Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#0002: Robin Hood

It’s clear that, if a Disney movie is going to be a classic, it’s gotta be a musical. Where would Aladdin be without ‘A Whole New World’? Could Simba possibly be king without singing about how he ‘Just Can’t Wait’ to do so? And dammitall, Pocahontas was forgettable as shit, but David Ogden Stiers singing ‘Mine, Mine, Mine’ is an iPod favourite.

Then, there were the Disney movies that forgot this formula. The sad, bastardised Disney movies that garner less familiarity, more awkward cocked eyebrows.

I’m looking at you, Black Cauldron.

I’m looking at you, The Rescuers.

And I’m looking squarely at you, Robin Hood.

Alright, in fairness, there are smatterings of songs here and there, but they’re not the kind of ‘every character breaks out in song’ sort of shtick. In Robin Hood’s case, the singing is done primarily by Alan-a-Dale, voiced by Roger Miller. He also sang ‘Dang Me’, which was much better than anything contained in Robin Hood.

And if anyone dares to point out that there were songs in The Rescuers, I waggle a defiant finger your way while pointing out that these were not musical numbers, but in fact montages, as none of the characters themselves were singing the songs. If I paid for Eva Gabor as a classy mouse, then I paid for Eva Gabor to sing as a classy mouse, dammit.

And furthermore, if anyone else dares to point out that upon its initial release, Robin Hood garnered $9.5 million, the biggest box office total of all Disney films to that point, then I say… well, shit. You’ve got me there. But I shall press on, regardless.

So what of the Robin Hood toy? For one thing, I have to say that I quite like the Disney Robin Hood character, primarily because he reminds me of Fox McCloud, and a bit of Link, too. Their bastard child has always remained a likable character for me, though because I never really watched the movie a great deal, I never had any particular inkling to play with the toy much.

He’s a smidgen adjustable, as his arms and head can be moved to your delight, plus his hips can swivel around a tad, just in case your version of Robin Hood needs to be just that little bit more sassy.

One of his hands is in the shape of an accusatory pointing gesture, while in his other hand he brandishes a bulging sack of money. We can tell it’s money because it has a dollar sign on it. As far as I recall, Nottingham didn’t exactly deal in dollar figures, but we’ll let that slide, as it’s more of a way for dumb kids to know that it’s a money sack as opposed to a bomb satchel or his lunch.

It begs the question, though, where he got this sack from? I don’t recall the plot of the movie particularly, did he do all his robbing from neat little sacks? Or did he have it filled up with coins somewhere? If the latter is the case, then how come nobody grew suspicious when they saw him carrying a bag with a dollar sign on it?

The figure features horrible posture; Robin Hood’s upper body leans forward as though he’s about to pounce, but his legs are arced so far back you’d swear that he was sitting on an invisible chair. This makes him difficult to stand up, accentuated by his large, bushy tail, curiously the only fuzzy thing on him.

And in the razzle-dazzle world of toys, being hard to stand is a serious no-no. There’s little more frustrating to a child trying to set up his vision than one of his figures constantly toppling over. Every time you reset them, it’s with an infuriating adjustment of various limbs to try and decipher exactly what imbalance is causing this tumble, and, even worse, you risk knocking over the other toys, too!

If this blog ends up on Something Awful, it’ll be for shit like that last sentence there. The above picture illustrates Robin Hood fucking up my interpretation of Hamlet, by the way.
Point is, toys that stand about as well as a drunken lout are not popular playthings.

For the anal retentive (me), you’ll (I’ll) note with annoyance that the feather on his hat is left completely unpainted. It’s supposed to be red, dammit. I don’t know what yellow bird he killed for this feather, but it’s surely a crime.

I did a brief scan of the Interwebs, and it informed me that this toy was from a McDonald’s happy meal back in 1996. I had thought so, and upon confirmation, the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘how much is he worth now?’

On the rare occasion where someone has been trying to pawn him off, he has garnered 0 bids in two years, with an asking price of $1.29. Another website lists him as ‘HTF’, which I have assumed to mean ‘hard to find’, and again, no takers.

I told you, Robin. If you had just busted out a tuneski while you were laying the smackdown on Sir Hiss, you would have totally been a Disney golden child. But I suppose he’s suffered enough. There’s little more embarrassing than appearing in an animated Disney film, only to be forgotten by all but the most avid furries all these years later.

Personally, I don’t remember getting any particular amusement from the toy, other than one time where I got his tail wet. I don’t know why it was funny at the time, but if I recall later, I’ll edit it into this blog.

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