Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves bows to 4K in a great Limited Edition on Arrow Video packed to the gills with bonus features, goodies, and new transfers. The film itself stands the test of a few decades with this ability to have an entertaining and fun time by not crossing over into those darker territories that are so often seen today. The new 4K picture looks stunning while keeping its filmic roots but the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix isn't the best. Recommended!
In 1991, everybody gung-ho Robin Hood. The brilliant modern remake that Errol Flynn brought to audiences decades prior now had a big budget, great set pieces, and top actors in every role. Not only did critics and audiences love the film, but it was nominated and won numerous awards that year. Looking back on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this particular version is even better than remembered despite some of its hammed-up performances and cheesy lines of dialogue.
Prince of Thieves was so big at the time, Mel Brooks made an entire parody film on it with great success. Still, the fact remains that back in 1991, movies were relying on brooding or moody dark tones that had to be serious all of the time. With Prince of Thieves, fun was the name of the game and it shows in every actor's performance, the camera work, and the dialogue. Films are not usually made like this one anymore, which is an experience rather than showcasing a few big action sequences and sewing them together with characters. This movie meant something and with Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Alan Rickman, and even Christian Slater's performances - it revealed that there was new life in this beloved character that not only did great things but had fun while doing so. Hell, even Sean Connery showed up and brought a commanding performance for the few seconds he was on screen.
Kevin Reynolds' ability to tell a grand story from a trained artistic eye was wonderful to watch unfold as the battles and more nuanced dramatic scenes revealed the character's inner workings, especially Rickman's Sheriff as he played that role pitch-perfectly in the most utterly cruel villainous ways. But Reynolds also had a great time exploring those surprisingly fun moments of a first-person shot of an arrow whizzing by, which of course would later be used in the best film of all time - Army of Darkness. But Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves stands the test of time and doesn't cater to the darkness and moody tones of modern days. It had a great time telling its story and it's still infectious.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves shoots its way to 4K + Blu-ray via Arrow Video. The discs are housed inside a cardboard case with that amazing hard cardboard sleeve with new artwork. The new artwork features the actors in the film. There are posters and lobby cards, along with a booklet. The packaging looks great. Here's what you're getting inside the box:
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves comes with a great 2160p UHD 4K transfer with Dolby Vision HDR from Arrow Video. This new transfer ignites the impressive visuals once again some thirty years later.
The film was shot on location in the UK back over three decades ago, so some of the source material is still here that can deliver some soft or hazy-looking shots. The large-scale vibrant colors that are used in today's epic adventures were non-existent back in the early '90s, so don't expect this transfer to turn heads in that aspect. But the Dolby Vision and HDR do enhance those darker sequences with the witch in her lair and other scenes of darkness where the only light source is lighted torches and fire. These moments look better than ever and offer up some great ambers, oranges, and yellows in addition to upgraded detail. The green pastures and beige hay bales look wonderful as well. The black levels of darkness and the evil Sheriff's outfit look equally stunning with these Dolby Vision colors shining through. Skin tones are natural as well.
The detail can be sharper in some scenes where others have a bit of haze to them, but again, this looks to be a source material from shooting over in the UK some thirty years prior. Closeups still reveal individual facial pores, hairs, and stubble. The marks on Morgan Freeman's face look great and are distinguishable from one another. Straws of hay and barley along with blades of grass are exquisite. The threads and stitching in the wardrobe also look better than the previous releases. That iconic sequence of the flaming arrow looks the best it has yet in slow motion with some amazing detail as it flies past the camera. There are varying degrees of film grain still intact, but it never swarms or seems busy, but rather has a consistent base that keeps the filmic quality preserved. This is by no means a demo disc, but it's probably the best video image the film has seen since its release.
Unfortunately, there is no new Dolby Atmos track here, but there is a new DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that sounds impressive enough but was hoping for something a bit more. There is also an original uncompressed stereo 2.0 option to choose from as well. The 5.1 track flows nicely with some great sound effects that punctuate every action beat nicely. Nothing is overly loud and there are no booming noises like there would be in a modern action film, but it gets the job done. Explosions of fire, catapults, and sword clanks all make the correct sounds and come across all of the speakers fluidly. The punches and heavier takedowns all sound wonderful here as well. The horses galloping and waterfalls make way for that low end of bass which is never too loud. The iconic award-winning song sounds perfect here. The sound effects of arrows zooming by are excellent. Dialogue is clean and clear, but for some reason, some of it seemed out of sync in a few places. This is not the best audio track, but it makes use of its surroundings nicely.
There is 172 minutes worth of bonus features in addition to the two vintage commentary tracks and the extra twelve minutes for the extended cut. There is only one new extra here the documentary with the crew coming back to discuss making the movie, but unfortunately, no big actors show up for it, which made it not as fun to watch.
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves was the big action blockbuster of its time. Back in 1991, Kevin Costner ruled the cinematic landscape and with his filmmaking partner Kevin Reynolds in hand for this and Waterworld, the two seemed unstoppable. But with this version of Robin Hood, the ham is turned up and theatrical-style production is at an all-time high with the performers turning in great performances even if it comes across as over-the-top and cheesy. They don't make movies like this anymore. The 4K UHD video looks amazing but the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix is less than desired. The bonus features are out of this world. Recommended!
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