Plot: What’s it about?
Robin (Cary Elwes) has just returned home from the Crusades, eager to get back to his normal life. But he finds that times have changed since he left, as corruption has overtaken those in power. The people of Sherwood have to live under the thumb of Prince John (Richard Lewis), who imposes high taxes, cruel punishments, and more on his citizens. At his side is the Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees), who does whatever is needed to keep John’s rules enforced. Robin decides things need to change, so he recruits a collection of misfits to help him overthrow Prince John. As the two sides battle on multiple fronts, Robin also pursues the love of his life Marian (Amy Yasbek), despite her very strong chastity belt. Can Robin and his men in tights free the people, or will Prince John’s tyrannical rule continue to dominate?
Mel Brooks can craft hilarious films, but he can also produce some abysmal flops. Robin Hood: Men in Tights falls into the middle as far as Brooks’ output, not great, but not terrible. The script is rather uninspired, relying more on broad humor and cliches than actual satire. Brooks is never afraid of going for cheap laughs and he does so here often, with mediocre results. While the script is rather flat, the cast makes it seem much better than it is. Cary Elwes was the ideal choice for Robin Hood, playing it straight and getting all the possible mileage out of the material. The supporting cast is solid also, especially some of the smaller roles, but Elwes is the engine of Men in Tights. I can’t recommend Robin Hood: Men in Tights as a good movie, but it has some moments and is worth a rental to fans of Brooks.
Video: How does it look?
Robin Hood: Men in Tights is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a great visual treatment, so you can retire your DVD without hesitation. The image shows a considerable improvement in terms of overall detail, so this is a clearer, cleaner effort to be sure. I wouldn’t call the depth dazzling, but detail is much enhanced. The colors shine here also, with bright and rich hues, while contrast is rock solid throughout. In the end, a terrific transfer that offers sizable improvements over previous home video releases.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option won’t turn heads, but it gets the job done. The surrounds are a little more active than I expected, but the front channels still shoulder most the burden. But the music has good presence and when the action picks up, the surrounds open up a little. The dialogue sounds great, which is good since the vocals are the main audio element here. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, French and Spanish language tracks, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Mel Brooks contributes his audio comments, but he narrates more than anything else. I doubt anyone expects in depth analysis from Brooks, but this is not really even worth a listen. This disc also includes the isolated score, two promotional featurettes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.