. It’s not as though you haven’t already bought a copy of/license to the movie, after all.

Care to comment?